Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I'm not ready

It was 64 degrees this morning.  That is jacket wearing weather to me.  And I am so not ready for it.  I have always been a summer time girl.  I relished the long hot days that lasted forever when I lived in Atlanta, GA.  Flip flops stayed on my feet until the first snow (which came way too early in Ohio!).  The last few years though, I've come to enjoy the hibernation period of the cold months.  After spending months outside at the pool for swim season, hunkering down in the house by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate has been something that I actually look forward to.  But not yet.  I'm so not ready.  I am definitely not ready for what I saw at Sam's club last week.  The day after school started I walked by this:

Are you kidding me?!

It seemed that on July 5th this was in the grocery store:

And while I love me some harvest beer and pumpkin lattes, I'm just not ready for it yet.  I do get a little more excited to think about wearing my favorite jeans with these soon:

I said a little.  What I really want is a couple more months to bring in fresh picked flowers and admire them on my kitchen table.   I want to feel refreshed as I jump into the pool on a day that otherwise makes me feel that I might melt.  I want to hear the girls scream and play while they swim.  I'd even take one or two more six hour swim meets (I haven't even gotten those pictures up yet, for crying out loud!) just to extend my summer a little longer.  I want to concoct another frozen summer beverage to enjoy after playing with the kids outside.  I'm not ready to put my flip flops away yet.  Do you think if I throw a Cadence worthy tantrum that mother nature might listen?!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Why I wish Ohio was closer to Virginia

This has taken me weeks to post because apparently blogger was not a fan of how many pictures I wanted to put on here!  Last month the girls and I made the trek to Ohio.  It used to be an annual event until life got in the way and an eight hour drive with the kids seemed too overwhelming! It had been a few years and it was finally time to go back, especially since we were going to be staying with some awesome friends

I made a lot of preparations for the drive including travel tickets and car games found at this site.  They did help pass the time and encourage tolerable great behavior!  As soon as we pulled in to Columbus I was overwhelmed by the freeway.  I have been spoiled living in a small town and the most freeway driving I do is on 64, so the insanity of Columbus's freeway system was too much!  In addition we were hit by a MAJOR storm as we rolled in.  Yes, I was the one driving 40 miles/hour with my  flashers on!  Way to roll in to my old stomping grounds!

We arrived at Shawn, Theresa, and Mali's house damp and frazzled.  The girls, of course, made themselves right at home.  Theresa was kind enough to let me invite my friend Angie to drop by with her triplets for a few minutes.  Angie's family was headed out of town the next day and I didn't think I'd get to see them again.  Angie and I have been friends since high school and her triplets were born just 2 months after Laurel.  It was always stunning to think that she was handling three "Laurels" at the same time when I was barely pulling through with one and my toddler Sierra!  After they left Sierra, Laurel, and Mali headed to the pool where they spent most of their time when we were at the house.  (I guess we didn't need to spend money for our in-ground pool... they were just as entertained by the blow-up one!)  We relaxed that evening which was nice after a 10 hour road trip.

Friday we headed to The Columbus Zoo, home of Jack Hanna.  I think most of the animals were as hot and tired as we were as they were pretty inactive.  We all had fun though, seeing the animals that were out, feeling at home in the place where I grew up going to school trips, watching the kids play.  Theresa and Mali headed to speech therapy so Shawn got to join the girls and I on my trip down memory lane.  We drove around Westerville and my old neighborhoods as I pointed out place after place, memory after memory.  The girls grunted ooh'd and ahh'd when I was excited about something.  I guess the sentiment wasn't there for them, or Shawn for that matter, but he was a good sport!  That evening we headed out to Uptown Westerville's Fourth Friday shindig.  We went to the Dairy Queen that I frequented in high school when my best friend worked there.  On the way home we stopped by and saw some of our old neighbors.  We spent Thursday and Friday evening setting off floating lanterns, having glow in the dark egg hunts, and finally after the kids were asleep relaxing with a drink and chatting.

Saturday was off to breakfast with my mom and her old coworkers.  I grew up knowing these friends of my moms and it was so good to see them again!  One of the craziest things about our random friendship with Shawn and Theresa is that they live in the neighborhood that I grew up in and it is connected to the  neighborhood where I lived throughout my high school years.  When the kids and I got back to their house Saturday Theresa and I took the girls out for a walk around both of these neighborhoods and a great path in the woods that connects them.  The girls got to play in the same park and same creek that I grew up playing in as Theresa got an ear full of my younger days!  We discovered that Theresa adopted her dog from the animal shelter that I used to volunteer at and then randomly some volunteers walked by us taking dogs on an outing at the park!  Not only do we have obvious things in common (girls adopted from China) but we seem to keep finding all of these other tidbits that link us.  Not to mention that all of us (husbands, kids, etc) get along fabulously, we feel so lucky that Shawn, Theresa, and Mali have found their way into our lives.  Sometimes connections with people happen so randomly and turn out so awesome, it can seem meant to be (like the red thread!) I think the feeling is mutual!

Playing in the pool

Floating lantern (as far as we know it didn't land on anyone's house!)

Shawn made a friend at the zoo

I thought trying to get a good picture of my three kids was hard.  Try four!

These HUGE bears were playing

Feeding the birds

Sierra and Gramma

Sierra overcame her embarrassment at getting up in the firetruck if I wouldn't call her "my baby" anymore

Mali and Cadence got a lift!

Awesome sunset

I don't know what they enjoyed more.... eating donuts from Schneiders or being silly!

Cadence loved to hide things in this cabinet.  Like balloons, her blanket, my purse, the room key!
One of my very favorite pics ever!  Do you feel the love?!

The creek behind my house in Strawberry Farms that I used to play in

Being silly at the hotel pool (the loudest place EVER with 4 rowdy kids!)

Being silly with Gramma and Papa

Saturday night we checked in to our hotel and I went out to dinner with my friend Kim while my parents watched the girls.  Although I've loved bringing my girls with me, being a single parent while living out of a suitcase can be exhausting.  It was great to get away for a few hours and enjoy some drinks and memories and catch up.  When I got back to the hotel I found out about another freakish, random meet-up.  My brother and dad ran into my brother's high school girlfriend (and fiancee) as they were walking in to the hotel.  She currently lives in Wisconsin and was in Columbus visiting family... and staying in the hotel room right below us!  Even more weird, the day before we had left for Ohio she had messaged me on Facebook, although I hadn't seen it yet since I just had my phone.  Crazy!

On Sunday I head out to see my friends Jody and Kim and their girls. The kids swam while we tried to  talk.  It had been a busy weekend and was definitely catching up with my three kids.  Our visit was too short but I had to get back to the hotel to meet up with my brother.  I briefly stopped to see another old friend from high school.  It's so strange to think that our times together were soooo long ago!  When I see my friends, though, it sometimes feel as though no time has passed at all... things are just as they were way back when!  Our meet-up with my brother fell through and Shawn, Theresa, and Mali came to the hotel and brought dinner and we swam in the pool.  It was good to see them one last time before we headed home to Virginia.

Monday morning we had breakfast with my brother.  It was great to see him and the girls love being with him.  I just wish it happened more often.  Maybe he'll eventually make his way to VA!  I made one last stop before we left Ohio to see one of my best friends from high school.  We've know each other since 7th grade and have been through so much together... from getting caught sneaking out in high school to being in each others' weddings.  Her oldest daughter Mia was my first "unofficial" niece.  Even though we don't talk all of the time, I know that our friendship will be lifelong!  The girls and I finally headed out of Ohio.  I had checked out www.roadsideamerica.com to break up the trip on the way home.  It's a very cool tool that I highly recommend if you are into weird stuff that sort of thing!  We saw the pumpkin water tower and stopped at a pet cemetery.  Who knew so many people used a pet cemetery?!  There were all sorts of animals and gravesites to check out.  By the time we were in the area to check out the much anticipated Batboy statue the kids were exhausted and so was I.  Maybe next time we'll hit that one. It was good to get home after a wonderful long weekend with friends and family.  I am blessed!

Kim and Jody's adorable girls at the pool

Misti and I (this is what happens when Sierra takes the pic!)
Sierra, Cadence, Laurel, Mia and Mallori
Breakfast with Chris

Beloved pets

Pet mausoleum?
Big pet cemetery.  It's "For sale" in case you are interested!

Friday, August 17, 2012

First day of school 2012-2013

School has officially started.  Laurel is off to a new school for second grade.  She wasn't thrilled with having to switch but she has an amazing teacher and gets to sit next to her good friend.  She's a social butterfly, so I'm sure that she will make friends fast and have a good year.  The day before the first day was challenging.  She hated her new haircut (which is adorable and just like every other haircut she gets, but she didn't want it that short... ok, I did!) and said she did not want to go to school because of it.  Really?! You're seven, kid!  Our friend Laura came to the rescue.  She took time out of her evening to put a braid in Laurel's hair that she loved!  Thank you Laura, you saved the first day of school!

Sierra is officially in middle school now.  That makes my stomach turn a bit even as I write it.  From what I remember, middle school kind of sucks.  Mean girls surface, cliques are prevalent, and hormones start flooding the brain.  I just remember a lot of angst and heartache when I think of middle school.  Things that I don't want my kids to have to go through.  I guess those are a part of life and made me the person I am today (for better or worse!).  But I just want to keep Sierra in my bubble.  I want to protect her and keep her happy.  I pray that she will have a better experience than I did and that she will grow and thrive in positive ways.  Cross your fingers for us!

Ready to go!

This is the "Act like you love each other" pose

Apparently this is Brad's plan for the school year! ;-)

I got this idea off the web last year and have been finding candy for it for a few weeks.
Needless to say, the girls loved it!

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Oh, how my kids LOVE sleepovers.  They love having kids over as well as going to other homes.  Any playdate with a friend results in an invitation (often not yet verified by me!) for their friend to spend the night.  This one was long overdue.  Sierra's friend Alyssa has been undergoing treatment for osteosarcoma since early last year.  She hasn't been able to have a sleepover at someone's house for 18 months!  This can seem like a lifetime when you are 10!  Alyssa came home from Texas where she is being treated just 2 weeks ago, was feeling pretty good and adjusting to her recent leg amputation.  Sierra had missed her while she was gone and was immediately all over me to have a sleepover with Alyssa.  The icing on the cake is that Alyssa's sister is Laurel's age and she and Lexie are friends!  Yay, sleepovers for everyone!

The girls came over in the early evening with their mom, Lynn, to enjoy the pool and dinner.  It rained early but cleared up enough for the kids to jump in despite cooler temps (they really didn't care that their lips were blue!).  Alyssa has had so little time to be a child the past year and half.  She has had to make many "grown-up" decisions and has carried the weight of the world on her shoulders through this terrible process.  She has worried about things that no child should have to worry about.  That is why it is beautiful to watch her play.   To be silly and laugh and push her mom's comfort zone... just like every 10 year old should.  To feel like for these moments that her world is in balance, just as it should be. Alyssa and Sierra had lots of laugh and fun in the pool.  Lexie and Laurel fell right in step and had a blast too!

When it came time for Lynn to leave I think that we adults were more nervous than the kids.  I wanted both Alyssa and Lexie to have fun and feel comfortable.  Lynn hasn't been away from Alyssa's side for very many nights.  After the movie and during bedtime Lexie became a little homesick and I got to witness how amazing Alyssa is as a big sister.  I know that Sierra loves Laurel, but the bond between Alyssa and Lexie is strong and beautiful.  Everyone made it through the night - a successful sleepover!

Unfortunately, just a few days later Alyssa found another lump on her residual limb.  She is undergoing surgery for that today and as always we hold her in our prayers.  Please let this be the last so that Alyssa can move ahead with many, many more sleepovers to come!

Sierra being silly and lots of "take a picture of this, Mom!"

Alyssa trying to relax

 I did say trying, right?!

Alyssa trying to decide if she would jump or dive off the board

Dive it is!

Laurel's cannonball

Sierra hamming it up

Alyssa the starfish

Laurel and Lexie conspiring

Being typical little sisters

Lexie jumps

Alyssa carrying Sierra!

The rain clouds passing with the sunset as the moon peaks through... gorgeous
ending to a wonderful evening

Movie and popcorn time!