Saturday, May 31, 2008

Summertime

The agenda for today? A good book in the sun on the deck out back while the kids play. Now all I need is a pool.

(Not sure about this whole comeback thing here, but it's kind of catchy.)

NKOTB - Summertime.mp3 -

Update... Guess who forgot the sunblock today? Ouch.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Camera Dump

Because I've been a neglectful blogger as of late, I'm making up for it now with a few pictures from today's camera dump. (You don't want to know how neglectful I have been of my photo albums.)

Here we have a picture I took from when Ashley's school band played downtown at Art In The Park.



Next is a picture I took of Ryan excavating his dinosaur. He got this kit (and about 10 other books) from a reading program at school. Now you all know where your $10 pledges went to. Yes, there was a dinosaur skeleton in there. He loved this project!

Taken today, who says you need a horse to be a successful knight? Ryan and his friend Ben (who is sporting a shiny pimpin' black Cadillac himself) have been out back having a blast. It's the 2nd full day of Summer Vacation and it's beautiful, fairly sunny and 72 degrees. What am I doing sitting in here on the computer then? I'm outta here...


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Unleashed

The teenager was officially unleashed over here at our house. Ashley brought home straight A's on her report card again so we wanted to reward her for all of her hard work and effort. She never fails to make us proud, always helps out with her younger brother and Chloe, treats everyone with kindness and respect and does what is asked of her. (OK, making her bed every morning hasn't stuck yet, but we're working on it.) To sum it all up, she makes us feel like a success in the parenting department.

So, after dinner last night we took the kids with us to Verizon so Bret could upgrade his cell phone. While there, we added a text messaging plan to Ashley's phone. She's been begging since she got the thing in February for her birthday and it was only a matter of time anyway.

She now gets unlimited "in" texting and 500 non-Verizon customer text messages a month. Thankfully, it seems all of her friends use Verizon. And thanks to her Internet savvy parents, we can monitor her usage online so that she doesn't go over.

Speaking of monitoring usage. I checked her usage online just now. I figured she probably had racked up maybe 50 texts or so in the past 24 hours. *Gulp*. Are you ready for this? It wasn't 50. Not even close. Try 278! OMG! 278! In 24 hours! (That was me you just heard hitting the floor, passed out cold.) Thank God those texts are the unlimited ones.

OK, it's been about 10 or 15 more minutes now. Let's check the stats again. 309 - and she's still at it back there in her room. I think it may be time to shut her down for the night.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Summer Vacation...

...begins today. Only it's 59 and rainy. Ashley's first softball game is tonight if the fields dry up by then. Maybe I'll remember to take the camera along. (I kicked myself 20 times for forgetting it when we went to the Pirates game this past weekend.)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Gotta Love Google

I love it when new readers find me, but sometimes I'm a little embarassed about *how* they find me.

Just today alone someone from New Mexico found me by googling "how to excite a man". Google brought them to this post. I'm still dying from embarassment and am pretty sure I wasn't much help.

Someone from Seattle also found me today by googling "mixing medicine and alcohol". Google brought them to this post. I brought it on myself by posting this first. Not my proudest moment! Don't do it, Seattle!

Booked

Florida, here we come! It's booked - 4 nights, five days at a resort on St. Pete Beach in July. I am once again more excited about this summer's vacation than anyone else in this family. It will be the first time the kids and I will get to see the ocean. I. can't. wait.

Bret and the kids just took off to see the new Indiana Jones movie, which gives me some time by myself to throw on the iPod and clean up the house. Tonight we're taking our kids and our niece and nephew and a couple of Ashley's friends to the Peoria Pirates (football) game. Bret scored some free tickets since he works for the City of Peoria. Two adults and 6 kids. Hmm, are we crazy?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Slacking Off

So, do I still have any readers out there? I've been a bad, bad blogger lately. Sorry about that, but the end of the school year is ridiculously crazy around here. The kids have two more days left of school, plus 2 hours next week and then it's summer vacation. They are very excited and ready for a break - if you can call it that. I've got them signed up for so much during the months of June and July that they'll be begging to go back to school in August.

I've also been trying to plan our family vacation. I think we're going to fly down to St. Petersburg, FL for 4 nights and 5 days. The airport here in Peoria has direct flights and it seems to fit our budget. We'll probably visit Busch Gardens, take in a Devil Rays baseball game and have some down time on the beach outside of the beautiful resort I'm hoping to stay at. Once again, I may be the one who is more excited about this vacation than anyone. It'll be my first time seeing an ocean. I know it's the Gulf of Mexico, but it's still an ocean to me.

Today it's just me here. I'm going to bask in the alone time (which means I'll end up fiercely cleaning my house). Chloe is at home with her mom and the kids are off to school. One day for just me.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Perfect Day

What does the perfect Saturday consist of for you?

For me? It consists of a day that is warm and sunny that starts at my son's baseball practice, where he hits the machine pitched ball and runs to first base with the biggest smile on his face. Then he takes his turn in the outfield and misses catching the ball so badly that he smiles that goofy smile that is distinctly Ryan's. He'll keep trying and will soon enough be able to catch it. To see him so proud makes my heart swell with love.

Then it continues on to my daughter's softball scrimmage game where she hits a double. As soon as her game was over, the field began filling up with a team of 1st & 2nd grade girls and I found myself reflecting on how fast my daughter has grown up, as it only seems like yesterday that she was that small and still learning how to play the game. Now she's got a powerful swing and is one of the best girls on her team.

My perfect Saturday continued on to lunch out with my husband and children, then home where I sat on our deck in a comfy chair with my face offered up to the sun while the sounds of lawnmowers, children playing and neighbors landscaping swirled all around me.

I'm back in the house now and am going to start looking into some ideas we've been throwing around for a family vacation this summer. It won't be anything like last summer's Disney Vacation, but we'll get to spend uninterrupted time together - which is what really matters.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Dose Of Summer

I think I may have just gotten a dose of what summer is going to be like. As soon as Ryan and his friend that I watch afterschool got off of the bus today, another friend of theirs from across the street came over and they played. Enough? No.

Less than an hour later, Ashley's bus pulls up and off come her and 4 friends. They've been practicing a dance that they're doing for the school talent show. Enough? No.

An hour after that my nephew, Mitchell was dropped off for us to watch tonight. We fed them all (minus the two friends of Ryan's that have already gone home) dinner and then I took 5 preteen girls and a 3 year old boy to the mall to buy their all important matching shirts.

My question is this. How did Bret manage to only end up with 1 kid (Ryan) tonight?

Update: So I go downstairs to check on the girls and they're on speaker phone with *a boy* and the girls start saying "POS". Little do they know that I speak text and know it means "parent over shoulder". Ha. Guess that means I need to go do some eavesdropping.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Been Awhile

It's been awhile and I apologize for my lack of blogging over the past week. As the school year comes to an end, and spring and summer sports start up, things have gotten kind of stressful around here. Changes are in the works...

Volleyball officially ended tonight. Ashley's team came in first place and now we can focus on softball, baseball and all of the endless summer camps and activities that the kids are signed up for. Yea for us.

I've come to the conclusion that things are different now with my mother in law gone and they'll most likely never be the same again. She was such an important part of our lives and it will never feel "normal" again. So many times I've had to stop myself from calling her when I've needed advice, an ear to vent to or to just share a funny story with. Mother's Day was difficult last weekend. It was so obvious that she was missing and the need to feel her presence was so strong that we all gathered at the Mausoleum to spend a few minutes with her. I'm not sure any of us will get use to her being gone.

I've continued to help take care of Bret's Grandma every morning and have come to enjoy the closer bond that I feel I share with her now. She really thrives when all of the kids and grand kids come together for dinner - which we've been doing a few nights a week, thanks to all of the generous friends that are still making meals for us. Can I take a moment to tell you that we had the most practical gift come in during the days right after Sally's death? Toilet paper. Is that not the perfect gift? When you're in shock and grieving, who thinks of toilet paper and whether or not there is enough to accommodate the dozens of people coming and going?

Moving on, I've come to a sort of crossroads where I had to make a very difficult decision. I gave my notice to Chloe's parents and am taking some time off to spend with my kids this summer. In the fall, I'll probably look into some kind of part time job at Ryan's school or maybe one of the other schools in the district, but for now I just really felt like I owed it to my kids to just be their mom. There has been so much going on over the past month and I was starting to get really overwhelmed and stressed out. I just wasn't sure how I was going to handle everything on my plate this summer and something had to change. I'm still not sure I've made the right decision at this point because I'm going to miss her like crazy, but I have to focus on my own family.

My biggest concern is Ryan. He's made considerable gains in school and his grades are back up to satisfactory, but he has a long way to go. I need the freedom to be able to seriously work with him this summer and do whatever I can to help him.

And also? Let's face it. My kids are growing up so fast and I really want to spend the summer with them while they still want to do things with me. I want them to be able to have friends over or go places instead of my always saying no because of small napping children. I want to be a better mom - a mom that hasn't mentally and physically checked out by 4pm.

I can't see the future - nor do I think I would want to - but I hope I've made the right decision.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Just One More Day

Only one more day and this week will finally be over. I think I've pretty much run myself ragged. From running errands to dentist appointments to toddler tumbling classes to orthodontic check ups to 3 different sport practices - I am completely exhausted. The past two days I've fallen dead asleep for one good hour both days when Chloe has napped and it's really cost me. My laundry has piled up and there's been a load forgotten in the washing machine for two days now. (Yes, that's probably what you're smelling.) While for some miraculous reason, the house is pretty tidy (maybe because we've barely been here), it's due for a scrubbing.

We are still being brought meals three nights a week from our friends that volunteered to cook for us when Bret's mom died and while I do feel kind of guilty accepting them, it's made things so much easier. We've been taking them over and sharing them with the rest of the family at Bret's parent's house. If we didn't have such good friends, we'd probably all be starving right now.

Tomorrow is my last crazy day, but the craziest one of the week. I have to give a thank you speech (that I still haven't written yet) at Ryan's school on behalf of the PTO at our year end volunteer breakfast. Then I have to pick up baby Luke and take him and Chloe downtown to watch Ashley's school band play during the lunch hour, all the while praying that Luke won't scream bloody murder for his mom the whole time, the way he has been for the past two freaking months. If that's not enough, Ryan has a birthday party (that I still need to go get a gift for) and Ashley has two volleyball games after school.

Yea. I'm ready for this week to be done. But first I have to go get my morning before school routine done right now so that I can get a shower in before I have to leave in the morning.

Maybe we do need another wife. (Ok, I'm sorry. That's really not funny.)

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Weekly Winners

Ryan really digs the sun roof of Bret's new car.

Ashley and her pup.
My little man, before going to his Concert at school. Ryan and I.
Ryan and Bret.


Ryan's School Music Concert

My precious boy is the one in the blue shirt and in the back row. He's also the directionally challenged one, but super cute.

video

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Entertaining Myself

This afternoon I took Ashley and her friend to see this movie and while most of the funny parts were already shown in the movie's trailer, it was still a pretty good movie. (That's all you're going to get out of me.)

However, the whole can't be seen out and about with mom apparently starts at 12 years old. They wanted to go by themselves, but Bret and I felt we weren't ready for all of that to start yet. So, I went with and sat by myself - because I couldn't find anyone else my own age who was free today. Let me tell you, going to a movie by yourself? Feels very weird.

Next on my list of things I've decided to entertain myself with today would be this book that I checked out from the library after reading an excerpt posted by Jamie. A very fascinating read, I must say. Only after reading this book, I may no longer be able to bring myself to joke about Bret and I needing another wife anymore. While it would be nice to have someone to dump the cooking, cleaning and laundry onto, it doesn't seem so funny anymore.