Saturday, October 29, 2016

Pumpkin picking!

I figure I better get these up before the month of October has left us! It has been so beautiful here this month and we enjoyed lots of lovely days. 

We visited our favorite pumpkin patch right up the road from us to pick out our pumpkins. This is such a fast and easy trip but I love how it has become our little family tradition. We held off on doing the big pumpkin patch with all the bells and whistles this year...maybe next year we'll attempt it. 

They had a whole patch of big white ones that were the same price as the regular ones since they were pick your own. We scored on this one! It was heavy!

The girls had fun and loved pointing at all the "punkins!!!" and trying to sit on them. They love pumpkins for some reason and are quick to shout out when they see one as a decoration somewhere or on someone's front porch. It is cute. 

Our kitty cat outfits were the closest thing we had for halloween theme wear to go pumpkin picking (note to self for next year!). I've seen other people photos from pumpkin patches and they look cute with pumpkin or fall shirts. 

"Punkin, Punkin!" The girls got to pick out one little pumpkin to take home which they enjoyed throwing like a ball and then I had to throw away. mom fail but we picked our pumpkins so early in the month that some of our good ones we picked for carving had gotten eaten by squirrels or bunnies on our porch. Luckily for me, Walmart had a really nice selection of beautiful, perfectly round pumpkins that were marked down to only $3- even for a big one! I squeezed in an early morning trip before school and luck would have it the only other person I ran into that early was the other teacher at the middle school who has young twin daughters. It must a thing...I guess my secret is out! :o) 

We did end up carving three of them and it was fun for Michael and I. We got a new scooper and I was surprised at how quick of a job it made it. I did a fancy pattern for Michaels and then just used a knife and did free hand on my two which was actually kind of fun and refreshing in a free type of way. My shapes are a little abstract but I'll go with it. Michael was even a good gut scooper this year! 

The girls celebrated a fall party at their daycare and it was really fun! They had a little dinner and then every classroom had games for the kids to win prizes at. The games were easy and fun even for the girls! Michael had fun too and it was a really nice night.  

I'd been watching Trace's tree and it was finally all turned and we ran out there quick after school for a photo. It was so beautiful, all lit up in the late afternoon sun. It is such a lovely reminder of little boy, I love the way that it stands tall and proud and strong. 

That's what we've been up to! 

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

7th Birthday Party!

I had conferences on Michael's actual birthday so we celebrated with a special breakfast before school. It was a bit of a rush, getting everyone ready to go so we could have pancakes together but it was fun and totally worth it. I think it set the tone for the day and helped make Michael feel special. 

I made him a special Mickey pancake and tried to make him a 7 pancake but my skills are not quite up to par in the pancake category. We added sprinkles for flair and they were delicious!

Michael also got to open his presents, including some cleverly disguised ones from his grandma and grandpa. He got a new "End Portal" minecraft lego set, socks, Nintendo DS and games, and a whole stack of new books. He also got some money which is he is going to spend on (you guessed it!) some more minecraft legos. 

On Saturday we had a friends party to celebrate. It was his first at home birthday party and despite my total procrastination in planning it, it turned out pretty fun. We had 7 friends over and it was a mix of neighbors, friends from school and friends from after school daycare (his old daycare friends). It was minecraft themed and despite the plethora of ideas on pinterest, I just picked the easiest and cheapest ones to do. We played pin the tail on the minecraft pig (wearing a minecraft mask), diamond/emerald hunt in the yard, TNT blast off (confetti poppers), find the mobs (with $2 foam swords and arrows the the dollar store), snack time, and free time/bounce house. 

All the snacks were minecraft themed. We had grass squares (green rice krispies treats), hay squares (regular rice Krispies), dirt squares (brownies), torches (pretzel rods with colored chocolate on the end), red stone (strawberries), fish, pumpkins, trap doors (square pretzels), water cubes (blue jello jigglers). The kids thought the snacks were fun and even built little things out of them on their plates. I was impressed with myself! 

Over all, I survived the two hours of the party and I hope kids had fun. Next time I'm going to plan like 1,000 more activities! It was fun meeting some of Michael's new friends and watching them all play together. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Michael is 7!

Michael turned 7 on October 6th! 

7 seems like such a big number. No longer a little boy, but a real legit big boy. 

We are forever thankful to Michael for making us parents. Getting ready for his arrival was so exciting. I literally had no idea what to expect, except that it would be awesome. We have learned so much from him, and he keeps teaching us more every day. 

The day Michael was born seemed like yesterday. It was so exciting to go to the hospital late at night, knowing he would be born soon. Or later, in our case as he was stubborn and did not want to come out. The whole birth experience was like the opposite of what I expected and imagined- why didn't anyone tell me what it would be like? I remember in our birthing class the instructor asked us what the most painful thing we had experienced was and all I could think of was pilates/ab workouts. I don't think there is really any way to totally prepare someone for the birth of a child because it is just something totally different and radical and emotional for everyone. 
I know that when Michael was finally born and I got to hold him for the first time I remember looking at him and thinking, "it's you." Of course it was him. It was him all along. I still think that as I look at him and spend time with him every day- it's him. He is my heart. He is me and I am him and I think he is pretty special. 
Michael has always felt the need for speed! 

We always like to tease Michael about how much he cried when he was a baby and how he would never sleep unless someone was holding him. He still has these traits of course, and most nights I have to set my alarm to get back out of bed with him after we've dozed off reading Harry Potter. 
I can't wait until I am big enough to have ALL the lego sets!

I do miss the long days of just Michael and me at home together (and Scampy). We had so much fun going on our walks together, doing housework in the moby wrap, and catching up on tv together. It was definitely a different time in my life where I loved the slower pace of life and only working two days a week. It is different now of course, but that is okay and I'm glad we had those special days together. 

Fueling my love for Jester Park at fall time- so many wonderful long walks! 

I had to include this one because it was Michael's two week check up and I probably look better than I have for the past seven years. My hair was done- what? Make up on- what? I actually look better rested than I do now. Life, you are so cruel. :o) 

Well it is no secret that we love our Michael and we think he has a very bright future ahead of him. I just wish that darn time would slow down and he would stop growing so big! His poor pants barely have a chance as he keeps getting taller and taller. We love his spirit and we are so glad he is our son. 

Happy birthday, Michael! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Remembering Trace: Five Years

Yesterday was the anniversary of Trace's death (Oct. 10th). We took time to remember him yesterday by visiting the cemetery and today I am taking some time off of school to just be and spend some time to live in the space of remembering and being sad. 

As with his fifth birthday being this year also, there is something about the five year marker that just seems to finite. Five years a long time. After his death, it seemed like I couldn't even get through a day let alone trying to imagine getting through a year. Five days? Five years? It seemed impossible. Yet here we are, as time has a funny way of marching along whether you are along for the ride or not. While we were at the cemetery, it was fun to see the girls running around with Michael while I sat by Trace's headstone. To have three living children is an incredible blessing and we have been blessed in ways we could have never known possible in those dark days after we lost Trace. It was a powerful reminder of God's grace how he is watching over us in our struggles. He knows the plan for us, even if we can't see it for ourselves. 

When Trace's anniversary rolls around, it is not just a reminder of his death and losing him, it is also a reminder of those hard, dark days that happened afterwards. It is so hard for me to go back to that place-planning the funeral, the hospital, the ambulances, seeing everyone afterwards. It almost seems like a fuzzy dream that I wonder, "did this really happen?".  I was definitely lost and had to do a fair share of faking it before I made it, but I do feel like I have come out of it stronger and more wise. There is so much to be thankful for during that dark time. I am thankful for Michael who still let me feel like a mother and who I had to be strong for so I could care for him. I am thankful for my husband who never made me feel crazy. I am thankful for my students and job for giving me a purpose and keeping me busy. I am thankful for my girls who remind me that life is never truly over and there is always adventure around the corner. 

There was a powerful message at church on Sunday about the book of Job. The pastor was talking about how yes, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Yes, there is light when we return to our heavenly father and his kingdom comes. But, there is also light IN the tunnel. Even in the darkest days and times, God's grace and glory can shine through. It spoke so much to me because even though you might not see it, I am still suffering. I still get wrecked with tears if I dwell on the thought of Trace too much. The pain is still close to the surface and if I don't work hard to keep in in check it can bubble right up. But yet, there is still so much light in my life. Sometimes it is a choice to keep my eyes focused on it instead of the darkness, but it is there. Michael, Anna & Brynn, my family...all bright beacons of light that I am thankful for. 

We still miss Trace very much every day and wish he was still here on earth with us. We know he watches over us and we keep him in our prayers every night. If you are suffering, please try to find the light even in the darkness. It is there, I promise. 

Thanks for stopping by. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

End of August/September

We have been trying to get back into the swing of things this fall which is obvious by the lack of my updating my blog. This fall has been unlike anything I have ever experienced in terms of our family just feels like we run out of hours in the day and other things get pushed to the back burner. And that's okay- my new philosophy is let go and its okay sometimes to let go, life will go on and no one will be any worse for the wear because of it. Here is a look at some highlights from the end of August-September. 

We took the boat out to celebrate the last day of my summer before heading back to school meetings. 

Michael and I also hit up Clive Aquatic center for one last swim day while the girls started their new day care before I went to meetings. It was a really fun day! 

Silly girl!

The girls started daycare a few days before I went back to meetings just to make a a full week. Michael went to his school daycare for a few days and then my parents took him to camp at the Iowa Sate Fair for a few days and then home for a week while I had classes before Michael started. It worked out really well and I'm thankful for my parents help! 

This has become a norm for us these days- I am logging significantly more time in the car as I have to go about 30 miles roundtrip more than usual. I am learning though...packing a snack and cranking the disney tunes can usually cure any cranky moods (mom's included!). It was a bit of adjustment the first few weeks but now I don't mind it at all. I stop at home first to switch cars and if I am running ahead of schedule I can take a few minutes to pop dinner in the oven or pick up a bit. It helps! 

We've also made a little afternoon tradition of walking to the mailbox and maybe a little bit further if I can convince Michael. It is a good way for me to get outside just for a bit and hopefully stave off the afternoon crankies from the girls (and Michael). 

Ah, the one day of the year that my band room is clean! 

Brining it for teaching year 12- what? Can you even believe it? Some things have gotten easier, some things harder and you better believe I am still learning things every day. There is always an opportunity for personal development as a teacher! 

I've been trying to keep up my commitment of early morning workouts and I have been rewarded with some fantastic sunrises in the morning. We are blessed! 

Happy Friday hats!

1st day of first grade! (he is loving it!)

I battled through an epic cold the very first week of school. I lost my voice and everything but still made it to school every day. Time is just too precious and I can't afford to miss a day. I'm feeling much better now and I'm glad that is out of the way...hopefully I can remain healthy the rest of the school year.

Celebrating a friend's 40th birthday at school with coffee treats!

Girls two year stats!

Ah Saturday morning...a time for a bit of rest. 

ISU football season is in full swing and I am thankful for our group of friends that gets together for tailgating and games. We are loving the generosity of our friends who live across from the stadium to let us tailgate with them in their yard. It is cushy! :o) I've made it to two games this season already, I'm pretty sure that like quadruples my record for the past two seasons. I'm also bad at math. 

Michael had a birthday party with some daycare friends. It was a blast! The girls wore their pjs because it was pj day at school and we went there right after pick up. 

I got to spend an awesome day with my 8th grade homeroom students a retreat outside of Boone. I was literally dreading the day, thinking of all the things that could go wrong. But it turned out to be the best day ever- smiles on kids and teachers faces all day long. It was like I literally couldn't stop smiling. This is a great class and they are so fun to be around. Plus they had coffee!

More after school mailbox fun!

Tourist day!

We took a quick family jaunt to the park on a beautiful night and it was fun to take the girls on a little hike. Jester is so beautiful this time of year!

I did a joint performance with my kids and the high school band for a Friday night football game. It was a ton of work and crazy and it poured rain, but it was also fun and I'm glad we did it. 

I think it got a lot of students excited for high school band and I'm hoping it sets a good tone for the rest of year. Also- have you ever wondered what 44 pizzas look like? Do you want to guess what 44 pizzas cost? oy! 

I fit into some old pants! yay! 

My usual after school mood. 

This seems like my life on a never ending cycle. Buy diapers. Buy milk. Buy diapers. Buy milk. 

We went to a really fun event at Jester Park to fundraise for the new nature center they are building there. I had extremely low expectations but since mom was here to watch the girls we gave it a go and it was a really nice night. Michael and I had fun on a night hike and it was fun to watch the bonfire and band. There was a huge crowd and now I'm sad that the secret is out on my favorite park! 

I think that does it for us for the month! I kept telling myself during those first couple of crazy weeks that eventually we'll find our groove and slowly but surely we are finding it. It is such a switch to go from summer right back into a busy school year that I think you need that transition time. We are looking forward to a fun October filled with Michael's birthday, Scott's birthday, fall fun and Halloween! Hopefully I will be back sooner rather than later with more updates! Thanks for visiting!

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