Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Air Assault School





Last week Ryan had a big accomplishment in his Army career thus far. He graduated from Air Assault school - a very grueling and exhausting 10 day exercise designed to weed out the weak and make the strong stronger. Well, he did it and we are so proud. Of course, we had to make sure we were at his graduation - and it was one crazy time.
I kept Jake and Ainsley (well, Reid too) out of school that day so we could all be there for his graduation. The plan had been to get a sitter for Reid and Jane Dare but, as usual, I left things til the last minute and it just didn't work out. Blessedly the ceremony was held outside so I figured at least we wouldn't be in a confined space or a room that echoes. I get to the graduation 25 minutes early and find about a million cards already there so I had to park way
far away. Which meant I had to schlep 4 kids through the makeshift parking lot, down a road, and across a rather large field. I had one kid on my shoulders, two in the jogging stroller and Jake following (very slowly) behind. Thankfully this is the Army we are talking about so I nice soldier pitched in and helped me push the stroller to the graduation site.
We got there just in time to see the grads take off for the tower where the do a demonstration of their fast roping skills which was very cool. What wasn't cool was that my kids were awed by it for about 3 seconds and then these jaded little hooligans decided to start having fun on the metal bleachers. Up and down and in and out crawling around like little monkeys. After the demo the graduates come back and stand in formation for a prayer, the national anthem and a short speech. This was about the time Reid decided he wanted to stand at the top of the bleachers and every time I put my hand up to keep him from falling he yelled "DOH" (that is how he says no) at me. So at this point I'm sweating bullets trying to keep some order when I spy a number of maroon berets in the back of the crowd. Maroon berets meant one thing - Ryan's coworkers were back there. So I then desperately began attempting to make eye contact but to no avail. However my kids shenanigans must've been loud enough because shortly two of my favorite maroon berets stepped up behind me like angels sent from heaven. Jay took Jane Dare to free up my hands and Derek took charge of Ainsley. I was saved! After that the ceremony flew by and we were able to enjoy Ryan having his pin put on by the cadre and, of course, the singing of the Army song. Thank the Lord for those guys or I don't know that I would have survived.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

November . . . that's the best I can do.

Wow, its been over a month since my last blog post. I think about this blog all the time and I miss sitting down on a more regular basis to put my thoughts out there into the great abyss of cyber space. But I have been short on both time AND ideas lately and it shows in my absence here. There were so many things I somehow still made time for when I was the mother of 3 but I think that for me 4 has been that magical number that has done me in. Don't get me wrong - I'm loving life as the mom to four kids and I feel like we are not just surviving but totally thriving during this time - but its just been impossible to make time for certain things. My copy of Anne Karenina sits forlornly on my nightstand with the bookmark in just about the same space it was 2 months ago. Emails have piled up in my inbox to the point that I'm not really sure where to start sifting through them. I'm still trying to get the last of Jane Dare's birth announcements out with the thought of Christmas cards looming large over my head. I feel like not one day goes by that I'm not apologizing for someone for dropping the ball in one way or another. I actually had to resort to writing Ainsley's show and tell schedule in my daytimer because I was so frustrated with screwing up the day or the assignment or what not.
And yet, I get dinner on the table most nights. The laundry has not piled up and drowned me yet despite the fact that I'm averaging about two loads per day right now. The kids are decently groomed and most days their outfits match . . . . I occasionally even get their teeth brushed. I am getting in at least a few minutes of snuggle time with each child on a daily basis. My husband and I still love each other and enjoy being together. Sigh. As you can see I'm all over the place. Right now, if you are still reading, you are probably wishing I hadn't decided to start blogging again :)
So, you may have heard that we had a baby. Jane Dare arrived on 9-9-09 and weighed 9 lbs. 9 oz. Just kidding. That would have been cool though. That really is her birthday but her weight was a boring 7lbs 11oz. Too bad, huh? Anyway, little miss Jane Dare is absolutely a dream baby. I mean, I always went on about how wonderful Reid was and he really was a good baby but she is better. Sorry Reid. She has slept through the night the past two nights in a row (and many nights before that as well). But lately she's been sleeping from about 8 - 6:30 or so. I mean, this kid is only 10 weeks old. She barely ever cries. In fact she didn't cry at all the first 3 days of her life - it really freaked out the nurses at the hospital when she wouldn't cry right after she was born. But she was pink, breathing fine . . . so they just pronounced her the most perfect baby ever and I agree. She has been smiling for the past few weeks and her smiles are priceless. I'll just be talking to her and glance down and she is just beaming up at me. And she is starting to "talk" back to me - its so sweet!
Well, I could keep talking here but if I wrap it up now and save some of my ideas for future blogs maybe I'll get back on here again before the New Year :) Gotta go make some coffee - I'm heading to the midnight premier of New Moon tonight and I need to be wide awake!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

What The World Needs . . .

Is less time spent playing video games and more time playing "Ninja"



*Costume design (i.e. underwear on head to act as ninja masks) entirely by Jake and Ainsley

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Little Sad in 'Hood (Mother"hood" that is)

Well, this next post was supposed to be all about the most wonderful experience I had on Sunday with the pink party to celebrate yours truly and my soon to be born little wonder. But I just can't do it right now - I'm feeling so down and deflated about this job I'm doing that it would be silly to post that and then follow it with this downer. So I decided to get this out of the way and then in a couple of days I'll post my glowing report of my shower.
I think one of my bigger fears would be one of my children looking at me one day and saying "Mom, why on earth did you have so many of us if this is how you were going to act . . . " just typing that brings big tears down my cheeks. I speak so glowingly about this calling to raise up children and to not be afraid of big numbers and what joy children are and right now I'm not feelin' ANY OF IT. I guess it was just time I got back to being real on my blog and instead of glossing it over I wanted to share with all my mom friends out there that right now I am not super mom. I am "get by mom" or "barely present mom" or "dreaming of an escape mom". My temper is so short, my energy is so low. I feel like all I do is say NO. Or Maybe Later. Or Just Give Me a Second PLEASE! And you know, probably all this is normal but its not ok and I hate it. My children are not feeling delighted in or enjoyed right now. Hopefully the worst they are feeling is that I'm just trying to endure them. Because the alternative is that they feel resented, or barely tolerated . . . and that would be a pretty crappy way for the woman who gave you life to make you feel.
And yes, I'm pregnant, and tired and large but I wish I could say that was what this all is but its not. I can't say I wouldn't be feeling this way even if I was fit and trim and not enormous and pregnant. (And on a side note WHY have I chosen to listen to the song "Letters From War" as I type this . . . seriously am I a sick masochist?).
So that is how I'm feeling. I'm not going to try and tie this up neatly because right now my emotions are raw and I don't feel tied up - I feel torn up. So I'll leave it at that. Thanks for reading and listening to me. It means a lot.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My Pink Party






On Sunday afternoon I had one of the best few hours ever. I was surrounded by women who love me and support me in this life of motherhood to celebrate the coming arrival of Jane Dare and to be showered with wonderful gifts. Words can not begin to express how overwhelmed I was by all these women I am blessed enough to know and love. I know these days baby showers are a dime a dozen but I realized on Sunday how wonderful it is to celebrate EVERY baby and to never underestimate what it means to the mom-to-be to have the event celebrated. Its easy for me to get "too busy" to attend or honor these events but after the feelings I had on Sunday I will always remember . . . and try to do MY best to remember what it meant to me and what it might mean for this expectant mother.
As you can see from the pictures Troy went all out in making a truly beautiful shower for me. It was all pink and brown which I just adore and the theme was around a momma bird preparing her nest for a new baby. So the (GORGEOUS!!!) invitations, decor, petit four cakes and even the cookies all matched that theme. The food was delicious - I skipped lunch to ensure I would be hungry enough and it worked! When I'm nursing I can't eat dairy because it causes very unhappy babies so this shower's menu centered around all things cheese! It was a dream come true for this cheese lover.
And, of course, I left with so many wonderful things to welcome my new love bug. I came home and spent the evening putting away all sorts of special things I'd received including the most beautiful handmade diaper bag that my mom created for Jane Dare - I LOVE it.
To top it all of my dear friend Redonna drove all the way up to celebrate with us. Truly - it could not have been a better day.
Thank you to all the woman who showered me with love - most especially to Troy whose friendship I value more than words can express!

Friday, August 21, 2009

My Husband is Awesome

My husband is awesome. In fact, he is the best husband in the whole wide world. No other husband is as good. So there - I said it - watcha gonna do about it? Now, I hope that every married woman who reads this will vehemently disagree with me because I wish nothing but wonderful, happy marriages for all the couples I know - but don't post about your wonderful husband on my comments. Start your own blog and write it there, kay?
What has brought out all of these gooshy feelings for my other half? Well, its just little things that he does that reminds me how blessed I am to have him. One of those things is shopping for clothes for our kids. He loves to do this and he will go out all on his own and shop for them and bring home the most wonderful finds. Its not the stuff factor really that makes me love him - its that he gets as much joy out of doing things for our kids as I do - he is an amazing father - and this just illustrates that.
Last weekend Jake and he headed to the GAP because we'd both read about their new line of 1969 jeans that are supposed to be GAP's answer to Sevens, Joe's etc. In fact, Ryan told me more about how they hired away designers from these top labels, etc, and started fresh to make this new GAP brand. AND then we found out they were on sale for $20 off - so he simply had to go and get some jeans that would make his butt look even more fabulous (my words, not his). When he and Jake returned home a few hours later their shopping bag held 2 pairs of jeans for Ryan and a whole bunch of other stuff for our kids. I got to sit on the bed and watch excitedly as he showed off all his finds! And he got the most adorable stuff. I tried to put pictures in but it was too much trouble so if you are curious here are just a couple of examples!
http://www.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=26043&vid=1&pid=665813 - for Ainsley
http://www.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=42572&vid=1&pid=663100 - for Jane Dare
http://www.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=42543&vid=1&pid=664063 - for Reid
http://www.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=26210&vid=1&pid=664998 - for Jake
What a guy!


Saturday, August 8, 2009

I'm Hot

I'm hot and large and tired. There you go - that sums up the "how are you" portion of this post.
Today is the first Saturday since Ryan has been home that we haven't been packing, unpacking, frantically searching for housing, moving in to found housing or traveling. July is just like a big huge blur, in fact. But this weekend not only did we make minimal plans but Ryan also had a DONSA so we got to enjoy starting our weekend a day early. So far its been great. We both got quite a few things done yesterday, today has continued to be productive, and we have a great party to look forward to tonight with fun people and good food (if we can survive this heat). Last night we got to have Troy and her kiddos over and there are few things that we enjoy more. Its such a wonderful time even amongst the screaming (mostly the kids) and general chaos of 7 kids vs. 3 adults.
My project for this weekend has been to tackle my van. I was motivated by the aforementioned Troy and some not so subtle comments from my parents :) I think its also a form of nesting in preparation for the new baby. Since we are in a rental that I don't like too much and have no intention of decorating I have to find new outlets for this stage of pregnancy. I think its a good thing because my van is a worthy project. I pulled out all the car seats and they are being scrubbed down and the covers washed. I scrubbed and vacuumed and rubbed and polish the interior. I washed and buffed the exterior. Now I just need to shampoo the interior rugs and order some new protective mats that I feel sure will do wonders for my sanity. And we are finally getting a couple of dents on the hood fixed this week SO my ride will feel brand new. Oh what a feeling :)
And finally I've been feeling kind of down just because I'm so not prepared for this baby. There are lots of things left to buy (contrary to popular belief you do not "have it all" by the 4th baby). Rather you have tons of worn out, over-used things that need to be replaced. I need to clean out the car seat and put new batteries in the bouncy chair and have at least a few special things that are just for her. All of this has fallen by the wayside in light of my other daily tasks. But then my dear Troy (I should have just titled this post "Have I Mentioned My Friend Troy?" informed me that she was throwing me a Pink Party & Baby Shower. Because in her opinion (and I couldn't agree more) EVERY baby is special and should be celebrated, whether it be number 1 or number 8. Who am I to argue with such wisdom. The thought of gathering with friends to celebrate this babies arrival has just done wonders for my spirit. I'm so excited for it and even got to put together a couple little registries. Nothing too big but just some of the basics I could use. What I really love about the registry is that even if I'm the only person to use it, its a very helpful list to help me keep my thoughts straight on what is left to do and get before Jane Dare comes into this world! Plus I got coupons :)
OK, my wonderful hubby is back from his trek to the trampoline with my kids. I love him so and I'd better sign off.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Flight Etiquette

Note: Last week I had the chance to fly to California to spend 3 1/2 wonderful days with my friends Megan and Nicki. It was a fantastic time to be with girlfriends and recharge my batteries. I wrote the following blog on my ipod touch while in flight from Nashville to Salt Lake City . . .

So here I sit on flight number 305 to Salt Lake City and wouldn't you know I'd end up next to an arm rest encroacher. No matter how much planning and preparation you do to ensure a pleasant flight for yourself there are certain things that you just can't avoid. I booked my flight well in advance allowing me to select my seat. I wisely chose a window seat knowing that at 32 weeks pregnant chances were good I'd need to potty early and often on this 3.5 hour flight.
When I got to my seat on the plan to discover a man already sitting in it I nicely explained he was in the wrong seat. He informed me that my seat, 26C was across the aisle (there were only 2 seats on the other side of the aisle and three on his side). So, I pointed to the chart right over his head that had a picture of a window and then the letters E, D, C clearly meant to be moving from window to aisle. Again, he argued with me that I was wrong and if anything C was the window or it was across the aisle. Losing my patience I pointed out seats A and B on the other side and restated that obviously seat C was next, and it was, in fact the aisle seat, but kept myself from saying "so get your butt out of it!!!". He finally agreed and they shift over to their rightful place.
I unapologetically plop myself into MY seat while the wife asks her husband loudly enough for all to hear if he'll be ok not being on the aisle. It was all I could do not to growl at her that if they had booked in advance as I had they too could have picked their own freakin' seats and he could be loving his aisle position. Then, referring to a comment I'd made during the seat assignment debacle about being pregnant and having to use the bathroom a lot, the wife looked and me and said "well, I'm glad you won't mind then when I have to get up and use the restroom a lot too". Um, excuse me, but what on earth makes you think this cranky, swollen, tired pregnant woman would be so gracious? Let me reiterate - YOU TOO had the opportunity for an aisle seat just like me. Your lack of planning does not require a gracious attitude on my part.

In response I pulled out my headphones, grateful that at the last minute I took Ryan's Bose over the hear headphones so I could play deaf and avoid any further interaction. This is precisely when I discovered I was next to an arm rest encroacher. The husband plops his arm up on the armrest and it totally spills over into my personal seat space. Now, I firmly believe that the middle seat passenger is mostly entitled to both of his shared armrests since they are crammed in the middle seat. But what they are not entitled to is even 1 centimeter of my precious personal seat space. I don't want your arm rubbing mine while its sitting innocently on my lap. So now I have to start the subtle game of communicating arm space rules. This involves firmly pressing my arm against the side of the armrest and, if necessary, moving it vertically up and down to communicate my point and(hopefully) cause discomfort on the part of the encroacher. So far, its working ok but it looks like frequent reminders may be necessary.

Oh, and so far his wife has already made a trip to the potty and we are only 1/3 of the way through the flight. At this point I think the score is Lacey - 3 and Outdoorsy-wanna-be-upper-end-of-middle aged- couple (you know the kind with special hiking shorts, keens AND keen socks on) - 2. I feel confident that I will prevail.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Just another evening

So it was just another evening here in the house. We were still reeling in post-deployment bliss! Everyone was happy and all was good. It was a couple days after the 4th of July but fireworks had been happening forever in our neighborhood so loud noises were nothing new.

We had put all the kids to bed and Ryan was relaxing in our room downstairs while I was folding laundry nearby. All of the sudden I started to hear loud, weird noises. "Are those fireworks?" I asked Ryan. "Yes", he said. More loud, weird noises. Followed closely by my super-mom suspicions that had been well honed during his deployment (Ryan's super-dad sense may have atrophied some) so I walk over to the window in our bedroom that looks out on our deck and look up the the window in Jake and Ainsley's room. Just in time to see the screen pushed open and a Larry Boy go plunging to certain death on the wood below. Only he crashed into a pile of other toys that had taken the plunge before him which certainly saved his life. I turned around and said to Ryan, "No, that isn't fireworks, its your children throwing things out their window". And then I turned around and laid down on the bed to watch some TV while he went upstairs to deal with the situation. Ahhhh, more post-deployment bliss.

And in case you are wondering, NO - their windows were not open and YES - their windows were locked before this incident began. But clearly that is no match for our children!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Ryan comes Home!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What a joyous reunion it was last Friday when the kids got their daddy back and I got my husband back. After three years of long seperations we are excited for a new chapter that will keep him in the US for a couple of years!


















Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Finally - a contract!

So I guess you could say the past few days have been somewhat eventful . On Thursday evening I received a call from our real estate agent asking me how quickly I thought we could be out of the house. I honestly would have probably promised her anything at that point although I couldn't contact Ryan and the housing office at Ft. Campbell had just closed for a 4 day weekend. But what I said was "tell them to bring us an offer and we'll go from there". And they did. And it was a good offer and so when Ryan called the next morning I was able to tell him we had a very good offer on our house! We countered that evening and got a verbal acceptance right away and that was that. The inspector is here now so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it goes well but we have on our side that fact that these buyers are a little house desperate right now and hopefully that'll smooth over any wrinkles!
It had been a couple of weeks since our house had shown when I got this call from our realtor so I certainly wasn't expecting it. Turns out its a couple we had shown the house to three weeks prior. They came to look a couple of times but wanted to do a pool and were concerned about the orientation of our house and the direction it faced. So they made an offer on another house which got rejected when another all cash offer came in (yippee). And then they offered on another house and the inspection was bum ( yippee). So finally they decided to lower themselves to 240 Cullom Way and offer on our house. Hey, I'm not prideful, I don't care where we were on their list.
So, we have a closing date of 24 July. Lots to do before now and then. Post housing is not going to work out which means we had to find a place AND we have to move ourselves but so far all things are falling into place. We found a 4 bedroom house in a good location and we can get in now. And my parents are coming to help (WHEW!!!!) which is huge. And this house has a two car garage so we'll have some storage options.
Of course, just a couple weeks before I'd booked myself a flight to California on the 23rd so we need to be out of this house NLT the 21st so I can clean it out before I leave. Bring it on!
oh - and Ryan got home too - hee hee. I'll post pics soon. Its been an out of this world reunion time. We are all in heaven. I guess the more times you do this the less difficult it is to adjust!

Monday, June 22, 2009

What's In A Name?

So, for the past few weeks I've been asked at least once a day if we've picked a name or if we are sharing that name. My answer varies between "no, we haven't decided" or "no, we aren't sharing yet". I wanted to be able to tell my parents first but after that I had decided I wanted to post it on the blog. My reason being that I am an incredibly sensitive person. No matter how much I try not to, reactions matter to me. And a negative reaction when it comes to the name I've chosen for my beloved future daughter just isn't something I'm emotionally up to right now. And no matter how great any name is there are bound to be those who would react negatively. In this case the name we've chosen is fairly unique so the odds rise.

Before I go on and on anymore let's just get to the name. Our sweet, beautiful baby girl will be called Jane Dare. She is going to go by both first and middle name - hence all of you will be calling her Jane Dare (I told Ryan he could call her Jane if he wanted but nobody else could). I very simply LOVE this name. The more I ponder it the more I love it. To the point that I could not imagine calling her anything different. Ryan has always loved the name Jane but I wanted to give her something a little more unique so wanted to do a double name. Its a long, very uninteresting, story how I came up with Dare so you can ask me in person if you care. What settled the name for me was when I looked up Jane to see what it meant and found the meaning "God is gracious". Truly I can't think of a more fitting meaning to describe how Ryan and I feel about the incredible blessing he has bestowed on us to allow us to have four children. God truly has been so gracious to us and Jane Dare will be the final piece to that puzzle of our family . Dare means absolutely nothing, which suits me just fine. And as if that wasn't enough I stumbled upon this quote by H.G. Wells and it sounded so much like something Ryan would say that I almost felt the angels singing.

'It's giving girls names like that,' said Buggins, 'that nine times out of ten makes 'em go wrong. It unsettles 'em. If ever I was to have a girl, if ever I was to have a dozen girls, I'd call 'em all Jane.'" -H.G. Wells, referring to the name Euphemia .

I also love the name because she'll have lots of flexibility with it. When she is older she can choose to be called Jane, or Dare or Janie or . . . well, you see. I had a coworker named Dare and so I know for a fact that it works :)

And now that we've decided this will be the name of our precious daughter I absolutely can't imagine calling her anything else. Of all our children's names this one is most kindred to my heart. So, if you love it as I do, feel free to let me know. If you think its just ok but you are a good liar like I am feel free to lie away. If you think its "interesting" or if you'll "need to think about the Dare part " then feel free to keep your yap shut.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Weekly Review

So, this week was a little less eventful - thank goodness! It actually flew by which is always a good thing when you are counting the days until a deployment is over. The kids went to VBS at a church downtown and it was a great program! However it wasn't a very relaxing start to the summer as we needed to be out the door shortly before 8:30 each morning. After some initial kicking and screaming on both Jake and Ainsley's part they ended the week sad that VBS was over - which might have been largely influenced by the 3 inflatables they brought in for the last day! Jake has been walking around singing the songs they learned this week and its so sweet to hear. A great bonus is that three of my friends also had their kids there so I got to see them most mornings and afternoons and that was totally a treat.

We are still recovering from the aftermath of Ainsley's haircut. I chopped the rest of it off myself right at her ears. Its just too big of a mess to waste the effort taking her to have a professional do it. I'll give it some time to grow a little and then we'll head back to Fantastic Sam's so they can work some magic. I ran into my girlfriend Ashley yesterday and she was trying so hard to be sweet and not comment on it and then we both just started to laugh hysterically. It really is too funny! The best part is that her portrait is featured in a full page ad by Barbee Studios in this month's Clarksville Family - but no one would guess this was the same child!

We've got an exciting week to look forward to. Redonna is coming to visit tomorrow. The Rowes will be here for a couple of nights while the clean out their house and then Honey and Ozzie are coming for a week. Certainly a lot to look forward to. Maybe amidst all those visitors I'll get a nap - one can hope!

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Cold, Hard Truth

The stories I am about to relate in the following post are 100% factual and barely, if at all, embellished for the sake of good story telling. Not because I am above hyperbole but because my life needs no exaggeration. Last Wednesday, the day that I celebrated 9 years of marriage to Ryan, the children rewarded me with "special" behavior all day long. And that day must be told for the history books . . . so here goes.

It was a slow, starter day as we'd arrived home late the night before from our Memorial Day trip to Ohio. We were tired and trying to adjust back to the Central Time Zone and this momma was certainly a little bit out of it. Unfortunately, as a parent to MY Children, this is not a luxury I can afford.

Our first event of the day was Ainsley deciding to open her own hair salon and start with herself as the first client. Reid was napping and I was in the big kids room putting away their clothes from the trip. Jake was on the computer playing games and Ainsley was coloring. All was well. Ha - well, the joke was on me. After about 3 minutes of being one room away I came back to check on my quiet children and Jake looks up and says "mom, Ainsley is cutting her hair". In shock I walked a few more steps forward and saw my carpet and the table covered in her soft, beautiful hair. I asked Jake, "WHY didn't you COME tell me?!?!!?" to which he shrugs his shoulders and returns to Super Why. Ainsley starts scooping up her handfuls of hair and showing them off to me proudly. I examined the damage (bad) and threw my hands up in the air realizing no fit on my part was going to make this better. I went downstairs and called the folks at the Little Miss Tennessee pageant and told them we were out for this year (ha). And the day continued.

Later that afternoon the kids and I went out in the front to get the mail (again, Reid is napping - see why I like him best?). The garage door was open and I sat on the front steps while they ran to get their bikes and rode around in the drive. After a few minutes they road into the garage and I could hear them happily playing. So I let them because I'd (supposedly) safety proofed the garage pretty much and there wasn't much they could get into. After a couple minutes ( seriously - that was it!!!) I went to get them and found the little vandals - caught them red handed!! They had opened the door to my outside fridge, gotten out the brand new carton of Eggland's Best eggs, and proceeded to egg my garage, my car, their toys . . . OH THE RAGE!!!!!! I dragged them inside, gave spanking they won't soon forget and shut them into separate rooms while I went to repair the damage. At this point I began counting the minutes until my babysitter would arrive for the evening.

I bring them kids inside as Reid is waking up from his nap. I sit them down at the table with snacks and run upstairs to retrieve Reid from his crib and give him his cup of milk. Ryan calls and I'm quickly filling him in on the day as I step out onto the landing and let out a strangled "Oh MY Gosh . . . I am going to kill your children". Ainsley had gone into the pantry, gotten out my XXL jar or peanut butter, opened it, stuck her hands in it up to her wrists, and proceeded to give my family room carpet her own version of a peanut butter cleaning treatment. AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
About 5 minutes later Mary (babysitter extraordinaire) arrived so I did a quick job on the carpet, kitchen floor, cabinets, stainless steel appliances (you get the picture) threw the instructions and kids at her and stalked out the door.

Providentially Ryan had asked me to schedule a massage and pedicure for myself that night as a way to celebrate our special day. As I was finishing up the massage the girl said "wow, you were so tight and stressed out . . . I can't believe it!". Well, if she reads my blog she'll believe it
now.



Thursday, May 14, 2009

Chocolate Ex-Lax . . . the story of my life.

Sometimes I have nothing to post so I go long periods with no writing. Other times I have about a million things to write about but no time to do the writing. The latter is the case lately. I have been absolutely overwhelmed with all that is going on and I feel so out of touch with so many people. I've had no time to catch up on blogs, reply to emails, make phone calls, etc. I'm just trying to keep my head above water I guess you could say.

Anyway, I'm going to go for a funny story today to try and lighten the mood after my last post. Don't want to be too much of a downer around here even if that is the current status quo. Ok, so this weekend I took the kids on a retreat for spouses and kids of deployed soldiers from Ryan's unit. It was a nice (free) weekend at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo hotel which is somewhere I've always wanted to take Jake. I knew the weekend would be challenging but I figured "what is the worst that can happen "? Well, I don't know if the worst happened but I would say that "pretty bad" happened. Our weekend was going along ok, I'd attended a session while the kids were in child care, I took them swimming, they were fed and hydrated (I'm NOT kidding on this point - all meals were buffet style . . . 2 hands, 3 kids, 4 meals . . . the math does not work out there). On Saturday afternoon we went back to our hotel to rest before we headed to the aquarium. I put Reid down in his crib and then put on a movie for Jake and Ainsley and laid down on the bed next to them to rest. Well, I must have all but passed out from exhaustion because when I woke up 45 minutes later I discovered the remnants of what must have been Ainsley combing through my travel kit. In that travel kit is a package of chocolate ex-lax that I bought for Ainsley at Disney World because she was a little stopped up. It takes maybe half a little tablet to get her system moving. Well, exact data won't ever be found but she must have eaten at least 7 or 8 full tablets. Inches from my sleeping head.

So, at this point what can you do but wait? We got to the aquarium and back without incident. I settled the kids down to eat pizza when we returned and that is when the inevitable began to unfold. Ainsley basically pooped her head off for the next 14 hours. It was just one pull-up after another trying to contain the flow. She went through at least 3 pull-ups during breakfast alone on Sunday morning. Shortly thereafter (probably when she was standing in the child care room holding her stomach and sobbing) I decided to call the trip a wrap. I'd had enough.

Looking back now I think I just might've been crazy to attempt this trip on my own but we survived and we accomplished 2 things - we saw Chattanooga AND we got another weekend down until Ryan comes home.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Funk

This is my 100th post I just realized. Hard to believe I've posted that many times in the little over a year since I started this blog but I guess I have. So it seems like I should have something funny or heartwarming to share but I don't. I am in a total funk right now. I was talking to a dear friend today and was telling her its just one of those funks where you kind of want to crawl in a hole and stay there until you snap out of it. Because when I feel like this I absolutely can't trust myself around others. I'm either prickly and distant or overly weepy and emotional. And I hate going into a situation knowing I'm going to act that way and I hate the feelings that linger after those encounters. I just can't be trusted.

Why am I in a funk? Well, of course, I miss Ryan like crazy. But that is nothing new in our marriage - our in our relationship as a whole. This summer it will have been 14 years since we met and fell in love and those years have held a lot of separation and heartache. It doesn't ever ache less but I have developed a number of coping mechanisms. Right now though my funk has more to do with just missing his companionship as my best friend than with being tired of single parenting, etc.

But there is more to my funk than Ryan being gone. I've realized in the past few days that its coming to the end of an era here in Clarksville for us and there are tears on my cheeks just typing that. This time has meant some of the sweetest, deepest most real friendships I have ever experienced. And while I'm leaving soon most of those friendships are leaving sooner and that has me in mourning. I suck at being a long distance friend. S - U - C - K, suck at it. And so I'm afraid of losing what I have. Will I still call M just to complain when my kids are whiney? Will N still call me with crazy, random questions that then morphs into 15 minute long laugh fests? What about when we can't count on S & C to invite us over for their famous Sunday cookouts? And that doesn't even begin on the dear ones we will leave behind when we move. I honestly don't know that I will ever, ever, ever have again what I have right now and it scares me to death. Because I know friendships like this aren't commonplace. I know they are nothing to be taken for granted.

And I've learned so much from my friends here. I've learned about selfless hospitality - TRUE hospitality. When I lived in Virginia it was entertaining - not being hospitable. And that was pressure and status and keeping up with the Joneses which is as far from true hospitality as you can get. But here I've learned what it is to say "come as you are" and to say it often. I've learned how to be a better phone friend. I generally stink at talking on the phone but I've learned to how to have short conversations that manage to cover the whole gamut in rapid fire style. I've been shown what it is to be selfless with your time. How many house calls has my favorite pediatrician made? Too many to count. I've seen what it means to really embrace life and go all out for every opportunity. To not let life pass you by but to take charge and make each day count. I've learned true generosity - from the heart giving that has blessed me to my very core. I've learned all this and so much more.

And so I know that is contributing heavily to my current funk. I've got little over a month and then many will begin to drift away. Its not going to get easier over these next few weeks but I pray that I'll find solace in the special times we have left together.

And on a final note - a little something so this doesn't end totally sappy - I learned today that crayon bits seem to pass through the system and re-enter the world in their original color. Fascinating.

Monday, April 27, 2009

My Escape Artists

There is no longer any peace in my home because my children are clearly developing their skills as escape artists in the circus. Seriously. In the past 10 days there have been more instances that I can even remember of them turning up in places they should not be. I'll give you the four most vivid examples:
1- I was washing dishes one evening while the kids were playing. They were playing in the foyer and then moved into the front guest room. It was a beautiful evening out so I had the front door open but the storm door closed and locked. I had the water on so I couldn't hear everything but knew where they were (or so I thought) so I didn't worry. About 5 minutes later I shut the water off and turned around to find them and see Reid climbing his way down the front steps . . . and his brother and sister no where to be found. So I run outside and run to the house they usually escape to but there is no sign of them. I run around my house to the other side but no kids. My neighbor across the street is out on his front porch watching so I'm trying to look like I'm in control so he won't think I'm a total idiot. Just as I'm going back inside to look for them there my new next door neighbor runs up to tell me the kids have taken off for a run around the block. He came to tell me while his "roommate" went to follow them. I freak out and take off running just as I realize Reid is still on the front steps. Thankfully my other neighbor who was watching these shenanigans comes running for Reid and motions me on. I find my two runaways THREE QUARTERS of their way around the block. Neither with shoes on and Ainsley in her pajamas. Oh I was so mad and upset and scared. After the punishment they received I thought it would never happen again. Ha. Ha. Ha.
2- Last Friday morning Jake was sleeping down in the guest room and slept in pretty late. I was in my room with Ainsley and Reid getting ready and I heard a bedroom door close. So I went to find Jake and let him know where we were but his door was closed so I decided to he'd just gotten up to go to the bathroom and gone back to bed or something. Before I head back to my room I wanted to run get the paper so I open the front door and storm door to find JAKE bare-butt standing on our front sidewalk taking his morning bathroom break. He shut all the doors behind him as to avoid detection. I had no idea he was out there. But my neighbors sure did - I ran into her at Walmart later that day and she was still laughing.
3 - Friday night was a rough night with Reid running a temp, etc. so I was up with him a few times and exhausted. I was awoken at 3:30 a.m. by a strange rustling overhead and prayed it was just Ainsley going to the bathroom. but the noises were weird and kept going so I had to get up to investigate. I came upstairs to find the bonus room light on but no Jake. Then I realized the closet light was on but didn't see him in the closet but heard more noises. So I went THROUGH our closet to the door that leads to the attic and lo and behold there he was. At 3:30 in the morning. Trying to find his blue car. At least that was his story. I never found out anymore and I'm still wondering if he was sleep walking. Needless to say the door to the attic is now locked.
4- During naptime today I put Jake in the guest room and went to my room to work on a project. About 20 minutes later I came out to get something and heard more weird noises. Huh, what could that be. I look out the front window and there is Jake trying to scale the window. ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had all the doors locked and the extra slide lock on so there was no way he could get out. But what I had never thought of was the possibility of him kicking the window screen out of the guest room window and climbing out the window. I can only imagine how long he was out there.
So, there you have it. If you feel the need to call Child Protective Services PLEASE be my guest!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Stolen and Hilarious.

I just stole this from a note my friend Gwendolyn posted on her facebook. I give all credit to her for finding it but it is just TOO genius to not pass this along!!! My personal favorites are the grocery store test and OF COURSE the last one. Not that I have any childless friends who read this blog who, ahem, think they know a thing or two to teach parents about raising their kids. But if I did . . . :)

How to know whether or not you are ready to have kids: -

Mess Test Smear peanut butter on the sofa and curtains. Place a fish stick behind the couch and leave it there all summer.

Toy Test Obtain a 55 gallon box of Legos (you may substitute roofing tacks if you wish). Have a friend spread them all over the house. Put on a blindfold and take off shoes. Try to walk to the bathroom or kitchen. Do not scream because this would wake a child at night. -

Grocery Store Test Borrow one or two small animals (goats are best) and take them with you as you shop. Always keep them in sight and pay for anything they eat or damage. -

Dressing Test Obtain one large, unhappy, live octopus. Stuff into a small net bag making sure that all the arms stay inside. -

Feeding Test Obtain a large plastic milk jug. Fill halfway with water. Suspend from the ceiling with a cord. Start the jug swinging. Try to insert spoonfuls of soggy cereal into the mouth of the jug, while pretending to be an airplane. Now dump the contents of the jug on the floor. -

Night Test Prepare by obtaining a small cloth bag and fill it with 8-12 pounds of sand. Soak it thoroughly in water. At 3:00pm, begin to waltz and hum with the bag until 9:00pm. Lay down your bag and set your alarm for 10:00pm. Get up, pick up your bag, and sing every song you have ever heard. Make up about a dozen more and sing these too until 4:00am. Set alarm for 5:00am. Get up and make breakfast. Keep this up for 5 years. Look cheerful. -

Ingenuity Test Take an egg carton. Using a pair of scissors and pot of paint, turn it into an alligator. Now take a toilet paper tube and turn it into an attractive Christmas candle. Use only scotch tape and a piece of foil. Last, take a milk carton, a ping-pong ball, and an empty box of Cocoa Puffs. Make an exact replica of the Eiffel Tower. -

Automobile Test Forget the BMW and buy a station wagon. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there. Get a dime. Stick it into the CD player. Take a family-size package of chocolate chip cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Run a rake along both side of the car. There, perfect! -

Physical Test (Women) Obtain a large bean bag chair and attach it to the front of your clothes. Leave it there for 9 months. Then remove the beans. And try not to notice your closet full of clothes. You won't be wearing them for a while. -

Physical Test (Men) Go to the nearest drug store. Set your wallet on the counter. Ask the clerk to help himself. Now proceed to the nearest food store. Go to the head office and arrange for your paycheck to be directly deposited to the store. Purchase a newspaper. Go home and read it quietly for the last time. -

Final Assignment Find a couple who already has a small child. Lecture them on how they can improve their discipline, patience, tolerance, and toilet training and child's table manners. Suggest many ways they can improve. Emphasize to them that they should never allow their children to run wild. Enjoy this experience. It will be the last time you will have all the answers.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter

This post is a little overdue since Easter was yesterday . . . I guess if it was an overview of our Easter it wouldn't really be overdue but since it isn't, it is. Ha - try to make sense of that one. I have a good excuse though for this being late. 1 - my parents were here for a great week and I hated to spend time on the computer when I had great adult company . 2 - I got sick as a dog on Wed/Thurs - ya know, puking and all. It was great. 3 - Ainsley got her hands on the computer last week and pulled the space bar off and while I've fixed it to the best of my abilities its still really annoying and typing just isn't much fun when you have to backspace every third word to take out extra spaces. Thanks Ains.

So, Easter. Its a wonderful time of celebration in the world of believers. Its really THE most important time as we reflect on our sin and the price Christ paid on the cross to wipe us clean of sin so that we could know the Father God. None of the gripes that are about to follow are in the least meant to detract from the true meaning of Easter. Hmmm, maybe if I'd actually been in the Easter service yesterday rather than serving in the toddler nursery I'd feel less like griping but since that WASN'T the case here goes my complaining (whew, I was worried I wasn't going to be able to work my personal pity party into this post). My gripe is about Easter clothing. Its a nasty scam. I mean, here we are pressure to put our little girls in little frilly dresses so we run out and buy these adorable frocks and sandals and then 5 days before when we check the weather and realize its going to be 30 degrees on Easter morning we go into a panic. Then we are on the hunt for a matching cardigan, tights, shoes instead of sandals . . . and we have to pay top dollar for them all because we already have the dress and heavens knows we can't change that. So Easter morning dawns cold as all get-out and we pile on the layers and finally top it all off with a dress meant to be warn on an 80 degree day. Its maddening I tell you. The one good thing is as the mom of two boys I have it easy there. I mean - at least Jake isn't sweating his head off in his undershirt, long sleeve button up and sweater vest! Actually, follow me on a short rabbit trail. A few years ago we were in Charlotte for Easter and it was blazing hot. Seriously, the only Easter I have any memory of it even being warm, let alone hot. So, I have Jake in white twill pants, a long sleeve white button up shirt and a seersucker blazer and he was burning up! Poor kid - I still look at those pics and laugh at his poor little red cheeks.
Now, on to adult women and our Easter apparel expectations . . . Has anyone examined the Belk or Dillards Easter ads lately? Do you see the clothing they have these women in? Its the same crap they wanted our moms to wear in the 80's. Why on earth does the celebration of Christ's Resurrection mean I have to dress up in some hideous pastel Easter outfit? I'm sorry but I just refuse. I mean its frightening, really.
And I think I could go on with other topics - such as the requirement for an Easter dinner of foods I don't particularly enjoy - but if I wait to get time to get that all out this post will never happen. And its late enough already!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Going, Going, Gone

Today my sweet baby Reid wasn't feeling so well. Here are a few pictures of him at lunch ...


Going...Going. . .

GONE!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Spring Break

Whoever came up with the name "Spring Break" was obviously not thinking of mothers. This week has not been so much break-like as its been work-like. I think Spring Work might be a more appropriate title. Or "Spring What In the Heck Are We Going To Do Today?" might be another good one.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm really not complaining. Its not been a bad week (even though I'm happy to see it drawing to a close). We've done a lot of fun things and enjoyed our lazy mornings and time with friends. However I won't linger on Monday morning once Jake and Ainsley are safely in their teacher's jurisdiction.
And its definitely is starting to feel like Spring so that is making everyone happy (ok, I kind of laugh as I type that because right now my kids are absolutely having a hissy fit at each other screaming and crying so at this exact moment they are not happy . . . but I'm choosing to ignore it). But the trees are all starting to bud or bloom. We made a trip to Lowes this week to pick out some lovely flowers for our front walk and pots (flowers that hopefully will say "buy this house!" to potential buyers). And a robin built its nest on a fence post in our backyard and yesterday there was just one egg but today there were two! How exciting! I was a little stressed last night when the storms came that sweet mama bird was going to lose her nest but thankfully it was still there safe and sound this morning. Now if I can just keep my kids out of it . . . See, I thought it would be cool to show Jake what was happening right in our very own backyard - thinking he was mature enough to understand that he must not touch the nest, etc. Well, I think I was wrong. So now one of my main pastimes is shooing the kids away from the nest. I will not have eggacide happen on my watch! Anyway, right now we are reveling in Spring and even though I may have to cover my flowers for our projected rain/snow event on Monday - I WILL NOT LET IT GET ME DOWN - so there!
And finally I have to brag on my Jake. He is getting to be such a big boy. Today we were at Chick-Fil-A (shocking, I know) and when he asked to get ice cream I told him he'd have to go up and get it himself. Well, I didn't know if this would work or not but I handed him his kids meal toy to trade in and anxiously watched as he headed up to the counter. Well, my little boy so clearly told the man that he would like an ice cream, then handed him the toy, and then clarified that he would like it in a cone and not a cup. I was so proud of him I could have burst!
Well, I guess I should go dress the kids for bed and read some books before I chuck them in bed. Goodnight!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Ryan

Happy 33rd Birthday to my wonderful husband! Times like this when I get to sit back and reflect on my amazing guy and how thankful I am for him . . . I tend to get overwhelmed by the blessing he has been to me. I am a different person now than when we met - he's made me better in so many ways. And at the same time he has loved me for just who I am. He has never tired of caring for me and taking care of me and I have such incredible security in him, in our love, in our marriage and what we've built together.

When I met him he was a really cute, really, really amazing soccer player and the guy that everyone wanted to be around. Oh, and he also loved Jesus Christ and wasn't afraid to say it, show it, or tell others about it. How was I to know that one day he would earn his doctorate (something I'm immensely proud of), become a soldier (something else I'm immensely proud of) and turn out to be the most amazing father I could have imagined for my children. I guess I just saw in him all the wonderful qualities just waiting for the opportunity to come out.

I just always knew, right from the start, that we were supposed to be together. And here we are 14 years later and I love him more than ever. So I guess I was right about him (and vice versa).

So Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband. I love you and miss you and can't wait for you to come home safely.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Let in the Light

Let me just start off by saying that it is 4:22 p.m. and I have not talked to a single adult all day long. Not even one single word. And that is starting to wear on me. I know I could pick up the phone and call someone but I don't even have much to say and I'd just be using them for adult conversation . . . so there it is. Plus, I haven't exactly been bored. It just would've been nice to have a conversation is all I'm saying.

So, today's topic of conversation is window coverings. The minute I get up in the morning I begin the process of letting in the light from outside. Whenever its possible to open up those curtains I do (i.e. AFTER I've gotten my shower and gotten dressed, etc). I love natural light. I love to feel it warming my house. Even on overcast days it still brightens in its own muted way. So I DO NOT GET people that leave there blinds drawn all day. I mean, do they really think that at 11 a.m. someone is lurking outside just waiting for them to open their blinds so that they can peak in? Besides, its very difficult to see INTO someone's windows during the daytime if you are out in the light anyway. Not that I've tried, I'm just sayin'. Do some people really enjoy living in a cave? Do they just love the idea of their electricity meter running nonstop as they use artificial light to cast a glow on their sallow skin? I mean, really. I had a lady that lived next door to me for 3 years and I kid you not, I saw her blinds open ONE time. In THREE years. Is that not just weird. I mean, she also drove around the entire block to pick up her mail without having to get out of her car so I guess there is more there than just the blinds. Anyhow. I have other neighbors who seem entirely normal except for the fact that on a beautiful, sunny day - when it is 74 degrees and breezy - they have every shade closed. Me, I have every single window open and the most lovely movement in my home. Even if you are addicted to A/C (another gripe for another day) wouldn't you at least like to enjoy the sunshine?

Ok, that's it. Gripe done. Time to take Jake to soccer practice where hopefully the one mother that I seem to have anything in common with will be there so we can chat. C'mon Elizabeth. Don't let me down.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Refreshed

I am feeling most certainly refreshed. This weekend I had the opportunity to steal away with a few dear friends to spend time doing an activity I enjoy and get great satisfaction from. It was my bi-annual scrapbooking retreat to Paris Landing State Park and, as has become tradition, my dear Redonna was able to come up and go with me. It was such a great time of laughing and catching up with friends while also walking down memory lane as I preserved memories from Reid's birth, special summer trips and our wonderful vacation to Disney World. We stayed up late each evening because the scrapbooking room is truly a time warp location - you blink and its 2 a.m. - but I had the luxury of sleeping in both mornings! I can't say enough how much this weekend recharged my batteries and how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to go.

My incredible mother-in-law Belinda came down to take on my three kids for 48 hours of craziness. She drove down after she closed her store on Thursday afternoon and didn't arrive until well after midnight. But the next morning was up-and-at-'em with me and the kids (well, Red too). And what a CRAZY couple of days it was. Our house has been on the market for the past month and we've had a few showings but not too much activity. Well, wouldn't you know that I have two houseguests and am preparing for a weekend away and I get a call that someone wants to come see our house in 2 hours . . . and I get this call as Belinda and I are on our way to a photo session I'd had scheduled for months for Ainsley. So I call Redonna (there could not have been a better person here in this "crisis") and she immediately begins transforming my home based on her HGTV expertise. When I came back to pick her and Reid up this place looked like a model home. It was unbelievable. We all headed to Chick-fil-A to wait out the showing and returned with some exhausted kids! Redonna and I quickly packed up the rest of our things and took off.
Well, Saturday morning I awoke to three messages on my voicemail. One was that Belinda couldn't find Ainsley's shoes, the next was from my agent that the same people from Friday wanted to come look again at 11 and the third was from another agent that wanted to show it at 11:30. And I'm an hour away . . . ACK! I know my kids and that 16 hours is more than enough time to take my house from treasure to trash. I immediately call Belinda who has a mild heart attack at the news. But HALLELUJAH my dear friend Anna was here to watch Reid during Jake's soccer game so she was able to clean my house up. Two days in a row, two dear women step in to clean my house for a showing. Nuts. Just crazy.
After that I believe the weekend settled down. I know that Belinda could probably use a very long nap but I'm so grateful for the time I got away and for the dear women who made it all possible!
PS - looks like my house lost out at the very end. We were a final two contender but we may have been beat out by a last minute entry!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Good Friends

For the past day or so I've just been struck with the blessing of good friends. Ever since Ryan left on Thursday its just been one thing (or person) after another - doing something big or little - that has continually lifted my spirits and given me a little boost. I've been mulling over how to write this post without it seeming like an attempt to be boastful or showy because really I just want to rejoice in the blessings of the past few days. So, I hope that will come across in how I communicate what I'm feeling.

Where to start . . . on Thursday my friend Troy made a special effort to spend time with me that really was just the relaxation and break I needed at that moment. All day long I was sent words of encouragement and love via email and facebook from dear friends who wanted me to know they were thinking of me. The best had to have been from my friend Sarah who told me to let her know when I needed her to make a Manzanillo delivery to my house. She's a true friend to know how much I love my mexican food and how much I was worried about how to get a fix while Ryan is gone.

On Friday we were treated to a nice pizza dinner at the Remick home and Troy's sister Tarrah was there to constantly lend a hand and keep the pandemonium to a minimum. It was such a nice evening.

On Saturday in the midst of the craziness of soccer pictures my friends Amanda and Stephanie were there to help me herd my kids this way and that. After the pictures we all met at the park and just the few minutes of their company was so nice. Plus I didn't have to lug three kids into the disgusting bathroom when Ainsley decided she had to go potty. Not to mention Amanda's husband Bill who sweetly took Reid up on the playground for me a few times.

Yesterday at church I was surrounded by those looking to give me a hand or a hug. My very pregnant friend Kacy was asking ME if I needed anything on her way home after a long morning. Megan came back to sit with me to help me keep a handle on Jake and Ainsley during the service and Carol and Steve stayed up a few rows to watch her kids so she could help with mine.

And last night I was able to spend some great time having dinner with my friend Kristen. It was so nice to have her company but what was nicest of all was that when my children absolutely all fell to pieces at the exact same moment I didn't have to be embarrassed in front of her. Because she is that kind of friend.

So last night as I dragged myself into bed absolutely exhausted, my spirit was lifted by the blessing of many friends.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

What a Day!

Normally when Ryan is gone I HATE Saturdays. With all caps cuz that is how much I hate them. But today has been a really great day and I can't say enough how grateful I am for this blessing. The weather is absolutely beautiful outside - warm, breezy and the sun is peaking through just often enough to keep me happy! And beautiful weather means outside adventures which are just balm for the soul - for all the souls big and little that reside in the home. We played outside, rode bikes and went for an adventure down to the pond to throw rocks. Then we pretended we were Backyardigan spies and looked into the windows of a new construction house that was just finished.

This morning before all that fun began the kids made there own fun in the playroom. Their newest trick is to convert the train table into a slide. It is endless entertainment for everyone. I'm not sure how long the piece of plywood will hold up to their weight but it is SO worth a trip to home depot for a new piece if this one doesn't make it because they so enjoy their new slide. Here are a couple of pictures of this mornings fun:






Its a shame I didn't take these pics yesterday morning because everyone had on matching pj's and they looked so cute and coordinated. Ryan usually dresses them after bath and he does a wonderful job except that he has absolutely no regard for pj coordination. Its somewhat of an abomination.

So, that's kind of whats going on around here these days. As long as the weather is nice I feel like my outlook on this deployment will be sunny. But I know the weather won't hold so . . . I'll just do my best to make it warm and sunny inside. Lot's of great friends to walk alongside during this time and I'll never stop being grateful for the blessing of friendship!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Oh Ainsley!

I often used to tell people that even though my kids were crazy, rough and tumble, we'd never yet had a visit to the Emergency Center and that meant something. Well, I can now no longer say that . . . for as I always knew would be the case, Ainsley broke our streak.

On Wednesday night Ainsley and Jake were upstairs watching a movie while we were downstairs beginning our study with our Community Group. Every now and then we'd hear some playing or rough-housing but in general things were good. Then all of the sudden I hear a big crash and Ainsley start to wail. Well, Ainsley wailing is nothin' new to be honest with ya but I thought it was time for them to hit the sack anyway so I came up to check and then put them in bed. As I'm walking up the stairs I can hear Jake apologizing profusely and by the time I arrived Ainsley was sucking her thumb and no longer crying - she gotten engrossed in the movie again already. But as I walked up I see blood running down her face from a pretty big gash in her forehead. I picked her up and ran downstairs to Ryan where we applied some pressure until the bleeding slowed and then took a group consensus and decided she needed to be seen. So off Ainsley and I head to the urgent care centered followed by our good friend and pastor Richard (Ryan was going to stay home with Jake and Reid in case we were there a long time). When we got there the wait wasn't too bad and Ainsley was really in pretty good spirits but when we peeled off the bandage I'd stuck on we could see that this was truly a deep and pretty significant cut. The doctor concurred and told us it would need stitches (crap!!! I'd really been hoping they could just glue it) and they produced the papoose - which is the closest thing we have to a torture device in modern day society. If you know my Ainsley at all you know she did not like the papoose one bit even though we made sure to strap lovie into her little hand. The stitch procedure was long and horrific and I won't go into the details other than that it made more than one person in that room queasy and light headed. In the end it took one deep stitch and 5 on top to cover it all over. We rewarded her at the end with Dora stickers and a lollipop which Ainsley felt were a mere pittance for what she'd been through but accepted them anyway. I asked the staff if she was the loudest patient of the day and the just laughed. And then said, "oh yeah". Hmm, maybe she was the loudest patient so far this year. Its hard to imagine a more powerful set of lungs than Ainsley's and she screamed from start to finish with brief breaks when I could think of a song to sing. But as soon as I'd take a breath she'd scream again which was totally distracting to my train of thought.

The next morning when I had to change her bandage Jake took one look and took off for downstairs crying. Maybe the guilt was setting in? Turns out that as best we can tell they were running around and Jake pushed Ainsley and she fell and hit her head on the corner of the TV stand. At least that is the current story and, so far, Jake is stickin' to it.

Looks like the little princess is going to be ok although I might be tempted to finally cut some bangs on her while the scar heals. Meanwhile she can tell people she is related to Harry Potter.


Monday, February 23, 2009

It's Monday

Wow, what an original title to this blog post. Clearly this post is going to be inspired. I swear, if I spent half as much time actually blogging as I did stressing about what to blog, or the fact that I haven't blogged in forever or whatever . . . then this blog would be on a roll. But its not. I think the main problem is that I don't want this to be a blog where I share with you what errands I ran that day or the latest sick list around here. I want it to be creative and funny and cool and lately I am none of those things and so the blog has been dormant. Ooh, maybe it needs to go into hibernation. I wish I could go into hibernation lately. Especially with Ryan's departure drawing closer and closer - I just want to crawl in a hole or hide my head in the sand or something because I am absolutely dreading it.
This weekend was so nice but cold! We drove down to Nashville on Saturday and as we were leaving the mall I was thinking how nice it felt outside! I mentally started to make plans for what I'd do when we got home - vac the van out, sweep the garage - stuff that I hate to do when its freezing. Our car said it was 59 degrees as we were pulling out of the Cool Springs Galleria. Well, over the next 40 minutes I watched that temperature gage drop 20 degrees!!! By the time we pulled into our driveway it was 39 degrees with freezing rain that eventually turned into snow. Not cool. The only thing that was cool was how awesome my husband is. I have this total fascination with crazy weather so every time the gage would drop another degree I'd get all excited and he was totally making fun of me but laughing with me at the same time. We were laughing so hard I was hurting trying not to wake up Reid who was dozing peacefully in the back seat.
On the pregnancy front the nausea is much better which is good - although it also means my jeans won't fit for too many more weeks as I'm sure my ass expansion is imminent. I ate some dessert last night watching the Oscars with Ryan and it still didn't taste that great but I did it for the comraderie and the experience. Isn't that stupid? I'm just tired of being left out of the good dessertness. I just hope this and my disdain for coffee will pass. I shudder to think of life without a desire for dessert or coffee. Some may see it as a blessing but I see it as a life less worth living.
Well, gotta go fetch Reid from his nap. I'm dragging him to Wal-mart for the umpteenth time as my latest craving is commanding me to make more Chicken tortilla soup . . .

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Knocked Up

So the word on the street is that I am, yet again, knocked up. Well, the word is true and we are thrilled. I almost said we "couldn't be happier" but that would be a lie because I feel pretty crappy and therefore without the crappy I would be happier. But I guess if I was just talking about adding another kiddo then I could use the term "couldn't be happier" and I wouldn't be lying. Hmmm, what to do, what to do.
I think what I should do is move onto another paragraph before you get any more confused by my rambling. I have been incredibly blessed through my 3 previous pregnancies that they were basically easy with few problems. I'd feel a little queasy here or there and certainly tired but never something that really slowed me down. Well this little egg/sperm combo has knocked me out like a kung fu fighter and I still don't know which way is up. Pretty much every single food disgusts me. I cry when I have to come up with meals for my family because it involves thinking about food. I could fall asleep at the drop of a hat. And I'm a smidge more emotional than usual. On the positive side my complexion hasn't completely exploded (yet) and I've gained nary a pound. Usually I bulk up a hefty 10 pounds or so in the first trimester because all I can think about is cheese and new and exciting ways to consume it. This time Ryan has become my personal shopper - making countless trips to the store to get whatever I think I can stomach. One weekend it was Won-Ton soup. The next it was french bread with mozzarella cheese. Another time it was a Chick-Fil-A chicken biscuit. That guy is a trooper.
Well, I feel myself dozing off so I guess that is a good sign its time to wrap up this post.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A little rant a little rave

When I say rave I mean it in the positive sense so I'll start there. I just got an email that THESE are finally on the way to my home.


Well, obviously not all of them but the pewter pair in the bottom left. I ordered them forever ago and they were backordered but its ok because I got them for a STEAL and I've been in love with them my whole life. Ok, not really. But as long as a I've known a certain friend (ahem) who turned me on to Garnet Hill and many other wonderful delights that grace my mailbox. Who knew how wonderful catalogs could be? And, of course, the thrill when Mr. UPS man delivers them. Gives me shivers.

A little rant because our computers are all dying on us and its ugly. I hate when technology goes bad. Its just SO much work to change over to new computers and while some find that kind of work rewarding I do NOT. I find it annoying and consuming of time I'd rather spend doing something else. I am so over PC's. Our next computer is going to be a Mac and I'm excited to give it a try. I'm praying it doesn't let me down.

Little more rave. Ainsley had her parent teacher conference today and she is pretty much the only kid who can do all her colors and shapes. I am so proud. After constantly being the parent of the kids who are behind its so nice to finally have a great report. Its mostly due to speech therapy that she is such a superstar on it so I can't take credit but still . . . the kid knew "rectangle" when she was 2 and darnit that makes me proud. I won't go into some of the other parts of the conference, ahem. Let's just say NONE of it was a surprise :) I was telling Ryan about it and he said he was pretty sure she was the only kid in the 2's class who could completely decleet (its a soccer term, think about it and you'll get it) someone twice her size with her two armed shove. I haven't had Jake's conference yet but his teacher told me I was going to be "very happy" the day she did his testing!

Little more rant. The Army opens early, right? I mean - formation is at o' dark hundred and the day just runs on from there. It opens early and then it ends a little early (usually). So WHY do the clinics at the hospital there not start answering their phones until 8:30? I don't get it! Its called Blanchfield ARMY Community Hospital, right? I don't care when they go home I just want their butts in gear when I want them in gear. But don't take this rant as a rant against Army medicine in general because I could go on a rant against THAT on its own. I'm proud that my husband is part of the Army medical community. I'm proud of my many friends who are also medical providers in the Army. They are wonderful providers and wonderful people and my negative experiences are so few and far between I don't even remember them because there are SO many good experiences. So when people just dismiss Army medicine on principle or make a snooty comment about how they "go off-post" with disdain in their voice it makes my blood boil.

OK, I guess I need to end with another rave so I don't seem like a bitter, ugly woman. Hmmm, thinking, thinking. I just ate buttered noodles and they were good. That was weak. Oh well.

Monday, February 2, 2009

My sweet Baby Reid

Happy Birthday To You

Happy Birthday To You

Happy Birthday Dear Sweet Baby Reid

Happy Birthday To You



This post might be a little late but its not a reflection of how excited I am for this opportunity to brag on my sweet baby boy on his birthday. Its a reflection of our rapidly deteriorating computer situation.


Last Thursday my beautiful boy turned one. What a joyous day to celebrate a year of knowing and loving this little boy. And to remember the beauty of a year ago where I had the most beautiful birth experience surrounded by my newly returned husband, my mom, and a dear friend who came to take care of me. It was truly one of the most magical days of my life. And this boy has brought so much magic into our home so its only fitting.


Here are some of my favorite things about my Reid:

- His smile. Its always ready and it will just warm you from head to toe.

- His voice. He is my little talker and although most of what he says is just babbling he says it with such feeling . . . he's going to have lots to say one day.

- His hugs. My boy gives real, honest to goodness hugs. He throws one arm around your neck and lays his head down on your shoulder and just loves.

- The way he lights up when he sees me. The best feeling in the world.

- The way Jake and Ainsley make him laugh. He just rolls with laughter when they are doing something silly.

- The way he is so busy. He's always got a mission.

- He is so ticklish. If you tickle under his arms he absolutely squeals with laughter until he is out of breath.

- He smells SO sweet. I could sniff his pumpkin head right off.

- The way he just relaxes into me completely when I nursed (or now bottle feed) him. Its wonderful.

- The way he loves to smile and flirt with other people and then burrow into my shoulder and hide when they smile back.

- How he loves to eat cheerios and popcorn out of Ryan's mouth (well, lips I guess). Its hilarious. The more he wants it the more aggressively comes in for the kill.

- I love that everyone that sees his face can't help but smile.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

More Randomness

As promised here are some more random things you should know to get the Full Lacey:



- I think mayo is the perfect condiment. I really can't think of many condiment worthy foods that don't benefit from mayo. French fries, grilled cheese, hamburgers . . . I could come up with more but I don't want to gross anyone out. But just to prove my point - I think the Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich is quite possibly the most perfect sandwich every created but if I can't find mayo to go on it I might just not even bother.

- Apparently I don't know how to spell mayo. I feel like I'm close but I don't have the self-confidence to do it wrong. I know what your thinking - I'm obviously typing this on a computer so for Pete's sake Google! Wickipedia! Ask Jeeves! Nah, I'm too lazy. I'd rather whine that I'm not sure if it has two S's or two N's.

- If we leave for church on Sunday and we are all in either the brown or black family than I truly feel I've accomplished something good. If, however, Ryan and I are in the black family of clothes and then Jake comes running in with brown shoes and belt I just want to cry. If my kids are all black or brown that at least makes me feel better even if it doesn't coordinate with Ryan and me.

*The last thought was jogged by Troy's facebook note
** On the last thought I mean not that we are all wearing black or brown but that our accessories or scheme is in the same genre.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Looooooooooosssssssssseeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrr

That would be me. I'm a big old loser lately as far as my world of blogging goes. Its not that I don't want to blog, its just that this year is wearing me out so far and I haven't had the energy to keep all my balls in the air. If it comes down to feeding my kids or blogging, well its a tough decision but they tend to win out. And its also not that there aren't lots of things to blog about because there are plenty. I feel like so much has changed lately both with relationships and just in my own world. But I don't feel it would be fair to blog about the former (which is kinda a reason I wish sometimes I had a secret blog . . . anywho) and don't know if I'm at liberty to blog about the latter. Cryptic, huh? That's how I roll.
I did this thing on Facebook the other day where I wrote 16 Random Things about myself. But I keep coming up with more stuff. How incredibly narcissistic would it be if I just kept writing new Facebook notes about myself. Like, "oh wait, don't you want to know even more about me?" I mean, isn't that what my blog is for. So I thought I'd add some more random things here and now I can't think of any. Typical.
Did I mention that my big boys are off on an adventure to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown NY this weekend. I'm incredibly jealous because they are with spittin' distance of my most dear roomate EVER and I bet they won't spit on her at all. Ok, now THAT was funny. I'm sitting here laughing at myself. Anyway, its so weird (read: EASY) to only have two kids. I do NOT know what you moms of two are whining about all the time. Ok, I'm just kidding. If someone would have said that to me pre-Reid I would have hurt them. I think its just all in what you are used to. Only getting two kids buckled in the car - a cinch! Doing the preschool dropoff/pickup thing with two - a breeze! Feeding two kids lunch - a walk in the park! Naptime - a dream come true! Now, I'm sure by the end of the weekend I'll be dying for my Jake to get home but right now, I kinda am enjoying life without being asked every 5 minutes if I can turn on the computer for him.
Don't stay away too long. My new goal in life is to come up with more random thoughts and post them here. I know, my goals are lofty. Try to keep up.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The New Style

Four and Three And Two and One (whatup) and when I'm on the mic, this sucker's done.

OK, sorry, I couldn't resist. If you have no idea what I just wrote I forgive you. If you are however married to me or your name is Christin you know exactly what that is and you love it. And I love you.

On to the real point of this post (is there one?) oh yes. So I have a new style now in the mornings. It starts with my alarm on my watch going off at 5:20 a.m. I've learned that the best thing is to put it a few feet away on my chest of drawers so I have to get up to turn it off. Or I could let it beep but Ryan might kill me. So I get up and turn it off. Plod into the bathroom and then into the kitchen where my coffee is brewed and waiting for me. And then the day begins. And you know what . . . its great. Today was only my third day of getting up early and I'm praying I maintain the motivation to keep with this schedule because, for me, it is revolutionary. I turn my living room lights on brightly overhead to give a further jolt to my sense and then I snuggle into my favorite chair for time of prayer and bible reading. Something that I've always struggled to make a priority! Even though I know I desperately needed it I was determined to find some way other than first thing in the morning. And, you know what, for me it just did not work. Ever.

After that precious time I move on to my next task which on a non school day is usually a chore like folding the laundry. On a school day I use that time to get showered and dressed before the kids wake up. Then I have the time to greet my children, make my husbands lunch, make everyone breakfast and, in general, start out our day on the right foot.

What initially seemed like an enormous sacrifice to me has turned out to be the biggest blessing I could have asked for. I'm excited about this new style of mine and thankful for the wise insight that brought me here. NEver in a million years would I have come up with this idea on my own - but through the Girl Talk blog (girltalk.blog.com) I found their awesome idea of the 5 am club and decided to create my own 5:20 club. While I'm still the only member I feel encouraged to know that these women are out there doing the same thing and seeing the fruits and rewards.

In closing I feel the need to make one thing really clear . . . I am not at all trying to toot my horn. I know this style is from the Lord and its only through Him that I've even managed to get up these past three days at all! I'm in awe of His provision and goodness to me in my feeble attempts at obedience. So please, don't for one second think anything more of me than that I am His servant and He is blessing me abundantly. The reason I do share is because I'm excited and I want to share the good works He is doing. And to encourage all my fellow Sisters out there.

B-E-A-S-T-I-E (whatup Mike D) oh yeah that's me.