May 30, 2009

My last week of packing lunches!!!

Another great weekend.

We were blessed with fantastic weather and I even got to enjoy a quiet moment with my husband on the back deck after the girls went to bed (we were convinced that if we lit enough candles, the mosquitoes would stay away). And for all of you that said my husband looked like Jordan Knight from the Back Street Boys on my Anniversary post, I'll just say he thinks he has the "right stuff"...hee hee.



I have to say it one more time, Emma finished up her spring soccer season with a GOAL on Saturday. She hasn't loved soccer this year, so we're really proud of her.



I even got to sneak away to the Allegan Antique Fair on Sunday with my mom and sister. Talk about amazing girl bonding time!!



Drum roll please...this my last week of packing lunches and getting everyone out of the house on time!! School is done on Friday for Chris and Emma. Although my work schedule is year-round, I'm looking forward to only being responsible for me (AND ONLY ME) in the morning. No more stressing about homework and missing shoes. I can't wait to throw their lunch boxes and knapsacks in the cupboard until school resumes. We've decided to keep Josie in daycare on Tuesday's during the summer to maintain a routine and to help with the transition back in the fall. This will also give Chris and Emma one day a week to do things that aren't necessarily toddler-friendly. We found out that the ice cream truck visits her daycare on Tuesday's and decided that would be the PERFECT day to attend. Don't you agree?



Have a great week, everyone.

Way to go, Emma!

Today was Emma's very last day of soccer and she scored a GOAL in the third period!!!



Their team has worked so hard this year.



Emma's coach was the most dedicated and patient coach she's ever had.



What a great season of growth and self-confidence.



We're so proud of you, Emma!!

May 27, 2009

Happy 17 years!!

On May 29th, seventeen years ago, my husband and I were married. We met second semester of our sophomore year in college while ice skating with mutual friends. How's that for a clean "how-did-you-meet" story? He proposed right before we finished college and then we had a two year engagement while I went off to the University of Michigan to complete graduate school. It felt like the longest engagement EVER.

This is my absolute favorite picture from our special day. It was after the wedding ceremony was all over with and we were riding from the church to the reception. I think our relaxed smiles say it all. Why do wedding ceremonies and blending two families have to be so stressful? I'm glad that's all a far distant memory.



It’s funny how much Chris and I have changed and grown over the years... and yet how much we are still just the same. I especially love how we’ve created our own new family traditions. I wonder what the next seventeen years will bring…

Happy Anniversary, sweetie! Now, let's get working on finding a consistent babysitter and having real dates again!!

May 25, 2009

Golf Tees, Styrofoam & Age Differences

I'm home today recovering. Yesterday I had the stomach flu so bad, that I thought being dead would be better than what I was going through. I actually slept on the bathroom floor at one point because it was easier than going back and forth to our bed. Chris, I'm sorry I didn't give you more sympathy when you were sick with the stomach flu at Thanksgiving. Whew. Let's just pray that my girls avoid this nasty bug. Aside from a splitting headache from all that throwing up, I'm doing much better today.

Today's blog post title is rather unusual and here's the explanation...



Josie’s daycare has been using this activity with their little ones and I think it’s brilliant. We recently purchased a new refrigerator and saved some of the Styrofoam packing. Using a bunch of Chris’s golf tees and her wooden toy mallet from her construction toys, Josie has been enjoying pounding golf tees into the Styrofoam.



Another variation of this same activity, you could use toothpicks instead of golf tees to make designs on the Styrofoam. I've saved back some thinner Styrofoam that came packed with our vegetables and I'm going to try this in the near future with Josie. We're still working with her fine motor skills on her right hand since her surgery and I think this might be another fun activity.

I've been thinking quite a bit lately about the age difference between Josie and Emma (8 years) and wishing it wasn't so far apart. Josie doesn't seem to mind and wants to do everything her big sister does, but I wish the girls were closer in age. Emma (God bless her) attempts to play with her sister for awhile, but their interests are so very different.



I commented to Chris a few weeks back how I wish we wouldn't have spent so much time working with fertility specialists and had just started the adoption journey sooner. He quickly reminded me that if we had started it sooner, Josie wouldn't be our daughter. Good point. God's timing does work in mysterious ways. Shanna - this is also a compliment to you too! Love ya, girlfriend!!

Memorial Weekend Collage



It was a full weekend and it was everything I needed it to be (click collage to enlarge images).



I played with the girls and even got to dress up and attend a wedding with Chris (thanks for driving across the state to babysit, Nana). Emma had her best friend spend the night Saturday and Sunday and Josie got unlimited outdoor time in the sandbox and swing. Even Chris got his plant fix and came home with a van full of trees, shrubs, and flowers from his favorite nursery in West Olive. I even survived my 41st birthday and so I guess I'm ready to return back to work. Only 2 more weeks left of packing lunches and scrambling to get everyone out of the house on time in the morning...I'm so ready for Mr. Mom to take over breakfast, lunch, and laundry duty!!

May 24, 2009

Happy Birthday to ME!



I'm in denial that I'm 41 today!!

video

May 21, 2009

Reflections

Last year at this time, I was home on family medical leave taking care of Josie. It was the first time in nearly nine years that I had been a stay-at-home Mom and it was a nice change of pace.



Although I don't miss the crazy night terrors that Josie was going though last May, I'd like to go back to my stay-at-home status. I'm burned out from work. My job has actually started creeping into my dreams at night and that really annoys me. Although my position at GVSU is year-round, Chris is nearly done with his K-12 school schedule and I can't wait. He's an awesome Mr. Mom.



I'm so ready for this long Memorial weekend. I'm going to soak up every opportunity to be with family.



I hope your holiday weekend is everything you need it to be. Rest. Relax. Remember to embrace your loved ones.



May 19, 2009

Is it only in my house???

I feel like I pick up 100 of these hair accessories every day. I find them everywhere. In the car. The bathtub. The laundry. The garage. The kitchen counters. My coat pockets (and I don't even use them). Someday if we ever move, our next homeowner is going to find these hair accessories in places I've never ever dreamed of. I try to keep them in containers, but it's hopeless. With summer fast approaching and the above-ground pool getting set up in a few weeks, these things are going to be multiplying like rabbits!!



On a completely different subject...



Josie is so eager to try everything that her big sister does.



Most of Emma's activities don't always lend themselves to being toddler friendly, but art work and reading books are usually things that both can enjoy, despite the eight years age difference.



I've got a few fun projects planned this long Memorial weekend with the girls. I can't wait.



Hopefully, the weather cooperates and we can do some of them outdoors! I'm so ready for a long weekend away from work. It doesn't hurt that my birthday is on Sunday either...hee hee!!

I still can't believe it's only Wednesday. Come on WEEKEND! I'm ready!!!

May 17, 2009

Updates



My father is an amazing man. I don't even have enough words to describe how much he is loved and respected among our family, friends, his church and within the business community. Without going into details, we had a health scare this past week and now I'm realizing just how much we need him around for a very long time. I've always joked that he's going to move Emma into college someday and now I really mean it.



I love you, Dad!!

Onto other big events...

We did a whirlwind visit to the east side of the state to attend a first communion party for our nephew and to celebrate Emma's birthday.

Our nephew's communion party was held at an ice arena and Aunt Shelly took Josie down to the ice to get a closer look. As much as you see all the girly quiet stuff that I do with Josie, she is child that is constant motion and needs physical stimulation. Josie's now insisting that she wants to play hockey and I believe her!!



In the little more than 24 hours that we were in Detroit, the girls had some great quality time with their Nana, Papa, Aunts, Uncles and cousins.





Emma received an American girl doll theater from Nana and Papa for her birthday. Within thirty minutes of arriving home, Chris had it sent up. It's beautiful and very very large!!



On our way home from Detroit, we stopped off at an outlet mall. My birthday is next Sunday (it's exactly one week apart from Emma's) and I did a little bit of birthday shopping for myself. Nothing like picking out exactly what you want...hee hee. I found some great summer outfits for the girls too. The best part of the shopping experience for Josie was the mini carousel.



Happy 11th Birthday, Emma! I love you very much!!



May 13, 2009

Holding on...

Without going into any details, over the last few days we've had a health scare in my family. We're ok. But it has certainly put life into perspective. Be sure to hug your parents, grandparents and family members a little tighter this weekend.



May 12, 2009

My husband, the Gardener....


Note: These pictures taken of our yard were from last summer.

As the weather finally turns warmer in West Michigan and things are starting to green up, my husband is in full gardening mode. My husband (the school social worker) is a gardener at heart. While he was in high school and college, he worked for Frank’s Nursery & Crafts. In fact, we recently found out his gardening obsession comes naturally - his great grandfather was gardener for an English family. As his school year winds down, he regularly comes home from his elementary school plotting BIG summer gardening/landscaping plans. He's the type that gets absolutely giddy about buying discounted plants (the kind that look like death warmed over) so that he can nurture them back to life.



As for my interest in yard work, I love mowing the lawn. I use a push mower and plug in my mp3 player and I’m transported away from needy children for roughly 45 minutes. Aside from using the big noisy lawn mower, I have no interest in gardening. I don't even like hauling hoses and watering plants. I could blame it on my full-time year-round work schedule, but I just don't have the same passion.



Thank you for making our yard so beautiful, Chris.



I love our shade garden and sipping drinks on our stone patio and I totally appreciate all the cut flowers you bring into the house. Please forgive me when my eyes glaze over, and all I hear is "blah blah then this happens. Blah blah we should be doing this on the blah blah blah..." and so forth. I do appreciate all you do outside it's just not as exciting as my craft projects...hee hee.



May 10, 2009

My... how we've changed!!

You'll notice that I've updated my profile picture on my blog. The picture I had been using for my profile was taken in China on one of their famous red couches in the White Swan Hotel. I can't get over how much Emma and Josie have grown in one year. I have such beautiful girls! Josie isn't my baby anymore and Emma is looking more and more grown up. Check out the changes below:

Easter Sunday in Guangzhou 2008



Mother's Day 2009



I had a lovely Mother's Day. I was treated to a delicious cup of coffee in bed complete with whipped cream and a pile of gifts.



We spent the afternoon with my extended family dining at a favorite restaurant and then going back to my parents to celebrate Emma's 11th birthday.

I've always raved about my mother's artist talents. As much as I'm creative and crafty, I didn't any inherit any of her sewing skills what-so-ever. She made the most amazing journal for Emma.



Just look at the detail work. It's so beautiful.



She also made my sister and I hand-strung pearl necklaces for Mother's day. We're so spoiled.



Thanks, Mom. You're the best!!



Happy Mother's Day. Hope all of the mothers, daughters, and mothers-to-be had a peaceful, loving day.