Tuesday, August 31, 2010

South Dakota Photo Album

I received an email from Shutterfly that we could receive a free (plus shipping and handling) photo book if ordered by September 1. So, I got on the computer and got to work. Within hours, my album was complete and ordered for an entire $8.55! Yeah!

Here is the album from our South Dakota Vacation 2010...enjoy!
Austin Vacation to South Dakota 2010

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

11th Wedding Anniversary

This weekend, Chris and I enjoyed celebrating our 11th wedding anniversary. On Friday evening, we drove the kids to my parent's farm to stay 2 nights! When my mom asked, I hesitated. Watching our kids for 1 night overnight is a big gift, but 2 nights?! But, after some encouragement from Chris, I said, "Okay."
Friday night we just ate a peaceful dinner at Panera in Papillion. We ate outside near by the waterfall. It was quiet and peaceful and without interruption.
Saturday morning, I got up as usual and went on a jog. I arrived home to find Chris gone on his run, so I chased him down on my bike and biked with him as he ran.
After our run, we quickly got cleaned up and headed out for our day out alone without our kids. What to do, what to do?! We first went to 2 farmer's markets in search of the perfect zucchini or 2. We found 3, 2 tiny ones on 120th and I, and one huge one at the Village Pointe farmers market. We briefly stopped into Old Navy at VP before traveling to Nebraska Furniture Mart to look at new cameras. All of the pictures I have been sharing have been courtesy of a borrowed camera from my parents (thanks Mom and Dad!). It was nice to see, touch and feel the different cameras to find what we liked. (In the end, however, Nebraska Furniture Mart was not the best priced, so we ordered it online!). We browsed through the bookstore before traveling to Dundee for lunch.
Chris wanted to take me to Pitch in Dundee for lunch for quite some time. But, since we never get out of the house without kids, we never got there. We arrived in Dundee to find it was Dundee Days! It was crazy! But, after finding a parking place and walking through the crowds of people, the restaurant was empty. Sweet! We each ordered a coal fired pizza, and the pizza were amazing! The restaurant is really cool looking and the food is something different. It was a unique place to eat, and we would recommend it.
We then traveled home and chilled awhile outside. Chris and I just enjoyed the peace and quiet. We then jumped on the motorcycle and took a ride to Chris' parents' house to play on their new ping pong table. How fun! It had been years since we played. I had not been on the motorcycle in years, either, and had completely forgot how to ride it with Chris. By the end of our weekend, I am an old pro and love it.
We ended the evening chilling at home, watching the Thunderbirds perform in the airshow and over our home, before retiring to watching movies. Ahh..the quiet house.
This morning Chris and I ran together. I then made Chris his favorite zucchini bread, and we watched another movie while the bread baked. MMmmm!
It was a amazingly fun weekend. I am so glad we took my parents up on the 2 nights! We have NEVER done that, and it was so nice! I can hardly wait until the next anniversary (if they will ever do this again). And, we are so lucky that we got married twice! :)
Happy 11th Anniversary to my wonderful husband, Chris! And many more...
Thunderbird ShowSomething in Asher's Shirt at G and GsChillin' at Grandma and GrandpasHome 5 minutes...and already into troubleOff they go!

The above "Cars" are called, "Plasma Cars." They were such a huge family hit...that we had to have 3! We would totally recommend these fun toys!

Friday, August 27, 2010

August Day at the Forest

Running through the forestMore RunningAcorn AcresAcorn AcresAcorn AcresMaking Music in Acorn Acres

What a beautiful day for a stroll through the Fontenelle Forest. Okay...it would have been nicer if the bugs would have left us alone...but it was still pretty!

We had a play date this morning at the forest with our friends Ms. Kim and Keegan, who is 3 (Alivia's friend Nyah's Mommy and brother). The kids had a lot of energy as they RAN through the boardwalk, barely stopping to look at the display of bugs. We then went to acorn acres where I thought we would spend the morning. Seriously, the mosquitoes were everywhere and hungry! The bug spray did a minimal job of keeping them off. I have not noticed that Addi and Asher got bit, but Ms. Kim and Keegan got a couple bites. :(

We then went to the cool indoors to play downstairs before calling it a morning. What a fun way to spend a cooler, but beautiful morning with the kids and friends!

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Addison's 1st Day of Sacred Heart Preschool

Addi - 1st day of preschool1st Day of PreschoolSacred HeartA place to hang her bag...she's a flower!This is how I left her...Pick up time
It's my first day of preschool,
a day that's bittersweet,
So just in case you need 'em,
I've packed a little treat.
There are lots of hugs and kisses,
(a little tissue too),
so see you in a little while,
and remember I love you!

(The above poem was handed to me by Addison's teacher with a baggie of hugs and kisses...how cute! I, of course, cried).

Today was Addison's first day at the Sacred Heart Preschool (the preschool associated with Saint Columbkille Catholic Church in Papillion). Addison was really excited about going. She was looking forward to meeting new friends and learning new things.

We arrived about 8:10, just in time (I drop Alivia off at 8 so that I can get Addi to school within the time frame. The teacher is aware that she may be late, though). Addison hung up her backpack and went into the classroom with the other kids. Addi beelined over to the babies and began playing. She could care less that I was leaving. I gave her a big squeeze and kiss, and Asher and I were on our way. I never looked back at her so I did not cry! But Addison never shed a tear.

Asher and I kept ourselves busy this morning, but we could not wait to pick up Addison. We arrived in time to see her running and playing with her friends on the playset. Addison said she had a fun day and played with Jason, a little boy in her class. She can't wait to go back on Tuesday.

As a special treat, we ended her morning by having a picnic lunch at a park near Daddy's work while watching fighter jets (The Thunderbirds) fly over practicing for the airshow! How cool is that! Now, we have Asher saying, "I want to be a fighter pilot!"

Addison...the preschooler. Kinda has a big girl sound to it, but I will get used to it.
Poem, hugs n kisses and a tissue from the teacher...1st Art1st ArtPicnic with DaddyPark by Daddy's WorkWeeee...Airshow preview...so cool!

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Keeping a Clean House

First off, I am not saying my house is clean. Let's just put that out there. But...it looks it.

Since I am a stay at home mommy (for the most part), I believe one of the many pieces of my job description is to keep a clean house. I also believe that when Chris comes home from work, he should not have to walk through a mess or nearly break his neck on a hot wheel in order to step inside.

So, what is my secret to our "clean" looking home.

First, the upstairs always is all cleaned up prior to breakfast. It is a habit. The kids know that we get up, get dressed, make the beds and clean up our rooms, before walking downstairs to eat breakfast. I collect any laundry needed to be done and take it downstairs when we go. So, in the event of a guest popping through the door, our upstairs is ready to go.

I keep the kitchen clean by cleaning as I go. If I bake or make dinner - it is cleaned to its original state after dinner. I sweep the floor at least every night, and I have a smaller broom that I use to clean up after breakfast and lunch. I hand wash the floor as needed really. I do not have a set day or number of days that I clean it.

Bathrooms: I clean all the bathrooms every Wednesday and I clean the kids bath, master bath and the main bath one other time in the middle when needed. After we use the bathrooms in the morning (the kids and the master), I wipe them down and put out fresh towels. I hate a wet towel, and I just think towels pass germs around.

Vacuum: I vacuum as needed without a set day. Since we do not wear our shoes in the house, it is much easier to get away with less vacuuming. I probably vacuum the main level and basement twice a week and the upstairs once a week, more if necessary but not usually. This is why I want a new lighter weight vacuum. By the time I vacuum 2 floors dragging my 100 lb vacuum up an down the steps, my back is tingling. I hate it...but it is a Mommy duty (what isn't anyway? Oh yeah...I don't grill and I have no intention of learning either).

Dust: I dust during nap times. It is a quiet yet peaceful activity. I have to dust 2x a week at least because of all the construction around here.

Laundry: I already mentioned that I typically do one load of laundry a day. It is easier for me to do it this way than all at once because I find it quite overwhelming to put all that laundry away for 5 people, plus towels. I typically just see who has a full basket and do their laundry. I try to wash the sheets every other week. I used to do it weekly, but do you know how long it takes to do 4 bed fulls of linens? Let's just say...a long time. Now, I just pick a week and do a bed a day. Makes the horrible task of making the beds easier.

Toys: I have a strict rule, what you get out must go back. I don't care if the basement looks like a Toys R Us explosion. When the kids are done playing, they need to put their toys away. I limit most toys to the basement, with a handful of toys in our ottoman on the main level. The kids do have a few our their prized possessions in their rooms (Asher has cars that he rolls up and down the hallway, Addison has a baby crib or 2 with maybe 4 babies and some stuffed toys, and Alivia has just a couple babies and many trinkets). I limit toys in the room for a few reasons. 1. The kids go to their rooms for time outs. If their room looks like Disneyland, what kind of punishment is that? 2. Many toys in their rooms brings on clutter. Their rooms are to sleep in, not stay up until midnight playing with cars. I am okay with many books in their rooms, but the toys are all put away in their closets before bedtime. Period.

I keep our home clean because it is not only my job, but we need to take pride in our home. Additionally, we need to stay organized to function. I do not like spending lots of time and energy looking for stuff. That is so annoying. But, ask Chris, I find myself looking for our cell phone ALL THE TIME!

The kids are already, for the most part, quite helpful around the house. Asher is quite good about helping me pick up. Addison...not so much. Her room is generally picked up in the mornings though. Alivia is a pack rat, but she keeps her trinkets organized the Alivia way. I am getting used to that. :)

To a cleaning person, my house is probably not the cleanest house they have seen. I had a friend recently step into our shower to look for water spots on the faucet and shower head. Seriously! I told her to go home and have a 3rd kid and she would care less if there was a spot on the faucet. Come on! Oh...and she did not see any spots. :) Ha!

So, gotta run. Time to clean!

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Preschool Parent's Night

The days are narrowing down until Addison begins her last year of preschool. Tonight was the parent's information night at Sacred Heart Preschool. I wanted Chris to go with me, but at the last minute, it became not possible. So, I went alone to yet another event where "both parents are encouraged to attend."

I have decided that I am not sure preschool is necessary. Yes, I know they need socialization and all. But, Alivia went to preschool and she still gets upset when she goes to school. So, I am not sure it helped. I am buying things to work with the kids at home, too, since Addison will only go twice a week. Addison is growing excited about going, so we have to be excited for her. But, I really just need to hold her hand a bit longer.

So, tomorrow, Chris is getting out of work to go to the Open House at Addison's preschool so Chris can see the school, help me show Addison around, and hold my hand while I hold Addison's hand...even if it is for just a bit longer.

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Alivia's 1st week of 1st Grade

Alivia is nearly one week into her 1st grade year. The first day, being half day, went well. Alivia went right into school without a tear. Then, gave day 2 and 3, Wednesday and Thursday. Wednesday, we walked to school and arrived just missing the 1st grade class walking into school. So, I walked Alivia into her room. When we arrived at her class, he said she was going to miss us and began to cry. It was heartbreaking. I had to walk away with her crying because I knew it was just going to get worse the longer I stood there. The teacher walked her into her class, and she reported Alivia was doing better within a half hour.

On Thursday, I had decided that I would not walk Alivia into class. We arrived in time for the 1st grade class to walk in, but Alivia still would not go. I even had her girlfriend wait with us, but Alivia still would not go inside. So, the school counselor came out and walked Alivia in (She is awesome!). By Friday, Alivia walked in all by herself without a tear. I, however, drove to class because it was raining. I am not sure what helped, if anything, but I am hoping it is a new trend.

Alivia reports meeting new friends and still playing with many of her previous friends. Alivia continues to be more shy than outgoing, but I believe she is getting better. She reports after school what they do each day...work on sight words, read to the teacher, beginning math, etc. In the 1st grade, we have not gotten a news letter yet, but I am hoping it will come. In Kindergarten we received a newsletter each week of what they were working on in class and what we should be working on at home. It helped. This week, Alivia has been so tired after school that it is difficult to even get her to read to us at night. I believe it is time for some new Junie B Jones Books!

We are on our way...bumpy or not...here comes Alivia, the 1st Grader!

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Play Date with the Boys

This morning we hosted a play date...with 3 boys! The kids' cousins, Henry (3 yo) and Ben (1yo), along with the kids' friend Keegan (3 yo) who lives up the street. Addison  and Asher really play well with Henry and Keegan...so I thought it would be fun to have them all play together.

Keegan came after the school drop off with his Mommy. His sister, Nyah, is in Alivia's 1st grade class, and we have had play dates with them since last spring. Henry and Ben arrived shortly after 9. Henry and Ben were shy at first, but Henry warmed up. Ben...well, not so much. Baby Ben I don't think is used to much commotion, and he seemed a bit overwhelmed. He also did not like it when I had to help someone in the potty or step away to get snacks or help someone play. He liked to be right by me. Addison, Henry and Keegan played well together. Asher, on the other hand, could not find his place. If he wanted me, I seemed to be busy with Ben or something else. Asher became quite naughty and not himself. Humm...I got the impression that he did not like a baby in his way! But, on the nice side, Asher did try to soothe Baby Ben when Ben became upset because I was helping Asher in the potty. It was a cute moment.

It was a busy, but fun morning. I learned some things...keep play dates calmer. Today was far from calm. I felt like I completed a 1/2 marathon and I had help! But, we will do it again...very soon. We always do!

Here is a picture of the 3 cousins (Keegan had gone home and Ben wanted nothing to do with a picture).

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Visiting Great Grandma Marci

Today Addison, Asher and I went to visit Great Grandma Marci. Great Grandma (my Grandma) is 98 years old. She got up early this morning to get ready for our arrival at 10:30. That seemed like a good time for us. Alivia was so disappointed that she was unable to go with us!

We arrived on time and Grandma allowed us in her locked building. She lives in a retirement apartment. This is not assisted living nor is it a nursing home. It is an apartment that she fully owns (they have to buy it like a condo of sorts) and has to care for herself on her on. There is no question about it, she should not be living alone. But, Grandma likes living in her apartment and is refusing to give it up...for the moment.

We tried to catch up on things, but the pitch of my voice is one that she just can not hear. I really wanted to get out paper and write things down so we could "talk," but I held back. She was able to share pictures from 1964, recent pictures taken from her previous lake home at the Lake Okaboji, and tell me about her day to day activities. She is moving much slower than I have seen her move. It is so very sad. She is my only Grandma and Grandparent left living, and the thought of losing her breaks my heart. So, the kids and I decided to make our visits to Grandmas more frequent, and maybe start bringing in lunch, too.

We enjoyed our visit with Grandma Marci and look forward to seeing her again. We hope to go next time with my Mom so my mom can help me talk to her. I see a lunch date in our future.

Asher & Addi cuddling.Looking out at Grandma's View

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Where's Your Will?

Chris and I have a will, and we have had one since right after Alivia was born. A tragic accident recently took the lives of one of my high school running mates and her husband, leaving behind their two small children.

This horribly sad accident got Chris and I thinking...are we prepared if this were to happen to us?

Well, yes, but mostly no.

We really have nobody to ask to care for our kiddos in the event that Chris and I are no longer able to do so ourselves. We selected our parents in our will. But, now that we are older and thinking about this, our parents are retired. They would be in their 70's by the time our children are graduated from high school. Although Chris and I are sure that either of our parents would be happy to raise our children, we realize now that they should not be the only option.

When we look to our friends, we really do not know anyone that could take our kids. Our family and friends already have their own families to care for. They really do not have room in their homes or wallets for 3 more kids. We would not think of having them split up...that would just be awful. And, we would hate to see them end up with the State.

After doing some research, I have learned a few things.
1. If someone is not selected or suitable at the time of our death, the court will appoint just about anyone who applies and seems fit. It could be someone that Chris and I would never approve of.
2. There could be a court battle. In our case, the court battle would be for who does NOT want to care for our kids, not the other way around, unfortunately.
3. Even worse, the kids could be given away to a family who does not want them and neglects them or end up in foster care.

So, Chris and I have some major decisions to make...and quickly. Because accidents are not planned, obviously...so we need to be prepared. We do not want to avoid making the decision because it is just too tough to think about.

Off to get willed, again. Wish us luck!

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Alivia, The 1st Grader!

1st Grade Open HouseAlivia, 1st Grader at Last!1st Grade BirthdaysAsher & Addi in the lockers!Ice Cream Time!Alivia gets a ride home

Alivia began her 1st grade year at Bell Elementary this morning!

Last night was Bell's open house where Alivia was able to meet her teacher, Ms. Erickson, look around the 1st grade classroom, see some familiar faces, and just get used to the idea that she was going to be in the 1st grade. We came home and she was super excited about beginning her new adventure, and this year I am more confident that she is ready.

Alivia is has worked hard this summer working on the first grade sight words. She found it annoying at first to go through flash cards, but she found it fun when she was able to go through all of them and know them. She also worked on first grade preparation workbooks. Alivia is a very eager learning, which makes teaching her fun. I was amazed how far she has come during the summer. Alivia needed a little boast of confidence, so hopefully knowing a little bit going into first grade will help her succeed. We just started to read chapter books together. She reads a chapter from a level 2 book and then I read a chapter to her of Junie B. Jones. Some parents may disagree, but these little books are the funniest books! We love reading them. We both look forward to quiet time and night time so we can read another chapter. I would highly recommend them!

Anyway, Alivia was awake this morning before 7 out of excitement. She was dressed and ready to go by 7:30. After a few pictures, we were on our way to walk to school for the 8:15 start time (she was only in school until 11:40 today). We got almost up the hill and it began to sprinkle. Addison and Asher were in the covered stroller...so they did not mind. Alivia hardly missed a beat. Once at school, all the kids and parents were inside of school. It was nuts! Addi, Asher and I walked Alivia to the door of her 1st grade class, said a quick good-bye and Addi, Asher, and I were on our way home in the pouring rain. Alivia did fine and so did I! It helped that today was only a 1/2 day and we knew Alivia would be home in a few hours.

When I picked her up, Alivia was quite excited. She reported coloring, working on puzzles and seeing a lot of new and familiar faces. She said they introduced themselves with their name and favorite food, and Alivia said her favorite food was bananas! Good girl!

It is official, Alivia is a first grader...at last!

Alivia, 1st Grader at Last!L-R Asher, Addison & AliviaRainy 1st Day1st Grade at BellWalking to Class1st Grade Room

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

The 1st Ride

Asher's 1st RideAsher's 1st RideBye Bye Asher!

Mark today, August 15, 2010, as the first time Alivia, 6yr,  and Asher, 2yr, rode on the motorcycle. Okay, they did not ride far (they went around the block), nor did Chris drive very fast (topping at 10-20mph), but both Alivia and Asher loved Daddy's motorcycle!

Alivia's 1st RideAlivia's 1st RideAddison...not wanting to goAlivia Returns

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The New Park

Yesterday, we traveled to my hometown to visit my parents and to visit the new town playground. This is a big deal considering the slides that were there were there when my Mom was a little girl. With that said, I do not think they should have sold them!

Anyway, the park is fun now! It is now equipped with playground equipment that we have not seen in Omaha or Papillion! It is really nice. We just hope that people take care of it.

It was a nice visit to the park and then to my parents. Asher got his hair cut and they all got to play. The ride home...was very quiet. What a fun day!

New ParkChecking out the ParkAsher getting set to slideMonkey AliviaGrandpa holding Addi's BabyKiddos at Play

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