Monday, January 27, 2014

Let's Do This Again

I have this vision as I'm sitting at the computer late at night, listening to the next ridiculous cold front blow in. I can hear things being knocked over outside, and our house settles and pops with each gust…so it's inevitable that soon the walls will be lifted from their foundation and we'll go spinning through the air like Dorothy and Toto. If a wicked witch flies by our window, I'll let you know!

Oh but yesterday was so glorious. Every year our family is amazed when we get a rare treat in February to get outside and take our first walk of the season. There are usually only a few of those days, those bright spots in winter, when we can actually enjoy the outdoors without freezing our nubs off. So we were extra thankful when that first day came in January this year! We needed it. Bad. And if you would have told me a few days ago that we would be outside without coats on yesterday, I would have been shocked. I knew what the weathermen were predicting, but I had to see it to believe it. :)

I believed! Oh, I believed! Thank ya, Jesus. Hallelujah! I will never doubt the miraculous, odd, bi-polar weather of midwest again. Anything is possible.


Few things.

1. The girls didn't even need that blanket, they just wanted it because…Anna and Elsa - duh! Frozen is the best movie ever.

2. Gracie still rocks her shades upside-down. She doesn't care what anyone thinks, that is the correct way.

3. Yes, we still have straw bales on our front porch. Anyone need straw? We don't!

We literally didn't make it a quarter of the way on our path before both of the girls were out, haha. The magical power of fresh air. 


This little dude did amazing!


Our walks aren't for the impatient kiddos…they are almost two hours long some days. We were so pleased that Reagan didn't make a peep the whole time. That is good news for prime walking season this year. ;) And he did eventually drift off, too….


Sigh…we knew the warm sunshine wouldn't last forever. As we were about as far away from home that we could get in our little town, we could see the slate-gray sky in the distance…the winds began to pick up…the sun was setting. We literally starting walking to beat the cold front home. Even busted out some fleece to combat the wind, haha. 


The cruddy thing about winter is that we find ourselves spending so much more time in front of the tv, with our computers, the kids playing countless video games and games on our phones. We might be stuck inside together, but we're not always "together" if that makes any sense. I love the family time we get on these walks. Eric and I actually remember that we have intelligent things to say to one another. :) Everyone agreed that we are more than ready to do this every day.

So I guess I'm doing this weekend wrap-up in reverse. On Saturday Eric was gone from sun up until sun down for an MBA class in Edwardsville. He's trying something new this term. Instead of taking a once a week night class for a whole semester, he's taking an entire class in three days. Three looong weekend days. Sounds a little bit like torture to me. :) But we've learned something about ourselves lately…we'd rather take greater pain over a short amount of time than drag something out. We've found this to be true for a lot of different things, so hey, why not follow the same philosophy for school? Only two (or three?) more classes to go after this one!

On Friday evening we had dinner with Eric's dad and let the kids play for a bit at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Gracie put on a concert from the Frozen soundtrack, because that is what Gracie does these days. (Did you know that next weekend they are releasing a sing-along version of Frozen in select theaters? Grace would FLIP out! She can't read, but that wouldn't stop her from belting out every single word, haha.)

I am currently in denial that I have to drag all three kids out in the cold to take Evie to and from school. Reagan had just gotten over a cough and then got it back again last week because of those trips in and out of the nasty weather. Boo. Winter is my least favorite. Followed by spring, cause it's too rainy and sneezy. Followed by summer, which I mostly like. Followed by fall…fall is perfect. :) Okay, I'm rambling. Happy week!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Confession Friday 1-24!

Happy Friday!! Hey, I blogged every day this week that wasn't a holiday. Feeling pretty good about myself today. :D Last night when Eric walked in the door from work, Evelyn insisted that we take a "...family photo! Come on guys, family photo!" Haha. So I stepped away from the stove and we all huddled together.


She was so happy. Evelyn cracks me up. :)

Time for some confessions…..

I confess that we've been watching some new (old) cartoons around here, and now if any member of the family says, "Duck Tales" all corners of the house will answer back with "woo - ooo!" Haha. You just can't not do it.

I confess that I hate the play station 3. It can burn for all I care. I'd like my husband back. I told Eric that, too! :)

I confess that it has been SO COLD lately, that I have to battle myself every day with the decision to squeeze in a shower and have a wet head taking Evie to school or be disgusting. Disgusting wins. I am now a night time shower-er, which I hate. Blast you, sub-freezing temperatures!

^ I confess that in the lists of "to homeschool or not to homeschool" getting a shower every day in peace ranks high on the "not to homeschool" side. I can't even imagine…the luxury!

I confess that I am mad at the Farmer's Almanac. "Snow." "More snow." "Unseasonably cold." "Sucks to be you!" All the way through March. Come on, now. Everyone knows their predictions are always right, so let's predict some sunshine please! :)

I confess that my son looks like a jack-o-lantern. Two teeth on bottom and just one on top, haha. Neither of the girls' teeth came in that way. Sure makes me laugh!


I confess that Eric and I laugh until we CRY reading the reviews for these sugar free gummy bears on amazon. You have to, and I mean have to read the one titled, "This is your captain speaking: Do not eat the red gummy bear. You'll be sorry." (Halfway down page one of the reviews.) But don't read it in public, because people will think you have lost your mind! We can't even talk about it without crying.

I confess that it is dangerous to let Evelyn watch commercials. She is so easily sold. And I don't just mean on toys or those "As Seen on TV" things. Anything she sees, she thinks we have to run out and buy. Toilet paper, lysol…anything. If you're selling it, she's buying it.

I confess that I have three stinky kids that need a bath. Rub a dub dub, three kids in a tub! I have to bathe my children so that we can get Evie to school on time today (without wet heads!)

We hope that you all have a great weekend! Eric starts a new class on Saturday…fun…not! I think we'll all be glad when he has his Master's degree out of the way. What are we going to do when we have more free time? It will all be worth it, I tell myself. :D Okay, over and out!


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sprained Gracie

Well, in the race to childhood afflictions, Gracie broke the tape on sprains. We still have bloody noses, black eyes, broken bones, and various illnesses to look forward to. :)

 Grace is showing off her bandage. 

"Smile Gracie!"


Eric took Gracie to the doctor to get x-rays, and he said that she did a wonderful job. So wonderful that they had a daddy/daughter date on the way home. Where did Gracie choose to go? Subway. Haha.  I love when either Eric or I get the chance to hang out with our kids one-on-one. It doesn't happen nearly enough. And even though we wish it were under different circumstances, Grace had a great day.  A great day with her dad. :)

Eric ended up taking the whole day off of work, and it was he who greeted Evie after school - a big surprise for her. Usually it's mom's smiling face she sees at the end of the day. We had a relaxing family afternoon and dinner with Eric's parents last night. The girls were excited to go somewhere that served "lemonade!" So it actually ended up being an okay day after all. 

As for Gracie's wrist, it's feeling much better today. She's back to her normal, crazy self! Thanks for the prayers and concern. I always knew Gracie would be the one sending us to the doctor's office, and it wasn't even her fault this time, haha!


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Snow days are hazardous to our health….

The Robert girls were invited to a cutie patootie's 4th birthday party that is coming up, and my girls are obviously looking forward to it :) When Evelyn saw the invitation she said, "We have to reply! We have to reply, mom!" She insisted that we "reply," which was cracking me up, because I've never heard her use that word before.

So Evie set to work on her very own rsvp. "How do you spell this?" "What does a 'd' look like, again?" And pretty soon she showed me the finished product.


"Stella dear, we would love to come to your birthday!  - Evelyn" 

Ahaha. I'm almost positive she meant to write "Dear Stella," but Stella dear is just hilarious and equally appropriate, so we're going with that. :D I told her I would show this to Stella's mom, so here you go, Cassie. We would love to come! Ha.


Yesterday was kind of a weird day. It was a snow day, which I totally was not expecting. But good call on the school's part…it took Eric 90 minutes to get to St. Louis yesterday morning. And my cousin Tyler, driving back to his school in Iowa in the wee hours of the morning, ended up having a scary accident. He rolled his truck 1 1/2 times and completely totaled it. Thankfully he walked away. Praise GOD! It is a lesson to be learned, though. We didn't get a ton of snow, but just because it doesn't look that bad outside, doesn't mean that it's fine to drive. If there is one thing this nasty winter has taught me, it's that it is better to have cabin fever than to take a risk on the roads. To quote The Croods, "Never not be afraid!" Haha, okay, maybe that's a little extreme.

And while we were stuck at home, one of my kids was injured. Please say prayers for Gracie. I couldn't tell you exactly what happened, but the gist is that Evelyn pulled on her arm somehow, and now Grace is in a lot of pain. I was out in the garage where our deep freeze is, getting some meat out to defrost for dinner, when I heard Gracie crying. Poor thing spent the entire afternoon on the couch with an ice pack moaning and crying, and as of bedtime, she was still cradling her lower arm. Really hoping it starts feeling better today, otherwise we'll be off to the doctor to have it looked at.  

EDITED: Looks like we'll be taking Gracie to the doctor today. It isn't any better this morning. 

After today we're going to be looking for a new pediatrician…again…. Eric logged onto the computer to check the office hours and there was a big announcement that our doctor was leaving the practice. We don't blame her. The offices she was at were terrible. Haha. We loved her, but not so much the staff working for her. So now we are on the hunt for someone in Waterloo/Columbia again. Isn't there someone that now has an office in Red Bud AND Waterloo? If you know who that is, let us know!

This post was all over the place, sorry! I have to get my kiddos dressed and ready to spread out in different directions today - Gracie to the doctor, Evie to school, and Reagan will just remain permanently attached to his mama. :) Hope you are having a perfectly normal, accident-free kind of day! 


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tuesday Check In

SNOW DAY!

Ah, I LOVE long weekends - that extra day yesterday was invaluable. Eric was at work and in meetings…all…weekend…long….

We didn't get to do our grocery shopping for the week on Saturday, which we desperately needed. Thank the Lord for a Monday off, cause we'd be starving today otherwise, haha. Either that, or I would've had to drag three little kids and two shopping carts through a store by myself, and… I'd rather starve.

In other random news, our dvd player bit the dust. I was so excited when I picked up a copy of "Anastasia" for the kids and I to watch while Eric was doing his thing. We made popcorn, got all ready, and then the disc wouldn't play. What the heck? I tried everything. Attempted to play 10 other dvds. Nothing. It was a sad day. How did we fix the situation? Why, we bought a Playstation 3, of course!

Haha. We are big fans of Craigslist, and Eric found a great deal on a system that would play our dvd's and blue rays, and games, so...why not? Therefore, any free time we did get over the past few days was spent playing with the new family toy. :) We realize we're about eight years behind on technology, but that's how we roll.

Life is just so boring right now, friends. Thankfully the kids were able to get out and play in the decent weather while Eric and I shopped yesterday, but for the most part we've been house-bound. I'm so ready to get the heck outta here and do stuff again. Not a whole lot to blog about at the moment…which is probably why we're averaging two or three blog posts a week. Whoops!

And if we're being totally honest…I've been spending most of my free time planning our trips for the year. I don't get a ton of kid-free time, so when I do, all I feel like doing is dreaming of fun stuff ahead. Oh, and getting a head start on the kids' summer wardrobes. Because it's January, and I live in opposite land. ThredUp has been very good to me. Finding some great stuff from old favorites that aren't in stores anymore.

Like this little gem…


Sigh…Evie at one year old. :) So excited to have found this dress for both of the girls this year. It's the little things. Haha.

That's all I got.

My kids are driving me nuts today. :)

Is it summer yet?


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Kids are growing around here.

He kisses, gives fives, claps to music, says "shhh" with his finger, points and motions for what he wants, follows simple directions, uses the iPhone…Reagan is a big boy. Yesterday he was talking my ear off all day long. I have no idea what he was saying, but judging by the inflection and hand motions, it was all very important. :)

Every once in a while I'll make a comment about how big Reagan is getting and Evelyn will have to ask, "Are you sure he might be bigger than me someday?"

"He probably will be, " I say. "Boys are usually a little taller than girls."

"But not if he has dwarf-iz-ism."

"Your brother doesn't have dwarfism."

"But if he did…"

"Then yes, you would probably be taller than he would be."

We've seriously had this conversation 10 times. Thanks to TLC, my child is fascinated by "dwarf-iz-ism," and she remains unconvinced that her brother doesn't have it. :)

I love kids - they crack me up. There's another kid in my life that recently had a birthday, and we celebrated it last night. My little brother John turned 6 on Sunday. (He is getting waaaay too big! Literally, he's a super tall kid and our whole family is SHORT, haha.) There was dinner, there was cake, there were some presents - you know, the usual birthday protocol.



I knew we were in trouble with the gift we brought when John said, "I bet I know what it is - Power Rangers!!" Um….

Nope. :D

Haha. John loves Power Rangers. And I know that he has quite a few of those toys, so I thought…well, maybe we'll get him something different. What did I choose? Spin Art. You know, those spinning wheels that you can put paint on and they make cool designs? I thought it would be something he didn't have that would be fun. Ahahaha. 

"What is this?"

Clearly, spin art is not all the rage among six year old boys. So of course, we had to give him a hard time about it the rest of the night. "Wanna do some spin art, John??" Hehe. Thankfully, my mom knows her kid, and he did get some Power Rangers. :)



It was a fun evening celebrating a smart, funny, and sometimes goofy little (big) guy. I've already shared some of our past week in a video, but I thought I'd share some more memories in another short vlog - a special "John's Birthday" edition. :)



Happy Wednesday!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Silver and Gold

Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold. :)

We spent our entire weekend hanging out with old friends. It was good for the soul. It is almost bizarre how you can go months…years…without seeing someone and then when you're together it's just like, "Oh yeah…there you are. This is totally normal." As if absolutely no time has passed at all. Like you just saw them last Tuesday.

In a way it makes my heart ache that things can't always stay the same. Everyone has to grow up. People have to move on. But some friendships are golden.

On Friday night our friends Adrian and Angeline accompanied us on our totally rad date night. Haha, you know you're good friends when it's not weird at all to just chill out over dinner and a trip to Sam's Club. :D Oh yeah, and going to get my ring fixed. (I have a naked finger right now, and I feel unbalanced…like I'm pulling to the right when I walk, cause my left side weighs less.)

Same old jokes, same old friends. It was a good night.

And on Saturday we got together with even more friends for dinner, and to get a little time to hang out with Adrian's parents Paul and Stephanie as well.

Paul was the pastor of our church several years ago, and his family has always been dear to our hearts. Even after they packed up and moved all the way to Maryland, Eric and I just had to have Paul fly back home to marry us. No one else could do it. Stephanie was part of our ceremony as well. :)


Love!

On Sunday there was more hanging out. More amazing times. Quite possibly the best potluck I've ever been to after church with our entire church family - old friends and new. :D There was and is so much love there…and lots of eating, obviously.

I'm going to share a video today that is pretty personal to me and those that we worship with at church. I'm sharing it mainly for the benefit of those friends and family who weren't able to be with us this Sunday. It was a rare treat that we had both our old and new pastor together, under one roof. Collectively these men have led our church for the past 20 years. Through the providence of God and their ministries, the place where we worship is what it is because of Paul and Ben's leadership.

The elders and deacons recognized that this special moment couldn't be passed up. It just so happened that Eric was the deacon of the week this Sunday, and it was his job to close the service…and that worked out just swell. ;)

If you've ever been a member of FBC Red Bud, here ya go:


And that was our weekend. I say, and I think Eric would say, that our cups are very full! 

I'm sure many of you know what it's like to connect with old friends. When you say "goodbye" to someone you love, you can never really let them go completely. It's as if a piece of your heart is tethered to them, and it goes where they go. And when you are able to reunite again, that piece of your heart is just reeled in - right where it's supposed to be. :)

Now we're preparing to start the week. Evelyn is back to school, and that means we're finally back on our normal schedule. Here's hoping for a smooth transition back! And I hope that you all have a great week!


Friday, January 10, 2014

Confession Friday 1-10!

WOOHOO!! It's 2 am, and I'm jacked up on sweet tea!!

Feeling pumped, friends. I'm awake. I can actually blog! It's a party over here on Country Club Dr. I'm going to pay for this in the morning, and I.don't.care, cause I didn't fall asleep before 10:00pm, and that means I've gotten a whole evening all to myself.

This calls for some confessions!

I confess that when I haven't cried in far too long and I just need to let the floodgates open, I pop in The Notebook. Works like a charm every time. :) (Why is that? We know what happens! Haha.)

I confess that all drinks taste better from a fancy water goblet. Even Dr. Pepper.

I confess that I was thoroughly amused all week watching people get cabin fever being stuck inside. Ahahaha…. Welcome to my life, glad you could join me! :D

I confess that there is nothing like finally arriving at your destination, going to get your child out of their carseat, and discovering that someway, somehow, they snuck a chocolate bar along for the ride.

Eric and I still don't know how he accomplished it, but he had chocolate from head to toe, the little stink! :)

I confess that I love the planet Earth, and I think we should absolutely be careful with our wastefulness. But goodNESS I didn't have paper plates for lunches the past week and I thought I was going to die. So…many…dishes….

^I confess that I literally laugh out loud when someone says, "Stay at home moms have twice as much time to get chores done." No, no. Try, "Stay at home moms have twice as many chores, because we're home all day messing everything up!" Haha.

I confess that Reagan decided to officially stake his claim as "typical" little brother, and I think it's hilarious. He enjoys messing with his sisters, and he even busted out a new, maniacal laugh this week just for when he drives them nuts. :D

I confess that I am SO excited to finally get the diamond put back in my engagement ring tonight!! (It fell out, and I miraculously found it - whew!) I've been wearing the ugliest ring on the planet for the past week.

I confess that this post was actually a long rant on polygamy before I decided to do Confession Friday. I'm not kidding, I'm ticked off about it. Maybe I'll publish that another time. (Random, I know!)

Evie's hair is finally starting to grow out:

She's pretty excited about it. :)
And those are bathtub crayons, fyi. Haha.


Evelyn confesses:

I confess that I am Anna and Elsa's biggest fan. I like their movie in the movie theatre. I love them so much.

I confess that Grace took the iPad away from me, and it made me sad.

I confess that sometimes I'm naughty, but Santa gave me presents anyway. Right mommy? Why did he give me presents, anyway? (Ahaha.)

Grace confesses:

I confess I like to wash my hands.


We hope you have a fun weekend! Ours is full, and I'm looking forward to it. :) We're supposed to hit the 50's on Sunday - say what?! Awesome. Happy weekend!


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Last of the Holiday Fun...

Whoops, this was supposed to go up yesterday, but we were experiencing some technical difficulties.

And by "technical difficulties" I mean that mama fell asleep putting the baby to bed again.

I know I've said it before, but seriously…urgh…nothing more annoying then opening up my eyes, blinking, and realizing there is sunlight coming through the nearby window. "What the crap, I had 1,000 things to get done last night!" It's a great way to start the day.

Since these videos literally take 10 hours or more to upload, it had to wait until today.

There were many things we did before and around Christmas that never made it on a vlog, and I'm pretty sure that's because we got sick and all the cards from our delicate holiday card castle just went spewing out everywhere. Just chaos. But kids got first hair cuts and we saw lights and built gingerbread houses and all that fun stuff.

Honestly, I want these memories for my own benefit in a little video, so I had to make one! :) Slightly out of order, but here it is. Holiday fun from the last of 2013.



Thank you for watching!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Let's Go On Vacation….

Happy snow day!

Er.

Happy snow day?

Those are my two greetings depending on what camp you belong to - the folks who are thrilled for an excuse to stay home and the ones who would rather it was June. Personally, I do a celebratory fist pump any time school is cancelled, but I am not a cold weather person either. I totally see both sides.  I'm neutral, cause I ain't got no place to be.

It is nasty out there though, and the snow drifts and wind are absolutely ridiculous. I do know there are some who can't avoid being on the roads today, so we are praying for the safety of those who are traveling - particularly our friends the Mathenia's and all of those serving in important jobs for our community.

We really haven't been doing much around here since the holidays - mostly decompressing from the craziness! There is quite a bit that I didn't get to share from even before Christmas that I may try to get to this week. I mean…because updates on all of the Disney Junior we've been watching are probably not going to be all that thrilling for you. :)

Speaking of Disney…


That's what I've been up to. I was given the green light to start planning vacation for this year, and I wasn't mad about that assignment. Since ordering my very first Disney vacation planning dvd in 2005 (baha) I have been acutely aware that there are two ways to vacation in Disney World.

1.) Book your room, buy your tickets, and wing it.

or

2.) Plan every single detail of your trip ahead of time…because to get what you want and do all that you want to do…you sorta have to. (Like it or not.)

In order to get the best restaurants and experiences it's good to know where you'd like to eat well before your departure day - 180 days before to be exact, which is when you can call to begin booking your dining reservations. (People are on the phone at MIDNIGHT on their 180 day mark. They are crazy. I will probably be one of them, but don't tell anyone.) And since I plan on changing my mind about 958634973967 times between now and then, Eric and I agreed I needed to get started mapping out our itinerary now. :D

So if you wanna know what we're going to do on our trip (all subject to change) well, let me show you what I have planned (this week). Ask Eric, we've switched resorts about four times already, haha. SO. MANY. CHOICES.

We will be staying here:

Port Orleans Riverside

For six nights in October. Which means the parks will be decorated like this:


And that thrills me in so many ways.

We are doing a ton of character dining meals, because let's be smart about it…why wait in line at the parks to see characters when you can meet many of them with a reservation while you eat? No brainer.

Day 1

Breakfast at The Crystal Palace inside the Magic Kingdom. Pooh and his friends will be joining us here...and the best part? If we are lucky enough to snag an early reservation, we will be allowed entrance into the park BEFORE it's open. That means an empty Main Street USA and Cinderella Castle all to ourselves. It will be worth the early wake up. ;)

Day 2

Lunch at Hollywood & Vine inside Hollywood Studios. Rumor has it that Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First are the new characters that will be doing meet and greets here - the girls are gonna flip out. 

Day 3

Lunch at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall inside the Norway pavilion at Epcot. This is a princess storybook dinner - by far the fanciest meal of the week. There's no way we could skip out on the princesses. Typically Cinderella, Ariel, Belle, Snow White, Aurora, and sometimes even Mary Poppins are here.

Day 4

Lunch at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom. It's a buffet of African and American cuisine with Donald Duck and pals. Should be fun, and this one came highly recommended to me.

Day 5


While this isn't technically a character dining meal, Beast does come out to say hello! We're having lunch at the Be Our Guest restaurant inside of Beast's castle in New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom. This restaurant is…insane. Google it. It is over the top, five stars for theming.

Day 6
Departure Day :(


To send us off, we're going to have breakfast at Ohana at the Polynesian Resort with Lilo and Stitch. I hear the Tonga Toast is to die for. ;)

Sigh…we're a long way from October…but that just means I have more time to dream, right? :) We have lots of other eating plans to make, so if you have a favorite spot in The World to dine with your family, let us know! We can't possibly do it all in one trip, so that's why we're going to visit again…and  again…and again…right Eric? :)

Ah, my coping mechanism on a frigid, snowed-in day. I just wish the warm breezes I was feeling were coming from a sunny southern sky and not my furnace. If you are b.o.r.e.d like me, I highly recommend vacation planning - even for a fake vacation. It will pass the time quite nicely. And unless your dream vacation is to Antarctica, perhaps it will warm you up from the inside. 

Happy Monday, friends! Stay safe and warm wherever you are!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Seven Christmases in Under 10 Minutes!

Eric is back to work, and I guess that means we have to get back to normal around here. Boo! Haha. Tree is down, living room is finally picked up, and it's a brand new year! Happy 2014, friends!

I decided that the only way I could share videos from all of the Christmases we had was to super-condense them, so that's what I did. Today we're sharing all seven of our Christmas stops in under 10 minutes. So here it is, our Christmas 2013…in a nutshell.

 

Thanks for watching!


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