Sunday, December 20, 2015

Let's play catch up...AKA October and November 2015

So, I am only 2 months behind right now. I guess that's not too terrible. The last 2 months have been full of activity and life. I hope I can get all the details added in because I don't remember many of them now, let alone what I will remember in the future.

So, October. We finally settled into the back-to-school routine and it made life go by so quickly. Our days were a blur of school, dance, cheer, soccer, and repeat. 

We did get to squeeze in our usual trip to Hodge's Farm to pick our family pumpkins. We've gone every year since Aubrey was a baby and I look forward to watching them explore every year. However, some jerk kids in our neighborhood had to break the kids hearts by stealing our pumpkins right out of our front yard. I'm a firm believer in karma and know they will get what they deserve, but it was still hard to explain that to my kids the next morning.

I did buy the kids new pompkins later at the grocery store so they would have something to decorate.

After a lot of rain this month, Mason was able to finish out his 2nd season of soccer. I swear 3-year olds playing soccer has to be one of the cutest things ever.

Halloween was so much fun this year. Mason has gotten into Star Wars this year and has wanted to be Darth Vader most of the year. We begged and pleaded with Aubrey to be Princess Leia, but just like Mason's first Halloween, she refused to play into the family roles. So, Mason was Darth Vader, Todd revived his role as Luke Skywalker, and Aubrey was Strawberry Shortcake. It was nice to see her in such a different costume. I love the princesses and all, but seeing her choose a non-princess costume was nice. We trick-o-treated with several other families and the kids pulled in some serious candy. For 2 weeks after Halloween, Mason kept asking when it would be time to dress up for Halloween again. Poor kid still has no concept of time, but its rather cute to see him so excited about it.

November was slightly less busy for us. Our biggest event was hosting family Thanksgiving at our house. I love having Thanksgiving at our house every year. I love having people over and I love not having to travel so it makes perfect sense to host it here. This year Todd fried our turkey for the first time and it turned out so good. I was initially a little nervous, but Todd did a great job and no limbs or house were harmed in the process. We also got to meet my cousin's 4 week old son and my kids were so excited. Mason loved holding him and got mad when someone else held him other than him. It was took cute.

In other exciting news, Aubery lost 2 more teeth this month. The dentist told us she had 4 loose teeth and we were expecting them to come out quickly. 

We bought a fire pit for our backyard and the kids were so excited to roast marshmallows in their own backyard.

The day after Thanksgiving we went out to find our Christmas tree and decorate our house. After the tree was up and decorated, the kids had their usual hot chocolate and commentated while Todd and I decorated the house. We ended the evening by reading the Elf on the Shelf since Buddy the Elf made his long trip to our house the night before. 

So, that was the last 2 months in brief. Before we know it Christmas and New Year's will be here and I can't wait to see the fun we have then.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

September 2015

September officially started the full on craziness that is the fall. Life just blew up this month and we are just barely holding on for the ride.

We started out the month with Labor Day. Todd goes out of town every year for a hunting trip over Labor Day so it was just the kids and me for 5 days. It was a pretty stressful 5 days because I still went to work, had my first 2 tests, and played single mom the entire time. We managed to make it through the weekend with minimal drama, but I was pretty glad when it was over.

Mason started back to preschool on the 9th. There is such a big difference between his teachers this year and last year. Last year's teachers were ok, but I never really got the warm fuzzies like you expect with preschool teachers. This year's teachers, however all warm and fuzzy all over. We were so excited for him to start this year after meeting them and he fed off that excitement. The first day was a little tough for him, but his teachers said he had a great day so it all ended well.

Mason also started soccer again this month. I haven't been able to go to any of the sessions, yet so I have no pictures to share for him. But, he says he's having fun and wants to play in real games when he turns 4. We're also starting to look at some other options for sports for him so he doesn't get overshadowed by Aubrey's busy activities. Most of the sports will start at age 4, so by January he should be ready to go.

Aubrey finally had her first football games to cheer for this month. The first scheduled game was a disaster because there was a big lack of communication between the cheer coaches and the parents. And we had no uniforms until week 3. But, it all came together by week 3 and Aubrey is enjoying being a cheerleader.

Game 2. No uniforms for this game, but she still had a blast. She's on the end of the 1st row.

Game 3 she finally got her uniform and loved it.

After much begging, Aubrey convinced me to come to her school's fun run that raises money for the new buildings. It got bumped a day because of the rain so I couldn't stay long, but she had a good time.

Our lives involve very little besides school and running back and forth between practices right now. But, I wouldn't trade it for anything else. 

August 2015

Life has picked back up for the fall so I'm 2 months behind. Again. Me thinks this will be life on the regular for the next 4.5 years. I started back to school in mid-August and am crazy busy with just 2 classes. But, I hope to not get too far behind in my blogging. The kids' baby books are rather sad but I've managed to keep this little piece of the internet current for the past 7 years so I guess that balances it all out.

August was pretty quiet for the kids. They enjoyed plenty of downtime and playing before the craziness of school started.

Aubrey was so excited to get her first library card. She has become quite the reader and plows through books at a crazy speed.

They love "playing" corn hole in the backyard.

We spent an afternoon at Monkey Joe's the weekend before school started. I think it has lost its appeal as the kids have gotten bigger. They got bored pretty fast.

Sadly, the summer ended for Aubrey on August 24th. I cannot believe this girl is now a first grader. She survived the disappointment of being separated from most of her friends (as we were promised last year because of all of the Kindergarten drama). Her teacher this year is Mrs. Johnston and so far she is having a great year.

Aubrey also started her 4th year of dance and 2nd year of tumbling. She added a pre-pointe ballet class to this mix this year and surprisingly loves it. I was shocked because she usually doesn't love structure and pre-pointe is very strict and structured. But I am glad she has taken an interest in ballet because it will help her across the board.

We also made the decision to let Aubrey start cheerleading for Optimist football this year. She had so much fun cheering at the MICS cheer camp this past winter and really wanted to try it out. I have been really, really underwhelmed at the organization and concern this particular Optimist club shows for their cheerleaders, but we committed so she will finish out the year.

So, that was August. It really was the calm before the storm of the school year and I miss it already.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

July 2015

July was a lot of fun. We started out the month at our typical July 3rd celebration in Mooresville with both sets of grandparents. Unfortunately, it rained a big part of the night, but we still managed to have a lot of fun and were able to make it to the fireworks, even if they were 30 minutes late.

We also continued our tradition of spending July 4th at our house this year. We grilled and enjoyed spending time outside before lighting 100 sparklers and watching the various fireworks set off in our neighborhood.

Mason wrapped up his first soccer season in July and got his first little trophy. I was so sad that Todd and I weren't there to see it, but we planned a cooking class with our friends for Todd's birthday so Todd's parents took him for the last session. It was so sweet to see this little trophy when we got home and he loves to show it to everyone when the come in his room. 

Todd's company had their annual family outing at the Charlotte Knight's game on the 18th. It was a lot of fun and we actually managed to stay through the entire 9 innings. On our way out, Aubrey got to take a picture with their dancers and was so excited about it.

With the cheerleaders. It was Christmas in July night, hence the Santa outfits.

After 6 years, we had a huge change in our family routine. We are finally a nap-free family. Mason started staying up until after 9 or 10 every night after taking a nap and that was not cool so we decided to go ahead and drop his afternoon nap. He still technically "needs" the nap, especially around 3:30/4:00 pm, but he is going to bed so much easier now that I can't complain too much. After 6 years of planning around nap time, its been a joy to enjoy some freedom in our lives again.

Todd and the kids spent a weekend in Raleigh for a family reunion and got to meet some members of the family they had never met. I was stuck at home working but kept up on the play-by-play through lots of pictures and FaceTime chats.

While the rest of the family was in Raleigh, I took on the big task of converting Mason's toddler bed to its final resting place as a full-sized bed. We bought this bed for Aubrey and planned that it would be her only bedroom set. But, after realizing the cost associated with buying a new set, we decided that Mason would use the crib/toddler bed again and Aubrey went to a different bedroom set. When we bought the crib 7 years ago (that was a time shock to think about how long ago it was) we were fortunate the salesman told us to go ahead and buy the conversion set. The crib company went out of business a few years ago so I was so glad that we listened to the salesman. I dusted off the box from Mason's closet and decided I would just sort everything out and see how it all went together. I had already purchased the mattress for the bed so I let my stubborness get the best of me and decided to go ahead and put the bed together. As I started to unmake the toddler bed for the last time, I was really overcome with sadness. This was the Facebook status I posted right afterwards: 

I managed to get the bed together by myself, but I really don't recommend it as a 1-person job. The next morning, after I went to work, I decided to go to Lowe's to buy plywood to put under the bed. We decided to skip the box spring on the bed for now because Mason is so short and I knew the bed would be too high on top of the box spring. So, I take my measurements and go to Lowe's convinced I would fit the plywood in my car and bring it home myself. Oh, how wrong I was. After I busted my butt (literally, I fell over trying to load this 4'x8' sheet of wood on the cart), I got it cut and took it out to the car all by my self. Only then did I realize there was no way in the world this sheet of plywood was fitting in my car. Luckily, my dad came to the rescue and saved me from more embarrassment by coming to meet me and load it in his truck. Once Todd and the kids got home the next day, we did the final assembly on the bed and it was ready for the little guy to test out. He was so excited about the change and has slept like a champ in it ever since. He has fallen out a few times (despite the pool noodle trick) but otherwise has handled the transition well. 

So that was July. I am glad we got to spend so much time as a family because I know life will be changing too soon as we prepare to go back to school and the crazy life.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Catching Up....May and June 2015

Little sad blog has been neglected the past 2 months. I have not gone that long without posting since finding out I was pregnant with Aubrey and I feel kind of bad about it.

However, there is good reason for my blog neglect. As of May 2015, I am an official college student all over again. I have wanted to go back to school for the past 10 years, but life kind of got in the way. My Master's degree serves me well, but I've known for a long time I am burned out in mental health counseling. I have always wanted to do more direct medical care but wasn't quite sure what I wanted to be when I "grew up." Well, being in physical therapy for the past 5 months showed me that I am still geared for therapy, but really interested in the physical part instead of the mental part. So, I am going back to school to get my doctorate in physical therapy. Just typing that sounded so scary, but I am so excited. I have to go back and retake 9 courses from undergrad that are too old (sigh....) for me to get admitted and I have to take a few new courses that I didn't have in undergrad. I decided to knock out my worst subject first by taking Precalculus over the summer. I am glad I took it by itself because this class was tough. I literally spent 3 hours per night working on coursework. I am taking most of my classes online so that means I spend 100% of my school time attached to a computer. Its nice that it fits in my schedule, but tough because you are really teaching yourself. So the past 8 weeks I spent every free minute doing school work or with general life "stuff" so I had zero time to do anything extra or fun, hence the neglect of this blog. But, I am free from school until August 17 so I plan to get caught up with the blog and the million other tasks I neglected in the mean time.

So, May happened, obviously. We started out the month with a nice rite of passage in our house. Aubrey decided she wanted bangs and didn't want to wait on Mommy's time frame, so she cut them herself at school. With her safety scissors. Fortunately, she didn't do a bad job and cut them a decent length so we just had to do a little fix at the salon and went on with life.

May also meant dance recital month. It never gets old watching your child dance. Aubrey is really enjoying dance and it makes me so happy to share that passion with her.

Mason wrapped us his first year of preschool with their end of year performance. He was such a ham and had zero problems being in front of a crowd.

We made 2 trips to the lake in May and the kids had such a blast. They both have their own fishing rods and would have stayed out for hours fishing if we let them. The water was still too cold to swim in at that point, but they found plenty of ways to entertain themselves.

Before we knew it, June started. Aubrey wrapped up her last of school. I still can't believe she is finished with Kindergarten. She learned so much this year and had such a good report card. She is taking after me by becoming quite the bookworm. She's about half a grade level above where she has to be and that makes me proud. However, she is also quite the math girl and participate in an extra math class over the year. We are so proud of how much she accomplished and can't wait to see what next year brings.

Aubrey and her teacher Mrs. Mims.

Once school was out, we started doing all the fun summer stuff, like going to the pool and the splash pad. My kids definitely enjoy the water and will jump at the chance to play in it.

One of my favorite parts of the month was getting to see my brother and his family for the first time in 2 years. They live in Texas so traveling to NC is quite an ordeal. I was so excited to meet my new niece Jolene and spend time with my nephew. I also enjoyed spending time with my brother and his girlfriend. I am so proud of the brother and the life he has made for himself. He had a lot of struggles in his 20's and it makes me happy that he has settled down and is such a good dad to his kids. 

One of the nights they were in NC, we kept my niece and nephew at our house so the kids could have a big sleepover. It quickly reminded us that we are way past the baby stage in our house, but it was fun to see the kids play and have a good time so we forgot just how much work it really was.

Just as we did for Aubrey at age 3, we started Mason in soccer. He was so excited to participate and seemed to enjoy it, which is a stark contrast to Aubrey. It was so cute to see a bunch of 3-year olds kicking those little soccer balls around and running after them. Mason enjoyed himself so much that we are going to sign him up again in the fall.

The definite low of the month was getting some bad news about our sweet dog Bailey. We took her to the vet in late May because she had a dramatic increase in appetite and thirst, but they could not figure out what was going on. About 2 weeks later, we noticed that she was starting to bump into stuff and acting confused. 3 days later, her vision was completely gone. The vet ran a bunch of tests and still couldn't find anything wrong. They seem to think it could be cancer, but we don't want to spend all the money on a MRI because there is no way we could do treatment at her age so a diagnosis is a moot point for the time being. She seems fine and has adjusted to her new way of life, but it still breaks my heart. We are hoping that it's not really cancer, but only time will tell at this point. We are just going to love on her and appreciate whatever time we are blessed to have her in our lives. 

So, that was May and June. For the most part, we have had an excellent start to our summer and are no where near ready for it to end. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

April 2015

Yay for making a post 9 days into the month. That's pretty good for me recently.

April was a quiet, but nice month for us. Easter was the beginning of the month this year and it was a beautiful day. The Easter bunny overdid himself with the kid's baskets, but made sure to bring them plenty of fun toys for spring break and the summer. The afternoon was spent at my in-laws' house in our 6th annual Easter egg hunt. The kids had so much fun hunting for eggs. Afterwards was our yummy Easter dinner. It was nice to spend a quiet relaxing day with family after the craziness of the past few weekends of home improvement.

Seeing their baskets for the first time

The kids enjoyed their Spring break a lot this year. I think it helped that they spent 4 days with people other than just me so they got to break up the monotony. I wish I could have spent more time with them, but I think I enjoyed having a break from the routine almost as equally as they did.

One of my favorite parts of April was the warmer weather, which meant it was time for grilling. I really miss this during the colder months because we grill so often during the summer (AKA, I don't have to cook). Todd was more than happy to get back to his grill and get the spring started.

We finally got to do our Easter/Spring pictures a few weeks later than usual. I love doing these pictures every year. Its so neat to compare them to the past years' pictures to compare how much the kids have grown since the past year.

And after multiple weekends of hard work, the floors were finally finished downstairs. It is amazing how much nicer it looks and feels. I am so grateful for Todd, his dad, and my dad for the hours they put into this project. The final room to complete was the playroom and it went really fast. Afterwards, I was so excited to finally be able to put our house and garage back together after 6 weeks of chaos and even happier to be able to park in the garage.

There are lots of happenings going on in May for our little family and I can't wait to share some big changes that are coming!