Thursday, May 27, 2010

Keeping it simple

This week has been one of the hardest weeks of my life. But it's also been filled with some simple pleasures of life. Which may or may not make me simple, I'm not sure?!?
The kids and I were at the Dollar Tree this week and lo and behold, what did I find? Original Sprees. There they were, plain as day. No longer packaged in that fun long roll, but hey, beggars can't be choosers!
Hmm... NOW what will I lay awake and obsess over in the middle of a sleepless night?
It suddenly went from freeze warnings at night to 85 degree weather... instantly, around here. So we broke out the sprinkler and had us some old fashion, Ohio summer fun this week. The kids loved every minute of it. And I guess I did too. May/early June is my absolute favorite because everything is still green and better yet, no mosquitoes.
We met up with some friends the other day at our local outdoor shopping *towne* and hit the water fountain. All three kids are finally old enough to enjoy it yet don't try and escape. Last summer I spent most of those outings foiling Turner's plans of running into traffic. I had zero foils the other day. It was glorious and dare I say, relaxing?
After the free fountain fun, we spent $7 in snow cones. It was a royal rip off, but now we know the ropes and will not get robbed in the future. (FYI: 3 kids can DEFINITELY share a small, we got a medium. AND they charge you $2 per extra cup if you intend to split said small snow cone into 3 *equal* halves. ie. bring your own cups!!!)
But how could you deny those adorable faces a snow cone on a hot day??
And finally, yesterday, thanks to my friend Jenny over at Mommin' It Up and to Dove, I had a day of pampering. It was almost embarrassing!
Dove contacted Jenny and was invited, along with nine friends, for a spa day. The day included a manicure, pedicure and a 20 minute chair massage. Oh my yummyness! It's been a killer week in my life and God must have known I was going to need a tangible expression of His love.
While I was there I even made a new friend. As it turns out, one of Jenny's friends has a son who goes to Olivia's school. He is also 4 years old and is in a different classroom. Their family goes to our church and is looking for a small group to go to and may start coming to ours. It was such a blessing to know another family at the school. What a sweet confirmation that at least for now, we are in the right place.
And to top off the week, Lee wins American Idol. Like I said the other day, I really would have been happy with either choice. But I do love his story and am happy with my new Idol. But I'm left with one question. When they paraded all of the former *Idols* out at the end as a tribute to Simon (at least that's the way I'm taking it) where the heck was David Cook??? I loved me some David Cook and I was sorry to not see him there.
All in all, I delighted in some simple pleasures this week. What's happening in yours to make you smile?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Oh my Idol

Sorry for the absence. Lots of personal drama. Not a lot of time to blog. But tonight there WAS time for American Idol. Honestly, I've been a big BIG Lee Deweyze fan the past few (10) weeks. But I am definitely a fan of Crystal Bowersox too. She is from Northwest Ohio and Toledo (my hometown) was featured in her hometown video, so I gotta love the hometown girl. Plus she's dang good. But I just love Lee's voice. And he's such a success story. And he's cute.

But I gotta say, tonight, I L.O.V.E.D Crystal. She was uh-mazing! Her final song (which I'd never heard before) was gorgeous. Last week? I bawled my eyes out at Lee's performance. He seriously had me weeping with his rendition of Hallelujah. So it came time to vote and I just couldn't. I didn't know how to choose. So I didn't. It was the first week all season I didn't vote.

Yep, I buckled under the pressure of having to choose. So I'm letting you, America, decide for me. Because guess what? I'm buying both of their albums. I'm going to both of their concerts. I'll leave the radio on either of their songs. There you have it. There will be some absurd number, like 317,000,000,000,000 votes cast tonight and mine will not be one of them. And tomorrow night, I don't get to complain about who wins/ who loses. And you know what? I won't. This is the first season ever that I might equally love both of them. For different reasons.

You may think that I've over done it in my love for Idol. Perhaps I've over thought it or invested too much into this stupid show. You would be right. But after the kind of week I've had (with details too personal and too raw to get into here) it seems like a great light hearted thing to get lost in. So, good luck Crystal (Go Mud Hens) and good luck Lee (your voice melts me) and thanks for the distraction! I owe you one.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Teachers let the monkeys out!

Today was Olivia's last day of her first year of school. When I sent her off way back in September with her sweet little Tinkerbell back pack, I didn't even shed a tear. I thought it was fun and exciting and I love starting new chapters.

What I don't like is when things end. So today, I no like! All day I've been sad about the fact that next year will be different. Her two best buddies, Raine and Lei'Asya will be moving up to Kindergarten. O's school does things differently. The pre-schoolers and Kindergartners are all in the same classroom (so O, Raine and Lei'Asya will continue on in the same room with the same teachers) but they definitely do things separately.

O will still have the same two teachers. Mrs. Hatton is more in charge of the pre-K's and let's just say O has her wrapped around her little finger. Mrs. Hatton even lets O do *special errands* with her. I'm really thankful O will be back with Mrs. H in the fall.
The kids cleaned out their cubbies today. They brought home all of the work that they'd forgotten about all year. There were shamrocks and snow balls and reports on the country of India.

There were also portraits of their moms.

I'm pretty much expecting a visit from Children's Services any moment after taking a look at this one. "Well, she looks angry, Olivia."
"Yeah, it's a picture of you, mom." Hmmm... oops?

I have been working on my stress level, but c'mon, I don't think I deserve THAT.

I'd say it is closer to a self-portrait more than anything. Remember this one from the beginning of the year?!
The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, I guess.
Oh well, maybe we'll get it right next year. But for now, WE'RE ON SUMMER VACATION, BABY!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Every once in a while

It's good to get away!
Last weekend, while we were at Steve's parents' house, we snuck away. They live about an hour east of Cleveland so we took the opportunity to do what we do best, explore.

Granted, it wasn't Rome or Paris or NYC but it was even better than that! It was kid-free. We did some shopping, some lounging and then we wanted to eat dinner. We are not ones big on chains. Don't get me wrong, we'll eat at a Cheesecake Factory with the best of 'em, its just that we'd prefer a tucked away no name ethnic restaurant.

We set off to find ourselves one such gem. We headed to a ritzy little Cleveland suburb called Chagrin Falls. Oh my cuteness.
It was one of the first really nice Friday evenings Cleveland has seen since the Winter and it was apparent. People were out in droves, roaming about. There were several cute restaurants right on the falls, but we spotted an adorable Asian fusion place right on the main street with 2 bistro tables on the sidewalk. Yes, please.

It was lovely. There was even a duet of acoustic guitar players who provided us with live music the whole time we were there. And, they were actually good. Not annoying. (Although I look like I might have some kind of hunch back in the pic, *which fyi, I don't*, I thought I'd let you see how really close they were to us.)
And the food? Oh, my, the food. Although, I make it a general rule in our marriage to NOT share food with Steve (he takes MORE than his share and I get bitter) we decided to order 3 dishes and share. The goat cheese pot stickers (melt in your mouth goodness), spicy tuna rolls and Undon noodles with spicy beef. Yum.
After dinner we browsed the great boutiques right there downtown. Steve is a trooper and humored me. I could have bought one of everything from here, but managed to get out with just snapping some photos.
I thought to myself *several* times, "I would have totally missed this fun shop if the kids were with us." Because if I had Turner with me, we would have walked out with LOTS of broken adorable things. I'm pretty sure *you break it you buy it* still applies, right?
After window shopping we hit an old fashioned popcorn store with hand made ice cream for dessert. The whole getaway was perfect from start to finish. I may have even declared it my favorite getaway of married life. I think I've hit the stage of motherhood where it doesn't matter where I go, it's appreciating the time away, alone with Steve, doing what we like to do best.
Now I'm rested and ready to go get 'em.
Who volunteers to watch 'em next weekend?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

starting with stitches

Do you see the crazy in them eyes?? Yeah, this is the kid who definitely gives me a run for my money. But dang, he's cute! (Except for that hair. What is WITH that hair?)

Last Thursday morning, the plan was: O goes to school, dad goes to the coffee shop to work for a few hours and the boys and I go to the Y as usual. After O's school pick up we take Baxter to the kennel for the weekend and off we go to Cleveland. It's always good to have a plan A.

The first 2 parts of the plan went off with out a hitch. As I was packing a few odd bags and getting ready to head off to the Y, I heard a loud crash followed by an ear piercing scream. Turner had jumped from step to step at the top of our landing. He some how managed to trip and fall and caught himself with his nose. You might see the gash on the side there and if you look closely you'll see the shiner and the swollen nose that quickly followed. I'm not one to panic (too much) but there was a pretty good amount of blood coming from a pretty small nose.

The first thing I did was what I do best, call Steve for help. Thankfully the coffee shop is literally right down the street and he was home in 2 minutes. In the mean time I called a nurse friend and she said if it were her kid she'd take him to the Children's Hospital ER. Done.

So plan A quickly turned into plan B: Steve taking Turner to the ER for what turned out to be 2 measly stitches and I took Quinn to the Y with me which turned into a much needed workout. Quinn and I picked O up and school. We ended up heading up to Cleveland a few hours later than scheduled. But all's well that ends well. Now the boys really ARE twins with matching crooked noses!


Steve, the kids and I left town last Thursday for 5 days at his parents. O took two days off of school and we were going to weave in some work stuff too. As it turned out, the weather was crummy and the Monday work event (a fundraising golf outing) was called off. We ended up getting home about five hours ahead of schedule. I'll take it.

Since being home I've been paralyzed. Unable to figure out how to summarize life, upload pics, do laundry, get back into routine, take Turner to get his stitches out (yep... a whole other post that has yet to go unwritten), early dismissal from school etc. As a result, here I sit trying to figure out how to tell you that I'm alive and well- just unable to blog. I'm hoping that by putting something, anything here it will get me over the hurdle of blogging once again.

Olivia has early dismissal from school today and we are hosting a play date for the girls in her class. Oddly enough, I think it may actually afford me some time to write a real (and much more interesting) post. Shoot, watching paint dry would be more interesting than this post! Thanks for hanging in there with me. Some weeks just end up this way!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I cracked the code

Last night Steve and I were watching American Idol. Have I mentioned my love for all things Idol? The other week they did a segment on the stand in judges during the dress rehearsal. The judges didn't look too much like the real thing, but enough to be kind of funny.

Last night's show (apart from the duets and *maybe* Crystal's song) was a bit whatever. Nothing too thrilling.

HOWEVER, when they got to the part where they run through the contestants and the numbers you're to use to vote for them at the end... pandemonium broke loose in our house. We've wondered for a long time how they manage to get the clips so quickly. But now that they have those new fan dangled computers and all, I realize things can be done very quickly.

A few weeks ago (the week that Lee had bag pipes, remember that?) we realized that his clip back did NOT include bag pipes. Weird.

Well, last night, I noticed that Casey's live performance was not the same as the end of the show call in clip. If you watched, you may or may not (most likely may) have been a *bit* distracted by the gaggle (is that the correct measure word?) of beautiful young ladies that surrounded him as he sat on the floor and did is rather nice version of "Mrs. Robinson". I noticed the cute blond they put right next to him and had a comment or two for Steve during the performance.

SO, during his playback, there was a cute little brunette sitting at his feet. HA! I caught it! I started yelling, "We've been duped! But I'm on to you American Idol."

And then, more proof. During the duet of Lee and Crystal, there were NO JUDGES sitting in front of them. What? No judges?! Then, during Casey and Big Mike's duet the FAKE JUDGES were sitting there. The fake Ellen was who really gave it away.

Perhaps you've cracked the code long ago. Perhaps you wanted to live in your little fantasy world a little longer. Sorry. As for me and my house, we shall live in the light.

And by the way, YES, I voted my little heart out last night. I am a Lee and Crystal lover. I can't decide who I want to be the Idol. I *think* Lee. But I want to go to BOTH of their concerts and will happily buy both of their albums when they come out. I might even want to go to the AI concert again this year.

What about you? Who is your NEXT American Idol?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Joinin 'em

Every blog that I checked out this morning had something to do with Mother's Day. A list, a poem, pictures. Although every fiber in my being wanted to do a post on anything BUT Mother's Day, I just couldn't. So if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

This weekend we headed up to Toledo to spend the weekend with my parents. I have not been with my mom on Mother's Day in I don't know how many years. And although she didn't love her hair in this pic, I L.O.V.E. the picture of the 3 generations and how adorable O's smile is. So, suck it up Bebe! We love you.
While we were in Toledo, Quinn decided to re-name himself. Somehow we were talking about Olivia's haircut and called it a bob. From then on, Quinn decided he wanted his name to be Bob.

I asked if I could call him Robert. "Nope! Just Bob." There you have it. He might be the first Chinese Bob I've ever known. Suits him, don't you think?!
Turner's favorite toy while there were his swords. He kind of likes to sneak up on you in a prowler kind of stance and whack the heck out of you. You would think that might be a grandparent gift. Nope. I had a *slight* lapse in judgement in the dollar section at Target the other day. It's been slaps in the face with foam swords ever since.
While in Toledo we ate.
And ate.
And ate.
It's back on the Weight Watcher's wagon for me today. Boo.
Don't let this adorable picture of Turner sleeping lead you to believe they actually slept while on the road. I'm a HUGE stickler for bed time. In fact it *might be* a sickness. But when we're on the road, especially at a grandparents' house, I feel like rules need to slide a bit. (I have fond memories of indulgences at my grandparents' houses.) This picture was taken shortly after Turner finally passed out after yelling, singing, jumping and having fun with his brother and sister in their shared room.
At one point Olivia was singing (?! yelling?!) at the top of her lungs. I was just about to go and bust her up when she loudly declared, "I have a really strong voice, don't I Turner!" No answer. So she answered herself. "Yep, I do." Steve and I just giggled.
Happy Mother's Day to me!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

This is merely a test

These are pictures taken with our new camera. While I think there should have been something more exciting to practice on, yesterday was the perfect spring afternoon. The kind that was just right for bubble blowing and bowls of water in the back yard.
And although once upon a time there would have been things far more exciting to capture on film (or is it on digital? I'm not sure how to even speak anymore!), I realize that in the not to distant future the kids will consider bubble blowing bor-ing and I'll be sad that I don't have enough captured on film (oops there it is again.) Hey, notice how my new camera captured that bubble in mid float? The old one would have missed that shot completely! Love it.
Today has been a test of another kind. Maybe all of life is a test and it should be the days that are not challenging that I should be more surprised of!

On Wednesdays during the school year I get together with my *growth group* friends. I've mentioned them before. Today was our last one before we take a break for the summer. I was really looking forward to time with these ladies. Then after that I was going to do my usual school pick up for O, the 3 kids and I were going to head to the park for a play date with O's school friends.
But when she woke up this morning her eye was all red and matted shut with goop. Goop is never a good sign. I can clean up barf and poop with the best of 'em, but give me goop oozing out of any hole and I get queasy.

I opted to keep O out of school and head to the doctor. I would be frustrated with any mom that sent their kid to interact with my kid with a gooey eye! The appointment wasn't until 11. Realizing I would have to cancel the play date AND miss my growth group, I turned into one grouchy mama.
I was the one that turned into the pre-schooler. I stomped around the house, gave one word answers and threw stuff into the kitchen sink. I realized I was doing it but to be honest, it felt good in the moment. I was suffering, so everyone around me should too.
After I made my peace with the day that could have been, I apologized to Steve for taking it out on him. Somehow, I wrapped my brain around the fact that I am a mommy and the kids' take precedence, even when it's disappointing. Steve went off to work and I began plotting the rest of the day.

About 15 minutes later, Steve called to ask what time the appointment was. I told him. He offered to come home, keep Olivia while I took the boys with me to my meeting and then meet O and him at the doctor's after I was done.

Grace. An undeserved gift.

I TOTALLY in no way, shape or form deserved that from Steve today. ESPECIALLY after the way I treated him this morning. He offered it anyway. I was embarrassed to accept it. But I did. And that, my friends, is a small picture of the grace God has offered. Trust me, it did not go unnoticed.

I guess I'm a slow learner, 'cuz I need pictures to go along with my lessons!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Yes, you May!

May is my favorite month! Lots of fun stuff happens in my life during the month of May.

Yesterday, May 3rd was our 7th anniversary. It was a beautiful day in 2003 and it was a beautiful day around here yesterday.

We celebrated with dinner at McCormick & Schmick's (a delicious seafood restaurant.) We are both seafood fans, but we are even bigger fans of eating outside on an evening like yesterday's. Earlier in the day, Steve stayed with the kids so I could finally make good on a gift card he gave me on Valentine's Day for a pedicure. It was such a relaxing treat! Before dinner we exchanged gifts. I bought him a new outfit (not pictured here) and he got me (us?) a new camera. I guess publicly complaining about the quality of our camera enough here on the blog sent him the hint he needed. We now own a Cannon PowerShot SD1300IS Digital Elph (is that *really* the whole name? sheesh.) None of the photos on this post were taken with it, but I'm sure that all pics to follow will be tons better!

I also love May because Mother's Day is coming up. My peonies are about about to bloom (they might be my favorite flower! I have bright pink ones in my backyard, but I carried pale pink/white ones in my wedding, as did my bridesmaids. L.O.V.E. them.) The end of school is near and I'm looking forward to that. Who knew?! Memorial Day, the official kick off to summer, is one of my favorite holidays. I'm not sure why. The sun is shining, my windows are open and the mosquitoes are not out yet. Those are all reasons I love May.

(Oops... forgot to mention... here is Steve with his incredibly wimpy salad at dinner last night. I loved it... he laughed at it. Oh well.)

What I HATE about May is college graduation! This year we are losing an incredibly valuable crop of friends/babysitters! A huge perk about doing college ministry are the fabulous babysitters that walk through our doors. An incredible downer about doing college ministry is them graduating. Last year we lost Alli, Olivia's first *favorite babysitter*. It was sad. This year we lose about another 4 great girls. One of them being Lauren. She is from Colorado and moving to UNC for grad school. Olivia loved Lauren. Lauren couldn't make it 2 minutes in our door without O jumping in her arms or climbing on her lap.

She will be missed!

As will our friend, Katie. I think it's hilarious because Quinn calls her Katie O'Brien. Never just Katie. Some people are just Madonna or Oprah and some people are Katie O'Brien.

So there you have it, the ups and downs of the month of May. What's your favorite month and why?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Saturday hodge podge

This is the kind of post that unless you're a grandparent of one of these kids you might be bored. But that's okay. This blog was started so that the grandparents could stay entertained.

This is the dress that O bought at Old Navy today (FYI everything in the store is 30% off through tomorrow. EVERYTHING. Don't miss it!)

I had to post a pic and couldn't decide if I liked the light or dark background for the dress better, so I included both. You decide.
Last evening we made a trip to Sam's Club. Basically, we had dinner there. The past few times there was disappointingly no samples. But we hit the gluttons' jackpot last night. Let's just say actual dinner was a flop!
After *dinner* we hit the park because it was like 80 degrees and gorgeous! Quinn's latest trick is riding the tricycle by himself in circles at the park. I don't know why, but it melts my heart seeing his little legs moving that bike.
And this is what happens when you leave your camera laying around!
The problem is, Turner, you left evidence! Nice try though buddy!