Friday, May 29, 2009

Nick the builder...

This past weekend Greg took on the big project of taking down Leslie's loft in her bedroom. He built these lofts in the kid's room several years ago; we have cathedral ceilings so the lofts were high enough that it provided a second floor to their rooms. The kids have loved them; they used to have their beds up in their lofts when they were younger and then as they got older they turned into club houses and "hang" out space. These past few years they have turned into storage space (which I have enjoyed) :)

Les decided she would like to open up her room and have her loft removed since she asked for hard wood floors for her birthday gift this year. ( I know... weird gift but she chose it).

Greg is great when it comes to building... he is great in general, but especially with handy work. He removed Leslie loft within minutes and then used almost ALL the wood to build shelves in our play room closet. Now I have lots of room to store pots and pans and all my Tupperware and Pampered Chef items which continually fall out of our cupboards each time we open the door.

Nicholas had asked if he could help his father when the time came to build the shelves; he is starting to take an interest in work around the house... such a little man. :) Greg used this as an opportunity to teach Nick. He showed Nick the proper way to use and hold a saw, drill, screw driver etc... Nick took all the measurements for the project and was extremely precise on each one. They worked well together and within no time at all our shelves were created and ready for use.

Greg used a similar opportunity with Leslie when she was about the same age as Nick. She wanted a shelf built for her room to hold her many aquariums full of creatures. She and Greg worked one afternoon together to build her shelf and she too learned how to use her father's tools.

I am sure Nick will have more opportunities than she will to use tools in his life time, but it is a good thing for a girl to know. I remember working many afternoons and evening with my dad while he worked on our cars growing up and while he worked on my car before I was married. I was taught the difference between a philips head and flat head screw driver, I helped bleed brakes and trouble shoot car problems. I am blessed to have married a man who already knew all these things and much more, but had I not, I would have at least known the basics.

I also sprayed Nick with Silly strings later in the day... as you can see he was not very happy about it. I did feel bad about it for a while.. but then he jumped out from behind a corner to scare me 3 times this week so I don't feel bad anymore. What now Nick??? Click here for an earlier blog and more understanding of the "what now" statement.

I have a lot to be thankful for..... but today... I am thankful for all the men in my life... I have a great dad, a sweet brother, a wonderful, perfect husband and the best son any mother could ever ask for. God is very good to me for reasons I will never understand.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Fun at Marions

This past Sunday we celebrated my grandmother's 84th birthday at Marions. This would make two weeks in a row we have gone out to lunch to celebrate a times. Happy Birthday Grandma. :)

We enjoyed our pizza and good conversation and then my dad bought Maya some fun stuff out of the famous bubble gum machines. They were hillbilly bunny teeth. She looked hilarious.....

Once she put them in it was certain our kids needed them too; Dad dug in his pocket to find 2 more quarters. Leslie was ready to leave because she had a lot to do that afternoon before going out with friends that evening so we bribed her. If she would pose for a picture with hillbilly teeth then we would leave the restaurant immediately and not dilly dally with conversation any longer. :)

It was sooooo worth it....she had the best teeth in the bunch. :)

Monday, May 25, 2009

That 70's Man..

We are in a series at church called "The Years". We have been looking at each generation starting with the 50's. We have looked at the sexual revolution in the 60's and this week we looked at the scandal and distrust of the 70's. Greg was asked to do the monologue drama (skit) at church this weekend. He was the 70's.
The 70's was upset at how society had forgotten him in-between the 60's and the 80's.

We had a lot of fun with this one. He wore an actual 70's outfit that belonged to my dad and we found a white belt and white shoes at the thrift store. The brand name on the white shoes.... "Saturday Knights". Charlie (our pastor) got a huge kick out of Greg's outfit and even gave a little history behind it in service. My dad, who was there to see Greg, enjoyed it. :)

Greg was given a wig and a mustache for the drama and our job was to style it in a 70's style. We googled 70's male hair styles and did our best. He looked like he had just stepped out of the 70's by the time we were done with him.

See for yourself....

You know you really love a person when you can look at them in an outfit such as this and think.... wow, he looks good... or shall I say "He is one cool cat". :)

Below is a video of Greg getting his groove on at church.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Olive Garden

Leslie's birthday celebrations have begun. Now that the kids are older we have a family dinner followed by a friend party sometime later. Not sure how that all got started but it keeps everyone happy. Plus it keeps grandpa and grandma's from having to sit through loud music and teenage humor. Her "friend" party has been scheduled for some time in June.

This past Sunday we had a small gathering of family to celebrate Leslie's 17th birthday at the Olive Garden. We met after church and enjoyed time together over an Italian meal with a Funfetti cake (Leslie's favorite... and mine) to follow.

Our server was not the best, but the food was good....(It bothers me when a server is really bad and because you are in a "group" they get the 18 percent gratuity anyway. With the gratuity built in they don't have to give you any service at all and they still get a huge tip!.... then he had the nerve to ask if we needed any change back from paying our bill... YES!!!! ) Sorry, .....not a very good attitude.....I have no idea what kind of day this young man was having and until I have walked in his shoes I will keep my mouth shut! Who knows what was going on in his life and then this family walks in thinking the world revolves around them and their "birthday party".

Anyway,..... here are some photos of our dinner at the Olive Garden. :)

Yay, Bath and Body Works

Nick being cool....and looking like Cousin It.

Maya hamming it up...

Lovin the bread sticks... they should use her for their commercials...

Can we go now please???

Leslie was afraid the smoke detectors would go off after blowing out her candles.

They didn't....

Rock star Maya...

Greg and Jamie always take close up pictures of one another at all family functions and Holidays... not sure why but they have done this for years... I guess they find it funny. :)

Good dinner, good company, good time had by all.....

Monday, May 18, 2009

Our Sweet Leslie

Last Wednesday, May 13th was Leslie's 17th birthday. I cannot believe she is 17 already... where has all the time gone???

Greg and I were so excited to have a baby that we didn't care if it was a boy or a girl so we didn't find out the sex of our baby until she was born. We read the What to Expect When You are Expecting book like it was a bible.

I would follow it week by week so we would know how our baby was growing. We would wake up on Sunday morning and I would read it out loud... "This week our baby will grow finger and toes and hair ".

I remember sitting on the floor in Leslie's room smelling lotions, powders and wipes. I washed, folded and re-folded all the baby clothes I had received from baby showers and generous grandparents. Greg built the crib, changing table and high chair and installed the car seat properly to insure our baby arrived home from the hospital safely. The bassinet I slept in as a baby was washed, new bed clothing had been bought for it, and it had been placed in our bedroom with a flow of light cascading down from the heavens upon it. (Okay, maybe the last part wasn't true... but that is how I felt) I couldn't was an exciting time.

I remember the day she was born like it was yesterday. I went into labor at 12:15am on May 13th, walked the house for 2 hours until my contractions became stronger... showered and arrived at the hospital at 2:30am. They wheeled me in, hooked me up and I took a nap through a big part of my labor. Greg and I had decided we wanted it to be just he and I during our delivery but we did allow the grandparents to stand behind the curtain so they could listen. I told them if I saw the curtain move or if anyone peeked we would have to shut the door. I remember hearing my mom say "Careful, don't move the curtain, she will kick us out."

Leslie was born at 9:22am on a Wednesday morning. She was so pretty.. she had a perfect little face and the most beautiful coloring.

Greg was the proud daddy who cut the umbilical cord. I remember looking down at her after my doctor placed her in my arms and thought.... Wow, you are ours....I am a mother. I felt a flood of emotions, I felt so much love for this little person who I felt move inside me from a flutter to a kick. For nine months we shared everything ... I felt her kick, stretch and even felt her hiccups. I also felt fear... fear of not being able to live up to my end of the bargain. I had prayed and asked God for a healthy little baby... one that Greg and I could love and raise together. He surely did his part... she was perfect. Now, for the rest of my life I have to do MY part. That moment was surreal.

We were flooded with visitors and gifts and Greg bought Leslie the most beautiful little dress to take her home in. Her socks read "Mommy loves me" and her shoes read "Daddy loves me".

On our way home from the hospital Greg looked down at our little bundle of joy and smiled and said "Well, we are a real family now". I got tears in my eyes and said "Yep, isn't it great?"

Leslie was such an easy baby. She loved to eat, sleep and smile.

I loved spending my days at home with her. I felt badly that Greg had to leave each morning to go to work so I would cam cord our days together. Sometimes I would record nearly 30 minutes of her just sitting in her swing asleep... the only thing moving was her passy moving up and down as she slept. (the video didn't transfer very well... sorry)

Greg thought I was crazy. Today however that footage is priceless to me. :)

Greg and I had a lot of fun with Leslie as a baby.... she was a great source of entertainment. One night Greg was lifting Leslie into the air to make her laugh and we noticed she would move her feet like a ballerina. So.... being the crazy parents we were, and still are.... we put it to music. :)

As Leslie started to grow her personality grew as well. She was such a spunky little 2 year old.

She loved to be in front of the camera (she hides from all cameras now). Each time the camera was in use she would grab a pillow, (not sure why she had to sit on a pillow) and perform. She would sing songs from church and preschool all day long if you wanted her too. She was hilarious and she loved to be the center of attention. For those of you who know Leslie now and didn't know her as a child ,you might think I am lying... come over sometime... I have the videos to prove it. :)

She was also extremely bossy (in a cute way)....she had friends across the street who were older than her and she would boss them around all day long. Her best friend was Lauren and they had a great time playing with bugs. She loved pill bugs (rolly pollys), and she liked to catch these pill bugs and play with them. She had the entire neighborhood of kids under our bushes almost every day searching for pill bugs ....she was only 2! I think it was the cute pudgy cheeks... you couldn't say no to her.

She was (and is )very bright.... she knew her colors, numbers and letters before she was 2 and could read by the time she was 4. Her favorite word at the age of 2 was actually. I would ask her if she wanted a hot dog for lunch ( I know... such a good mom feeding her wonderful, nutritional lunches) and she would say "ACTUALLY mommy... I would like macowoni and cheese pweese".

She called herself Essie and Wessie before she got the hang of her L's. She called fish shees and fruit roll ups rollers.

We would say I love you to her everyday to a tune making it a little song and she would reply " I uuuuuuuu". Instead of answering yes to questions she would say " I know". For example.... Leslie, would you like an ice cream cone? Leslie would say "I know?" It was really cute. She would say "Deets" instead of thanks. Greg and I still say Deets to one another today,.... I am sure if someone over heard us using our kids "baby" language they would think we were crazy. We are crazy, so it doesn't really matter. :)

She loved to play with toy animals (Wow, what a shock). Her favorites were her mommy animals and their babies. She would play with them for HOURS. If one of the babies were lost no one could sleep that night until it was found. She said the mommy would worry all night long and the baby would be scared.

We purchased a hermit crab for Leslie when she turned 2 and we allowed her to name him. She named him Morning Time Boy. I have no idea where that name came from. When asked why she picked that name she said " Because.......... (giving you a look like you are really stupid for asking) when I get another one I can name him Night Time Boy." Ohhhhhhh, Ok, now we totally get it. :)

When told she was going to have a baby brother or sister Leslie replied, at the age of three, "I hope our baby is a girl... I don't like boys, boys are weasels". (Ha ha ha... Can I get that in writing for when you are 17?? )

Hence the sex determination ultra sound for our second child which we didn't feel necessary for our first. :) If it were going to be a boy... we felt we had better prepare her.

Good thing we did because Nick was on his way. :) After 4 months of preparation she started to say... "I don't like boy, boys are weasels, but not our baby.. he is sweet." We never did get it in writing.... dang it. :)

Leslie has been a wonderful, big sister from day one. She made Nicholas a shirt for him to wear after he was born in her big sibling class at the hospital. She was VERY proud of the shirt and of her new baby brother.

As Greg and I were packing up to leave the hospital Leslie asked if she could hold her brother. We sat her in the over sized chair in the room and placed Nicholas in her lap. We continued to collect my personal items and place them in my bag, not paying really paying attention to what she was saying to him until..... she started singing to him; she sang the Barney song. I love you, you love me, we're a happy family with a great big hug and a kiss from me to you.. won't you say you love me too. Oh my goodness.... Greg and I became motionless while listening to her sing and neither of us had a dry eye. It was so precious.

Leslie also had he-woman strength as a child. She could carry huge cans of food and juice around when she could barely walk. She enjoyed walking to the cupboard to play with dishes, pots and pans as well as our canned food and then she would carry them around. It was a sight to see.

It was also very hard to trick Leslie.... each time she would lose a tooth she would look at me the next morning and say "Mommy, are you sure you didn't put this money in my tooth bank?" I had to go the extreme of inviting our good friend (survivor friends) to come to our house and play "tooth fairy" after Leslie had gone to sleep. Then, when she asked the next morning I could honestly say "No honey... Mommy didn't put that money in your bank". :)

Leslie has been a joy to us from day one. In a nut shell Leslie is smart, loves to read, loves animals and nature, is extremely loyal, does not gossip, will walk outside in the middle of the night to release a spider she found in her room. She loves her family and still enjoys spending time with her parents (my favorite). She is sentimental, sappy, a romantic at heart, a HUGE procrastinator. She enjoys intellectual conversations during long walks, she likes to be silly when she wants to be silly, but not when YOU want her to be silly. :) She loves the Lord and seeks to find his will in every decision in her life. She strongly dislikes being embarrassed, or surprised which in turn embarrasses her.:) She has a weak stomach for discussions of blood, veins, vomit or any other bodily fluid. Her favorite color is green, however recently purple has started to come into the favorite color category too. If she decides to get rid of a stuffed animal and you make it look at her....... she can't get rid of it. :) She is beautiful inside and out and I feel blessed to call her my daughter.

The past 17 years have been full of wonder and joy... I still worry I am not living up to my end of the deal. I can only pray every morning before my feet hit the floor that God will keep our children safe, and that He will give me the strength I need for that day to be the best mother I can be. Even while following God I make many mistakes as a mother and without God I am afraid to think of what kind of mother I might be. Without His grace and love I would be nothing.... but because of Him I can allow my feet to hit the floor in the morning, and I can be a mother who opens herself up to be a vessel of His love for my children.

Leslie is truly a gift from above... and at times I still see that flow of light cascading down from the heavens upon her and I smile and say "thank you". :)

Happy Birthday sweet Leslie. Your daddy and I love you more than you will ever know.

( and could love you even more if you cleaned your room) :) Just kidding...........kinda. :)

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Dragon Slayer

Dragon Slayer..... the tribe has spoken. He is finally gone and off the show Survivor and I couldn't be happier. For those of you who do not watch Survivor, you would be happy too. This man was the most arrogant, annoying, weird person. He continually shared stories from his past where he was abducted by tribal people and tied to a stake and almost beaten to death before escaping. Who does he think he is MacGyver?

When given the reward of a visit from family after 30 some days on the island Coach had his Assistant Coach visit him. Not family.... his assistant soccer coach. I feel so sorry for whatever team (if any) that he coaches. After watching him on Survivor, if he had a team, they may fire him.

I was starting to get nervous because he was not well liked in his tribe.......everyone hated him and who better to take with you to the finals than someone who everyone hates??? You would for sure get every one's vote and win... however, every time someone on this show thinks this way the horrible person ends up winning the million dollars because people say "Well, I didn't like him, but he did play the game well".

Last night on Survivor I thought maybe they would keep "coach" aka Dragon Slayer( which by the way he gave himself that name). But they came through and voted him off. I vowed to not watch it again if they didn't vote him off. I don't think I could have handled another week of watching him.

See for yourself... click here....

We started watching Survivor with our good friends, who live about 1/2 mile down the street, years ago. We rotate houses and eat great food during the show. Now that the kids are older the evening has extended and we now watch Survivor AND CSI. Survivor has lost its luster and it isn't nearly as good as it used to be... at least that is my opinion... maybe I am getting sick of reality TV. However, the company and food continues to get better so we will continue our tradition. :)

It is Friday, the sun is shining and the Dragon Slayer is gone.... it is a good day

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Great News! Thank you God!

Just wanted to take a moment today to say thank you God for answering prayers concerning a dear friend of ours.

One of our friends, who also is our neighbor, (same good friends I played a horrible joke on a while back) had some muscle pain, heaviness in her chest, as well as some swelling in her legs last week. She scheduled an appointment with her family doctor to see what the problem was. They thought the pain in her muscles may be due to the cholesterol medication she recently started taking. They did some blood work, urine analysis, CAT scan of her legs to rule out blood clots as well as an EKG on her heart (she also has a pacemaker so the heart is always a concern) and sent her back to work.

Later in the day the doctor called her at work to inform her the EKG came back with abnormalities and he wanted her to go to the ER. Once in the ER they started talking about congested heart failure; she was scheduled for a CAT scan of her heart.

The CAT scan ruled out congested heart failure (which was a blessing) so her cardiologist decided ordered a heart cath . He went right to the source and found her main artery 85% blocked before AND after the stint they put in a little over a year ago. Once out of recovery the heaviness in her chest was lifted and the swelling started to go down. They drained over 2 liters of fluid out of her body.

We received a phone call from her husband telling us the good news and that she was coming home. YAY!

Later that day she felt intense pain in her groin and abdomen area. Her husband called for a nurse and they immediately started working on her. Apparently the "plug" (natural blood clot from the procedure) had come loose and she was bleeding internally. Several nurses were on her bed pressing on her groin to keep pressure on the area that was bleeding out. They had to rush her to get another CAT scan to see how much bleeding she had internally. Her blood pressure continued to drop and they had to hook her heart up to a defibrillator. You can imagine the fear they must have had. We did not know any of this was taking place until after it was all finished but I couldn't imagine the panic they must have felt.

She is now home and is resting and we all couldn't be more pleased. Thank you Lord for looking over our dear friend and for bringing her through such a stressful experience.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Prom 2009

Well, prom came and went this past weekend. It was a lot like Christmas... you plan and plan for so long and then it is over in a flash. The weekend couldn't have been more perfect... weather included.

Our prom day began with a trip to Bellbrook for Nick to ref a soccer game followed by a manicure and pedicure appointment for Les at noon. The appointment was supposed to run under an hour but we ended up being at the nail salon for 2 1/2 hours. They were running behind and Leslie had the slowest girl (seriously,she was... she even admitted she was the slowest). She was slow, but very good... Leslie's nails were perfect.

The lengthy nail appointment put us an hour behind schedule so we had to mooooove.

On to hair styling.......... Coffee was my first client.

Then Jill......

Aren't her curls beautiful???

Then last but not least..... Leslie.

She absolutely HATES it when I do this... she says brushing your hair in the opposite direction is like pulling your nails backwards. You can tell by the look on her face how much she is enjoying it.

Once hair was finished it was a mad rush to get dressed, do make up, and get in a few "girls only" photos before Anthony arrived. There was make up, hair spray, curling irons, hair clips, jewelry, clothing and shoes as far as the eye could see in our home. :)

The girls were absolutely breathtaking! They looked like princesses straight out of a fairy tale story.

Girls getting sassy.... :)

Over the shoulder pose... :)

The backs of the dresses

Jill and Allison headed out after the photos to meet up with their dates and take family pictures at their house. We squeaked out a couple pictures of just Leslie before Anthony got there...

Les and her daddy...
Close up of jewelry... can you see the sparkle in her right eye?? She was so excited.

Isn't she beautiful??? I know I am her mother, and I would think she was beautiful wearing a trash bag... but even if I weren't her mother I would think she was gorgeous.

then Leslie anxiously awaited Anthony's arrival.

Anthony was very dashing in his tux and the two of them together..... well..... see for yourself..

The corsage and boutonniere presentation was fun to watch....

Anthony placed it on her wrist in slow motion so we could take lots of pictures. :)

Align Center

Leslie was unsure as to how to pin the boutonniere on Anthony.... do you see the worry on his face??

Ok, well just pose and let us get a picture.....

Then Mom can step in and pin it on him for real. :)

Leslie texting friends to see when to meet for the next group of pictures...

Anthony was kind enough to carry all of Leslie's "must have" items for the evening so she didn't have to carry a purse. Must have items included... phone, lip gloss, school ID, after prom ticket, and gum. Greg told Anthony he would have tennis elbow by nights end from retrieving Leslie's phone from his pocket all evening. I think she must have asked for it at least 15 times before they even left our house. :)

Time to head out.....

You can stop taking pictures now mother......

More friends....

Leslie and her friends drove over to their teacher (Mr. Erwin, Environment Management) house to show off their beautiful dresses. They spend two periods a day with this teacher and will have him for two years... they all have a great relationship with him so they wanted him to see them prior to prom.

Then off to another friends house for a group picture with more friends.

Just guys....

Silly guys....

Just girls....

Silly girls.....

From this house they headed to dinner and then to prom. We met back up with them around 12:30am for the after prom. Greg and I helped with check-in and check-out. We purposefully chose the I-J-K-L table so we could see Les when she checked in. :) I have to say as a parent it was wonderful chaperoning the after prom. Not that we need to worry about Leslie, but it was so nice to see when she arrived and then knowing she was safe the whole night. Many students checked in... stayed for 15 minutes and then left. I am sure their parents thought they were at the after prom till 4:0o am. We all fell into bed around 5:00am exhausted from a great day of fun.

It was a great day... a little stressful at times due to time limitations, but so much fun. I enjoyed the time with Leslie's friends before and after prom not to mention the couple nights of "practice" hair styling the week prior to prom. Greg and I couldn't be happier with Leslie's choice of friends as well as date. Anthony is a very nice young man and we look forward to spending more time with him. This weekend confirmed to us how blessed we are to have a wonderful daughter who continues to make wise choices with her life but also spends her time with friends who also are making wise choices in their lives.

Yay God for a great weekend!

PS.. just so everyone knows... Nick was not forgotten this weekend. After being a ref for two soccer games his dad drove him over to spend the night with one of his good friends... he too had a great weekend. :)