Friday, August 30, 2013

Maybe Next time we should just camp in the garage..

A few weekends ago while we had Little Miss we went camping.

I love to camp, I really do!
I do not however like to pack up a wet tent. 
I dislike it even more when it is down pouring while we pack up. 
I absolutely detest it when the tent is leaking and everything inside of the tent is wet in addition to the outside things while it is down pouring!

This is what happened to us our weekend of camping.  It began to sprinkle so we put most things away, but that doesn't help too much when in the middle of the night rain pounds on the nylon over your head and the outside of your sleeping bag is wet from the leaks funneling water through!  At least the kids thought it was super fun!!

Drying everything out and washing everything because it was damp and smelling took awhile and I felt like white trash having my tent up in my garage, but you do what you have to do to make a family adventure fun - right?  right?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

End of an Era...

Tyce getting ready to take the bus to school
Last night I rode with my baby, who is a big kindergartener this year, on a trial run bus ride.  I sat next to him on the bus and watched him as he peered nonchalantly out the window.  He rode the bus to Developmental Kindergarten last year so this was old news for him.  As I watched him I had to hold back the tears.

I'm not worried that he won't find his way or that he will have a hard time separating from me.  I'm not worried that he won't do well in school or about his friend making skills.  My tears were purely selfish.

Kindergarten marks the end of an era. The era of babyhood.  The era of wiping noses, wiping bottoms, carrying a child on a hip, luging the equivalent of a suitcase everywhere you go, and kissing boo boos. 

My baby is now an official attender of school.  He is on the road to picking out all of his own clothes, getting things off of high shelves on his own, making his own lunch, and worst of all refusing my hugs in front of friends!  Starting school means I  can no longer coddle and shelter my little one.  I am being phased out as the most important thing in his life!  The job I have had for the last 10 1/2 years has now drastically changed.  My role as sole provider of food, entertainment, and comfort is no longer the same.  My little shadow is now the leader when we walk down the street.

That's why I have to choke back the tears.  I'm excited for him and all that getting older means, but I'm sad to have to let go little by little.  Having his sweet little hand in mine, his head snuggled into my neck as we cuddle, having his little arms wrap around my neck as I carry him somewhere are all things I can't do in the school halls. (as frequently as I did when he wasn't in school)  I will not miss some of the aspects of babyhood, but it is sad moving on knowing there is no going back to that place of me being number one in his world so yes, these are selfish tears.  (no worries, I'm sure as soon as I am able to go to the grocery store all on my own and take a shower without someone busting through the door I will stop mourning the end of an era and look forward to this new one!)

"Mom!  That's enough pictures!!"


Deja Vu - my poor husband....

As I mentioned in my post about Pentwater, my family and I used to camp there in the summer when I was a teenager.  I invited my girlfriend to come up with me each summer and we were allowed to stay in a tent while my parents and sisters stayed in the motorhome.  I think I got the better end of the deal in this sleeping situation because what teenager doesn't want some freedom from her/his family?!

Camping in the summer was all about meeting boys.  I'm not saying we were boy crazy, but I think that is just what you naturally do as a teenager.  We met a ton of boys while camping and oddly enough I don't remember meeting even one girl!  We hung out with all of the boys each summer.  There was a group we hung out with and then there were a select few that actually turned into boyfriends for my girlfriends and I. 

I'm sure Ryan is tired of my stories of camping and the boys.  I think each time we go back to Pentwater I have another story I remember to tell.  So many things I see trigger memories of the fun we had!  Unfortunately, for Ryan he just has to continue to listen to my silly stories!

My stories have been fueled even more by my last trip to Pentwater because while on the playground with my children by the beach I saw a man playing with his kids who looked familiar to me.  It has been over 20 years since I have seen any of the boys I used to hang out with in Pentwater so I couldn't be sure he was one of them, but I knew if I didn't ask I would kick myself later!  So of course I went up to him and asked him if he was from around here.  When I realized what I sounded like I quickly told him he looked familiar and I used to vacation here and yada yada yada.  Long story short he was who I thought he was!  I even remembered his name and nickname!  Just so you don't think I am a total stalker my girlfriend remembered him too and knew just who I was talking about when I told her I ran into him!  I am still amazed I recognized him after all these years and remembered who he was.  To be completely honest, before we left for Pentwater I got out an old album and showed the kids some old pictures and he was in there so his image was fresh in my mind.

Ahh.. the days of youth gone by.  Sorry Ry, I will continue to come up with more and more stories to share with you and everyone else!  Beware! :)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Last Week the house was full....

Today my house felt EMPTY!  We went from having Little Miss living with us to two soccer coaches staying with us.  They have now all moved on and the house feels a bit empty to me even with my kids and the neighbor kids running in and out!

Little Miss and her escort going to board the plane
So yes, Little Miss is now officially reunited with her family.  I was sent pictures of her at the airport with her mom and dad and of a picture that they took of her later in the day.  She looked so happy and excited!  I miss her, but things look like they ended up how they should.

Two days after Little Miss left we filled the house with two soccer coaches.  They ran a camp through AYSO that all three of the kids attended last week.  One coach was from Scotland and one was from Brazil.  Last year we also hosted coaches.  The two who stayed with us last year were from England.

If you ever have a chance to do something like this I recommend that you do!  I hope that I can go visit all kinds of places in the world, but in case it doesn't happen it really is great to get the inside scoop on them!  Also, these boys (I should say men because one was 28 and the other was 24) are very very good house guests!  They stay with families for the entire time they run the camps moving from city to city and house to house.  They have their own cars and stuff they need to do so they are the easiest guests to have! 

We had so much fun hanging out with them and just listening to them talk!  For awhile we were believing that Sean Connery was living with us!  I have to say that their energy and enthusiasm helped us all ease out of our loss of Little Miss and get ready for what lies ahead!  My only regret is that I forgot to have Jonny from Scotland put on his quilt for us!!
Jackson at camp
Lola waiting for instructions from Coach

Coach Reinaldo (he stayed with us) and his team

The coaches handing out awards
Jackson and his team


Water fight!  Surrendering to Tyce
The coaches signed the kids' shirts

A day on the lake!  Jonny and Jackson going tubbing!

Reinaldo as the spotter

Jonny and Reinaldo

Lucky for us, both the coaches were trained bartenders!
Jonny helping out with the sliding at the pool party

Having fun at the pool!

Doing push-ups with the kids on his back!

Last day of soccer camp

A night out in GR with the coaches

Jonny had some great dance moves!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

20th Reunion! (am I really that old??)

While I was in high school I hated it.  I was not a fan of the cliques, the peer pressure, and all of the unknowns about where you stood in the world.  Don't get me wrong, I did have some fun times with my friends and had some friendships I will treasure forever, but as far as people saying that high school is the best time in your life, I would have to disagree. I was relieved to leave high school and leave it all behind.

Back in the day... (8th grade - I'm in the middle)
High school is rough!  There is so much change happening each and every day to you and those around you that it is hard to keep up and keep it all straight!   One false move and your life could be destroyed.  (at least it appeared that way to me back then)  I know that if I were in high school at this point in my life, having the attitude I have now and knowing what I know now, I would have behaved so much differently.  I'm certain I would have been in much more trouble for starters! (so it is probably a good thing I was nervous and na├»ve)

Umm.... nice hair and nice face!  LOL! (10th grade)
This weekend I attended my 20th high school reunion.  I can not believe that it has been 20 years since I sang my school song and agonized over which way to walk down the hall during 15 minute break.  The night before the reunion I got together with a few of my old friends and we looked at pictures.  My first thought was "Wow!  Look at my hair."  My second thought was that high school maybe wasn't all that bad after all!  The pictures showed a lot of fun times and brought back great memories!  Because really, I turned out very happy and the events that occurred around me or to me in high school just made me that much stronger and prepared me for what things may come ahead!  If "Meatball" hadn't have teased me and made up nick names about my body for two years straight, I may have thinner skin now and not able to deal with the harsher things of life. If rumors hadn't have been spread maybe I would be too serious about what people thought of me now.  So maybe if I try to find all of the good out of the agony I thought I faced, it wasn't half bad.

Stacey and I getting ready to head into the reunion
However, when I walked into the reunion all of that anxiety came back.  I wasn't in the "in" crowd and I don't hang out with the people I used to 20 years ago.  My perception of everyone I was in school with remained the same even if their faces had aged and their attitudes had changed.  It's a good thing my attitude has changed because I took a second to think of how I had changed and then just dove right in!

You know what I found out?  Although some of my classmates presented themselves similar to how they had in high school, the majority had changed for the better.  (not that they were all bad in high school- it is just that we had all grown-up and matured)   I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was when I found myself having very enjoyable conversations with people who 20 years ago weren't all that kind or considerate toward me.  All of my trepidations toward them went quickly out of my mind as I established a new perception.  I loved that!  It was like making new friends with people I had history with.  And I think and hope I did make some new friends.  It was a very fun night and I'm glad I didn't let my old anxieties and hang ups hold me back!  I'm glad I have grown up! (well maybe that isn't the right way to put it because I don't always act like that much of a grown-up!!!)

So much fun with old friends!

Made a stop at the old stomping grounds!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Two Lola's in the House!

"Lola" even looks like Lola!
Yesterday we took Little Miss to the store with an agenda of getting her a doll.

I wish I could post a picture of her walking through the store with the doll!  She was so excited!  She immediately named the doll "Lola" and began to sing to her!  It was the sweetest thing!  

I got her the doll because one she has nothing, two she loves dolls and plays with Lola's all the time, and three because she is leaving soon and I thought it may help her on her long airplane ride.

So far her doll has not left her side!  She has done her hair many times and actually colored part of her hair green when I wasn't looking!  She has all of the children playing dolls with her.  I love seeing Tyce and Jackson doing whatever she says which is pretty amazing since she says it all in Spanish!  Yes, she has us all wrapped around her little three year old finger!

We have been using the doll to help ease anxiety for her upcoming travels and to demonstrate things like saying sorry to get out of timeout.  Who knew a doll could be so useful!  It does get a little confusing when talking about her by her name though!  Our Lola is taking it in stride and is delighted that Little Miss names the doll after her!


A Little Piece of My Heart

So glad these three have my heart!
Last night I did my rounds on the children before I went to bed.  You know the drill.  You re-cover them, take the truck out from under a face, and check that they are breathing.  As I covered Little Miss back up, she stirred and made a whimpering noise.  Uh oh!  She turned and looked at me and I thought for sure my night was taking a non-sleeping turn!  As her eyes focused on me she smiled the biggest smile showing her dimples, mumbled something in Spanish, turned over and went back to sleep.

That is why we do this.  To keep the children safe, protected, and happy.  Of course I get something out of it too.  My heart swelled to know that she felt safe and happy in the middle of the night in a strange house with new people.  And even though I am attached to her and my heart will break a little when she leaves tomorrow, I think that her well being is worth way more then some of my heart going with her.  I find I always have enough of my heart left to give more!

And yes, she is set to leave tomorrow.  We do not have a flight confirmation yet so it could change, but soon she will be reunited with her family!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Flexibilty in Travel and Football

I'm a big planner when it comes to vacations, especially if they are going to be short.  If I don't know what there is to see and do when I am someplace how can I take advantage of it?  So before I leave on any trip I research a ton and send away for brochures.  Kind of nerdy I know, but Ryan is always very thankful when I pull out coupons or maps with options on what to do and where to go.  I look like a geeky tourist at times, but I am proud of it!

I am also a big believer in being flexible on vacations and trips.  You have to open enough to stray from your original plan or you may miss something really amazing!

Last week Ryan had business in Colorado and I tagged along.  We spent our first day in Denver.  I spent my afternoon by the pool reading while Ry met with a client.  In the evening we went out to eat with clients.

We went to a place called The Fort.  It is in Denver and the prices are up there, but it is so with it!  

The restaurant was built by a family having been inspired by a historic fort.  You can see the straw in the bricks so it is very authentic.  The views are breathe taking and the food is superb!!  I had a buffalo filet for the first time and it about melted in my mouth!  I tried to talk Ry into trying some Rocky Mountain Oysters, but he wasn't feeling up to the challenge!  At any rate, the dinner was fantastic and the company was even better!  I have no idea what Ry talks about when he talks business, but I love chatting and getting to know his clients!  No wonder he loves his job much!  He works with some great people in and out of his office!!

The next day our plan was to head up to Boulder and then on to Fort Collins because Ryan had to end up there for business.  However, on our way out of the hotel the night before we saw a notice on the wall about the Denver Broncos Training Camp.  It was right down the road from us and it was happening that next morning!  Our plans changed just like that!

That morning instead of heading straight to Boulder, we got up early and headed over to the training camp.  I am not a die-hard Bronco fan or even a huge football fan, but going to Training Camp was AWESOME and I may now be a much bigger fan!

Ry in front of the field
Everything is free.  You can google the directions and address of the field.  They have a ton of people around to direct everyone to parking.  You want to get there an hour early so you don't have to park in the boondocks and get a good seat on the field.  Fans are permitted to sit on a little hill on the side of the field.  A small white rope sitting on the ground is the only thing that separates you from the players.  They begin packing people on the hill at the 50 yard line and spread out on either side as more people come in.  There are some trees on the hill, but you aren't guaranteed to sit under any so be prepared!  It would also be a good idea to bring a blanket to sit on.  You can not bring chairs or strollers and they wouldn't work on the hill anyways.  Water is provided for $1 and there are porta-potties on site.  After training the players sign autographs as well so that is a huge added bonus!

My boots and the practice field
Our position on the little hill was perfect.  I told Ryan that I could get down the hill, tackle Payton Manning and Demaryius Thomas all before "security" would get to me!  That is how close we were!  (It would have been so worth it, but I refrained myself)  You could hear Payton calling out the plays and hear the players joking around with each other as well as see their expressions.  It's a good idea to be watching the field at all times because some of those plays accidently run into the hill! 

Greeting fans before the training starts

Running plays!

They video tape the training so they ask fans to sit down on the hill and not stand, but during their stretching all of the fans stood and stretched right along with the players.  That was fun because the players really feed off of the enthusiasm of the crowd and I'm sure some of us look a bit crazy!

I absolutely loved watching practice!  They have it very well organized with a timer and they rotate from place to place and skill to skill.  I would do it again in a heartbeat!  There was just something about being right down so close to the action that makes it that much better!  And wow are some of those guys HUGE! 


Payton Manning

This close!!!