Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Anniversary for Pottery (or Willow)

Today is our 9th wedding anniversary! Happy Anniversary Matt! It's been 9 wonderful years of marriage. I can't wait to see what the future holds. You've been a devoted husband, caring father, and so much more for me and our little family. Thanks for everything you've meant to me! And here's to many more years of happiness together!

And for a little blast from the past:
The oldest photo I could find from when we were dating. Christmas Dance at our high school from our sophomore year. We'd already been dating for a year here. We were babies. I was only 15 years old.
This is Christmas the next year, our junior year. (And me with my lovely braces.)
And Homecoming in the fall of our Senior year. (My braces had just come off.) I freaked out a little looking at this photo, because Rachel (my sister) and I look so much alike. Scary to me looking back at this. (We never realized how much we looked alike until we were older. No one ever mentioned that we looked so similar.)
Senior Prom. We were pretty serious at this point.
And finally a photo from our wedding day. This was two years after the last photo. Didn't seem like it at the time, but we were so young then.

And we lived happily ever after!

Monday, July 27, 2009

I Need a Vacation

Thank goodness our vacation is coming up quickly. Matt needs a break from work. And I think we need some time away from everything. Time to rest and relax. Time to spend together as a family. And time to have some fun!

If there is one thing that we've always made a priority, it's a vacation. We set a little aside each month to go into our vacation fund. We know every year that there will be money for a nice vacation.

We anticipate it and look forward to it for days/weeks/months/(a whole year?). This year we weren't able to schedule our vacation too far in advance because of both of our work situations. But now I have nothing holding me back, and Matt was able to work things out. And it wasn't as difficult for him to get time off as we thought it might be.

Anyway, I always forget to ask people for advice on fun things to do in the areas we go. And I find out after the fact that we missed out on fun activities or great places to eat.

We are headed to Muskegon, Michigan this year. We've never been there. We'll be staying at the Shoreline Inn & Suites. It's right on Muskegon Lake and very near Lake Michigan. It looks like there are plenty of places to check out. Plus there is a pool and hot tub at our hotel, and we're near two big lakes with lots to do.

But just in case, dear readers, anyone been there before? Have advice on places we should stop?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Fashion Preview a la Zachariah

Thus begins the Summer (with Fall & Winter included) Fashion Show 2009 by Zachariah, age 3. All items purchased at our local Old Navy store. Some new Fall items, and a bunch of (cheap) clearance items. Zachariah likes fashion, but his parents still aren't willing to pay a fortune for it. (Plus we got all lucky and won this coupon and stuff.)


Jump up in the air...like you just don't care.



Ready? Aaaand jump with that "Camp Runamuk" T-shirt.



I sense you're ready to pounce in that Lil' Kahuna T-shirt.



Zachariah does have his own unique (I use that loosely) ways. This outfit was in no way purchased to be an "outfit". (Both of these items are bigger and meant for next summer.)



Oooh, look at those big (little guy) muscles. And such cute swim trunks for next year.



That is the orneriest look. Just what are you about to do in those too big pants?



And tip toe, tip toe, tip toe through the house.



Sensible and neat enough for wearing to dinners and church as well.



For those chilly winter days, you'll definitely need this thermal shirt. It's sure to match anything.



And last but not least, a warm snugly fleece hoodie with matching pants. Zachariah already has plans to wear these out in the snow this winter to make snow angels. (Ask him, he'll tell you all about it.)


And that completes this Fashion Show. Stay tuned for a follow-up event. (We won another Old Navy coupon that we used this week. Yep, we're on a roll.)

Don't miss out

Matt has a nice giveaway going on his blog. He's giving away a $25.00 BP gas card. I'm sure anyone could use that. Be sure to enter.

On my review blog, PS Mom Reviews, I have a giveaway posted right now for a Shaun the Sheep DVD giveaway as well. Be sure to get in on that. Plus I'll have some more movies up within the next week. (Need to catch up before we leave for vacation.)

Also at PS Mom Reviews I have a new review posted about a great diaper bag that I had the opportunity to use. Go see for yourselves. It was a JJ Cole bag from All Modern Baby. Sarah from Semi-desperate Housewife even noticed it at church and commented about what a cute bag it is.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Helping Hand

My sister, Rachel, and her husband just bought their first house. They are so excited about it. It needs some work and is dated, but they are already remodeling some things.

It was worth buying this house for them. They got a great low price on it, and therefore have the money they need to put in improvements they want. They are both very handy and have many friends who can help. It won't take long to have it looking exactly like they want.

I went over there yesterday (about an hour drive) to help do some painting. All the rooms need painted, so we had a big job. My mom, dad, grandmother, and Rachel were there working hard when I arrived. We finished painting the living room, hallway, and two of the bedrooms.

I did plenty of work. I was climbing on ladders painting by the ceiling, using the rollers to paint the walls, using a brush to do edging in a few rooms, and even crawled around in a closet to help my grandmother paint. (That closet probably would never have been painted if my grandma hadn't decided it needed it...Rachel really didn't care. Then I ended up doing most of the work. Ha!) I even put some hard labor in helping to scrape the flooring off in the kitchen and utility room.

By the time I got home my back was aching. And my legs were cramping up. I had a hard time with leg cramps while I was sleeping too. And I woke up a little stiff. Honestly, though, I'm not as sore as I thought I might be. I guess it proves to myself that I can do hard work like that more often. I just always dread it, but I enjoy helping when I'm actually doing it.

If I wasn't worn out enough already, I'll be going back again today. I told Rachel that I'd come help paint some more. The kitchen didn't get touched yesterday, neither did the utility room. There is also a small half bath, but my mom said I could leave that for her. (I think I will, it's a small tight space.) Rachel was feeling a lot of pressure to have things done. They are having flooring put in this week, and there were things that needed done before that. And her husband is working lots of hours between two jobs right now, so Rachel felt she needed to do a lot. I could see that she was stretching herself thing, that's why I told her I'd help another day.

I know in the end it will all be done. They really aren't pushed to move in soon, so that helps. But they only had a small window of time for their friend to do the flooring for them. Plus they gutted most of their bathroom, and all that needs to be finished as well.

Rachel has helped me with many things at my house. In fact she and Jared helped me paint the living room while Matt was in Africa last fall. (There are still some things that need finished with that...maybe I'll be motivated to work on it now.)

So it feels good that there are some ways that I can return the favors and help her out once in a while too. Besides, I know there will be more times when I need her help again myself. That's what family is for, and I love it.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Shopping Trip at Old Navy


Guess what we did earlier this week? We went to Old Navy. They are having great sales on summer clothes, starting to bring in fall items, and giving out tons of coupons online.


Have you heard of OldNavyWeekly.com? It's a new website that Old Navy opened. They are giving away lots of great coupons on there. They are always limited, though. But we have heard of people getting up to $75 off a $100 purchase coupons and % off ones too.


Matt was lucky enough to win a coupon from a giveaway on a blog. We got $65 off a $100 purchase. So off to Old Navy we went. (Too bad we couldn't use it online, they don't carry plus-sizes for me in the store.) We only spent $40 and got a ton of clothes (mostly for the kid).


So here are the things we purchased. As you can see already most of it was for Zachariah. He's the one who goes through clothes the fastest around here, so it was a great time to stock up on some things for him. But I did manage to get some new flip-flops, and Matt found a pair of comfy pants.
For Zachariah- a few warm things for this winter (3T sized clothes):


And a few things in the next size up for next summer (4T sizes):

Some pants in the next size that are a tiny bit long right now, but everything else is short or getting short on him. (These are 4T for my tall boy.)

And some shirts that will fit now, but are big enough to last a while. (These are all 3T, Old Navy shirts fit him a little big.)

This I've already shown, but it's so cute together. I picked up the pants, because they were cheap on clearance (and the way we go through pants around here he could use more). I was a little worried about finding things to match the green pants later on...until I spotted this shirt. Adorable!

Next time...Zachariah models these items for your viewing pleasure.

Friday, July 10, 2009

TGIF

Thank goodness it's Friday!

I don't know why, but this hasn't been the best week. Maybe it's my monthly visitor that left my grumpy on Monday. (What a way to start the week.) Maybe it's our old, uncomfy mattress on our bed. (New one coming tomorrow.) Maybe it's the lack of tutoring and being around the kids I love. Who knows really.

Today I was going to take Zachariah to his first movie at the movie theater. A few weeks ago we got free passes to go see the new "Ice Age" movie. But we couldn't use them for the first week, because they won't accept passes. Today is the first day you can use passes. I checked the ticket again this morning to make sure I didn't miss anything, and I found out it's only good Monday-Thursday. So, we'll have to wait until next week now. I did promise him a movie here at home complete with popcorn.

Matt and I are ready for a vacation. We usually take an early summer vacation, but that just didn't work out this year. We really were waiting until I was done tutoring to schedule something. And he also has a few work conflicts that haven't come up in the past. So we have to work around that also. I think we did settle on a location finally, but we'll have to pick a week and hope we can get into a hotel. I think we'll both feel more settled after a week away.



*****
My sister had her 6 week check-up with her OB/Gyn yesterday. In case you didn't know, my sister miscarried her first baby a while ago. They paid to have an autopsy done. They thought it might help them get some peace of mind (or possibly help them understand and problems she may have carrying babies).

Rachel was very active during her pregnancy (just as she is normally). With her doctors OK she had continued playing hockey, working at her job (which involves lifting heavy packages for a well-known delivery company), and driving her motorcycle too. When she found out at 18 weeks along that she'd lost the baby somewhere around 16 weeks, she was devastated. Of course she wondered if it was something she'd done. It never appeared that way, and she never had any problems while doing any of her activities. From the beginning the doctor did not think the miscarriage was anything that she did. But there was still that nagging in the back of her head.

The doctor told them about the results. Basically the baby had a developmental problem. The urethra did not form properly and started to invert into the bladder. I can't remember the name of it, but it is VERY rare. This doctor didn't think he'd ever seen it before, and the chances for it happening again for a future baby for her as almost nothing.

Rachel felt good about hearing the results. It was nothing she did. It was not a genetic problem that would keep happening to other babies. There is nothing wrong with her. And there is no reason they can't have many healthy babies. She got the go ahead to start trying again.

Fortunately for them, they got pregnant right away the first time. So I have no doubts it will happen quickly again. I pray that all goes well next time. This has been a growing experience, and that's how Rachel has looked at it. She mourned for a short time, and then knew that it was meant to be. God led her through this, and she has a better outlook on life now.

An amazing woman...that's what my sister is!

Monday, July 6, 2009

A Fresh Start

I feel like this week is a fresh start for us. This is my first week NOT tutoring at the learning center, for me in almost 5 years. But it's also my first week as a full-time stay at home mom. (Which I was before, but I also did the tutoring job with my son.)

I realize that 10 hours a week of tutoring doesn't seem like it would be such a disruption to a stay at home mom's schedule. And really, it was very doable. But it does make a big difference in our days. And now without that, our days will be quite different.

There will be an adjustment period I'm sure. The first week, I don't think we'll notice too much. I have taken that much time off before from work. But when it's week after week, it will make a difference.

One of the first things I know that we need is a routine. I like to be loose about scheduling, so we can still have fun and do things we want to do when we want to do them. But there are certain parts to our day that need a little work already.

I suppose with some work, we'll find our groove. And it will be something that works for us.

Part of a routine I will work on. Part of it, I will just let be as is or just let is happen on it's own. Plus summer is so different. I'm a lot less structured anyway in summer. It's fun to be able to go to the park when we want or whatever.

I think most of what I'm worried about is keeping up with the house. I need a better cleaning routine. And there are other projects that need done around here, that I need to make time for too.

I know with a little work and determination it will all happen. And I'm excited about the prospects.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Another year closer to 30...

Today is my birthday. No big fanfare or party or presents. But I'm OK with that.

My sweet husband and son are taking me out to dinner tonight. I get to choose where we'll go. I'm leaning towards a local steakhouse. Nothing else sounds particularly good here in our town, so that will do.

We've been shopping around for a new mattress. I think we'll go get that purchased tonight before dinner too. Happy Birthday to me, I guess.

And my birthday's always a little up-staged by the 4th of July celebrations. But I've never minded that too much either, because I feel like it's one big birthday celebration instead. Ha!

We are going to my parents' house this weekend. We might go see some more fireworks (we already saw some last weekend). And I'm really looking forward to swimming. It better warm up a bit for that.

Today has probably been the coldest I ever remember it being on my birthday. It's pretty typical that I have a HOT birthday. But that's always made it fun for picnics, swimming, and other things. Today...not so much. The high today...68. Not that I'm complaining, it doesn't feel too bad. And I know you people in Texas are sweltering. Come here for vacation...we'll cool you off. Might only be another day though. It should be warm enough to swim this weekend. Yay!

Hope that you all have a great week. I know many people are taking vacations. Enjoy it either way.

And thank you mom for pushing me into this world today...many years ago. I completely repect that now it should be more about you and not me.