Monday, October 20, 2008

Pumpkins and Parties

Another weekend has hit the dust, and we didn't waste a minute of it, that's for sure!

The kids were off of school on Thursday and Friday for Parent/Teacher Conferences. A nice little fall break. We decided it would be fun to meet some friends for breakfast and travel down south a piece to do some apple picking on Friday. We weren't sure the weather was going to cooperate (we had rain and hail during breakfast) - but our trusty meteorologist, Roger, assured us that the clouds would soon part and the rains blow away. He was correct and we had an awesome day! We came home with 13 dozen apples, and two pumpkins. I let the really helpful lady at the orchard talk me into buying a "pie" pumpkin, and she gave me some great instructions for how to cook it down to make pumpkin puree. Wish me luck this next week!

On Saturday, we had the requisite soccer game in the morning. Emma played goalie for the second half of the game - and she rocked! She even had the game saving play when she caught a mid-air attempt at a goal from the other team. All of the parents were quiet as we watched the ball sailing toward the goal - then the crowd erupted as Emma trapped it in her arms and saved the day! The Banana Splits tied the game and have yet to lose a game this season! Later, that evening we hosted a party at our house for the entire Golf Course Management staff. We had a blast, the food turned out well, the weather was great, and we introduced everyone to a little game of L,C,R! I actually won three times! We also celebrated Roger's boss, Ed's birthday with cake and homemade ice cream. Thanks Bunny and Kelly! We hope everyone had as much fun as we did. We really enjoyed having everyone at our house for the first time ever!

Sunday morning had us traveling south once again to the Powell Pumpkin Patch in Louisburg, Kansas for our annual fall family outing. My mom and step dad love to take everyone to the "patch" for corn mazing, pumpkin picking and the all important corn tossing fights. Thanks mom for the underwear full of corn! It was greatly appreciated. After, we headed back to Mom and Clink's for tacos. The kids had fun "planting" the stepping stones they had each created with Grandma. Then, Bucca enlisted help from all of the grandkids to clean up the hedge apples. It was crazy to see Aaron driving the rider mower and pulling the trailer while all of the "little kids" tossed in the hedge apples. They are all getting so big - it is funny to look back at the early pictures and see how much the have all grown!

Hope you all had as much fun as we did this weekend! It think I will need this whole next week to recover!


Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday, Monday

We had another great weekend at Beaver Lake with our friends the Crofts and the Rogers. We broke in the new "Big Mabel" which was a blast. Elizabeth and I had quite a ride when Tim decided to catch a passing boat's wake and we "caught some air" and flipped right off. The pictures are hilarious! The water was pretty chilly! My face tells it all! Once again, a good time was had by all! Thanks again Joni and Tim for sharing your home and weekend with all of us!

Short week for the kids this week at school because of parent teacher conferences. Emma is finally back to normal after an episode of strep throat last week. Zach has dodged the bullet so far. I think we will try to do some apple picking on Friday, depending on the weather.

I started a new exercise program at Bally with my friend Elizabeth this morning. She is working on getting her personal training certification, and is helping me get back in shape and hopefully lose some of this extra weight I have been carrying. Wish me luck! It felt great this morning - hopefully I can keep the momentum going!

Rog and I are hosting a party for his work crew at our house this Saturday night. So, will start today getting the yard and house ready for that. I am hoping for good weather so we can move the party outdoors - it is such a great time of the year for that. This is the first time everyone has gathered at our house, so will be fun to spend some time together!

I will try to post some pics from the weekend later today. Have a great week!


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sick Kiddo

Nothing like a couple of days stuck at home with a sick kid. Emma has strep throat and is eagerly awaiting a fever free day so she can return to school. I'm not complaining about my forced time at home. The only thing I have missed so far is a "Team Building" Inservice for work today. And, yes, it would have been nice to earn a few free CEUs (since I still need 25 hours before December 31st), but oh well - I didn't really want to go anyway! Yesterday was spent hanging out on the couch most of the day with Emma, catching up on all of the shows I have been DVRing. Today I have been a bit more productive - laundry, setting up new email, cleaning up loose ends for PTO . . . you get the drill.

Emma just took her temperature (96.6) and has now asked if we can go to Justice. "Yes sweetie, right after we take daddy's car to NTW to get a new tire." Bummer to leave for work, only to realize you have a flat and must change a tire, then figure out how to get to Lawrence and back on a donut. Not a wise choice - driving to Lawrence on a donut. So, kindly ask wife if she can work that out for you. "No problem honey. Because I am the best wife in the whole wide world!" So Emma and I will be heading to NTW later today to see if we can spend even more money on our cars this month! (My poor budget is shot to heck now!)

On a more positive note - I had a fabulous weekend with my mom, her best friend (Marilyn) from high school, and my friends Shelly and Julie. We traveled to Lake Fort Scott, stayed in a fabulous lake house that belongs to Marilyn's son, and scrapbooked the whole weekend away! Mom and Marilyn really spoiled us with food, pampering and presents! We had a "scrapbooking intervention" and convinced Shelly that she really didn't need to scrapbook every single photo she has ever taken! She felt like a big weight was lifted from her shoulders and is now very close to finishing her son's album. We also had some 'laugh so hard that you almost pee your pants' moments. The best was when I went to crawl into bed at about 12:00am on Friday night and the head of my bed proceeded to collapse to the floor. I'm sure it was hilarious for Shelly when she turned around and saw my arms and legs flying in the air. Important to note - she laughed her butt off before asking me if I was okay! I forgive you Shell! And, thanks for a fabulous time Mom and Marilyn! Can't wait to do it again!

I don't think Roger had as much fun hanging out with the kids by himself all weekend. He had to manage a soccer game, and two softball games pretty much on his own (although I did gather all of the gear in a nice pile so he didn't have to search for shinguards or jerseys). It didn't help that Emma was inching closer to illness as the weekend progressed. She did manage to score a goal in her soccer game Saturday morning - then proceeded to leave the field crying because she couldn't breathe.

And, no, I didn't not reach my last month's goal of blogging once each week. So, I will try again this month. Let's see if I can manage it!

Have a great Tuesday,


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Taking a Deep Breath!

Okay, so the kids just left for school in the big, extended van with our neighbor Anne, and three of her six children. Wow, and I thought my life was chaotic! Sigh! I now have 4 hours of uninterrupted time for me! First on the agenda is to get this blog post cranked out.

Zach had his first Cub Scout den and pack meetings last week. He looked so handsome in his little uniform. We had quite the melt-down about the button-up shirt - lots of tears and kicking of the feet - but after he found out his best friends would be wearing the same uniform, he gave in. That is him on the right, with his good friends Aidan, Sammy, Cole (and Sammy's little sister, Maisy - she is never very far from Zachy B!). Zach is most excited that in a few years the cub scouts will learn about pocket knives. Like father, like son, I guess!

Emma's soccer team (The Banana Splits) played on Saturday morning - and shut out the other team (The Penguins) four to zero! She was a star at goalie - nothing was getting past that girl. It did help that daddy was on the sidelines near the goal making sure she stayed awake! Loved her dance moves when she thought no one was looking! Hilarious!

On Sunday night Emma had a softball game. Don't ask me what the score was - it is way to hard to keep track! It was a pretty evenly matched game. The highlight was Emma as pitcher! She did a great job - once she got over her jitters. Her pitches were controlled and straight - they just don't always make it over the plate. Now we just have to work on getting her a little more power and she will rock!

Update: Emma received a 100% on her bug project! Way to go Squirm! I will post a pic of the "bug picnic" later this week.

I am now off to clean up and start working on the many unfinished projects that litter my home! Now that I have some extra time, my goal is to complete at least one unfinished project a week. Keep your fingers crossed for me. My project this week is to complete the recipe books that I started as a gift for my sister-in-law last Christmas. (I was sidetracked when my inkjet printer decided to give out on me. I really need to replace it, but haven't taken the time to do the research.) Anyway, I will post a picture of the completed project later this week - that should keep me honest!

Have a great week!


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Chaos, Chaos Everywhere!

I realize I have once again not been very punctual with my blogging - and I intend to fix that. In a perfect world I would blog every day - but this is definitely not a perfect world and you all would get tired of hearing that much about all of us Billings here in Kansas. So, I'm shooting for once a week. Let's see if I can reach my goal this month!

We are well into school now, and things have been going really well. I think better than we expected, especially for Zach. He was very nervous about starting, since his two "best friends in the whole wide world" got a different teacher. But, he has risen to the occasion and is shining in his new classroom. We are lucky to have scored two of the best teachers at Walnut Grove this year! Of course, Emma always shines. She just finished her "bug project" and has to turn it in on Thursday. I will share pics later in the week. It turned out really cute - and I promise that she did most of the work herself - even though it doesn't look like she did!

We had an awesome Labor Day holiday. We traveled to Beaver Lake with our friends, the Rogers and the Crofts, and had tons of fun boating, swimming, eating, drinking and playing games. The Rogers and Crofts introduced us to a new game called "Center, Left, Right" that was a blast. Roger and Joni were the big winners. Next time you are at our house we will teach the ins and outs of the game! Thanks once again Joni, Tim, Sammy and Maisy for a great weekend!!!!!

This past weekend we were able to hook up with Roger's friend from Graceland, Todd, who was in town with his Florida Atlantic women's volleyball team. We haven't seen Todd in about 6 years - so it was great to catch up! We picked up Richard (another of Roger's friends from Graceland who we also haven't seen in a while) and headed down to UMKC to watch some volleyball and hook up with Todd. We all decided that Todd hadn't changed much at all - except for maybe a few new gray hairs that weren't there before!

Saturday night we headed out to our friends Tammy, Austin and Savannah's house for a party. Friday night was Treads and Threads - a benefit for the KU Med Cancer Center. The friends and family of Cary Martin have raised over $30,000 to support this great cause - and so Tammy had a tent at the event and was able to invite 42 guests to enjoy an evening of music, food, and drink in honor of Cary. Unfortunately, Rog was out of town until late Friday night, so we were unable to join in the festivities - but we got to hang with everyone at the Martin's on Saturday night and laugh at all of the fun stories from Friday night. There were lots of friends and family in from out of town. It is so cool to see all of the people that Cary brought together in his life. His smile and laughter are so deeply missed.

We are gearing up for a rainy weekend - hoping softball practice, soccer games and softball games are cancelled and we can hibernate for a few days! I am really just kidding - we love to watch our kids at whatever they are doing!


Monday, August 11, 2008

Chaos Control

Wow, I feel like someone put a little zippy drug in my morning coffee! I am having a very productive day! Laundry is almost done, kitchen is cleaned up, cleaning is done . . . I think this back to school thing has triggered my nesting instinct! (Plus, I was down with a cold over the weekend and I am feeling much better now!)

Zach and Emma are having a blast today with their good friends Sammy and Maisy. I guess the next few days will be "one last hurrah" before school starts on Thursday. We did secretly find out which teachers our kids have, and we are worried that Zach will be really disappointed that his two best friends are in another classroom together without him. We can't decide if we should tell him before "Sneak-a-peak" on Wednesday night. Wish us luck with that one. Emma seems to have scored a really good teacher this year - and we know for sure that her good friend Carter will be in class with her. She is excited!

I forgot to put in my last post that Roger and I have been playing kick ball! The team we play on is made up of other parents/friends from our school. We are having a blast! And, the kids are having fun hanging out with their friends and cheering us on. It is too cute to hear your six year old yelling "You can do this mom!" from the sidelines! So far, our team has won one game and lost two. We pretty much got our booties handed to us by a bunch of 20-30 year olds these past two weeks - but, hey, at least we are out there making the effort! We still have a few more games left - so I will keep you posted. I will try to get Rog to take some pics so you can see us at our finest!

We spent the remainder of our weekend watching the Olympics from Beijing. Wow! I have been so impressed and mesmerized by how beautiful everything looks! Beijing has really outdone themselves! We cheered for Phelps and the other relay swimmers last night as they took gold! We watched the women's gymnastics team and bit our finger nails! We also watched the men's basketball team beat China! I was amazed to learn that badminton is still a recognized sport in the Olympics - and man those guys are good! I really want to catch the synchronized diving - that boggles my mind as well!

Have a great Monday!


Friday, August 8, 2008

A Beautiful Day in Kansas

I am updating today as I sit outside with my "farmer boy" husband. The weather is beautiful for an August day in Kansas - 79 degrees and tolerable! Makes us wonder how bad this winter might be - because you have to pay sometime! Rog is telecommuting from home today, and the kids and I are getting ready to meet our friends the Duffy's (Aunt JoJo and the boys) for a short field trip to the Gardner pool and water extravaganza. I'll let you know how that goes!

Things around here have been chaotic as usual. We have been making preparations for the kids to return to school next Thursday. Can't really believe that summer is almost over! But mom is ready for some much earned "alone time" to get some current projects "nailed up" and begin some new ones. The kids also seem to be craving a little more structure in their lives these days, so a return to school may be just what the doctor ordered!

Zach will be a first grader this year, and is excited about two recesses and lunch at school, but is nervous about having to be there all day. He is very much hoping that his two "best friends" (Sammy and Cole) will be in his new classroom. We have our fingers crossed! Emma will be in third grade this year, and has already decided on her first day of school "outfit", much to mom's dismay! It seems she will be wearing a large tie-dye shirt and athletic shorts - not a "dress-up" outfit (which would make mom happy). It is lovely having a tom-boy for a daughter! (Can you hear the sarcasm?) Actually, I am glad that she has her own opinions and spirit - it really defines who she is.

Rog (aka "farmer boy") has really outdone himself this year with the garden. We have more tomatoes than we know what to do with. The kids and I have been delivering tomato "care-packages" to any and all of our neighbors who will accept, and Rog has already made two giant batches of salsa! Give us a call if you would like to sample the salsa, or if you are in need of a "care-package". We hope to have watermelon, green beans and zuchini soon. We will keep you posted.

I am getting closer to my goal of erradicating all of the wallpaper in our house. This past Sunday, my mom drove up from "the farm" to help tear the nasty wallpaper off of the walls of our living room. We worked from 9:00 am until about 6:00 pm, but we were successful! I now need to clean the rest of the glue from the walls and repair any damaged areas - then I can paint. What a refreshing feeling! Anyone interested in helping paint - just let me know! Thanks mom - you are an angel!

Oh yes - and I must not forget the exciting news that Rog has finally purchased his new iphone! After checking the AT&T stores, the apple stores here and in St. Louis, and many profanities - he was able to stand in line at the Leawood store all for the pleasure of that little bit of Apple goodness! He is very happy indeed! In fact, all of the pictures I have included today were taken with his iphone! I can't wait until I am eligible for a phone upgrade in September - maybe then they will have released a pink one! I will keep my fingers and toes crossed!

That's enough for now. I will let everyone know how the first days of school go! Happy Friday!


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Wow - I just realized it has been some time since my first post!  Lots of chaos here!

Hope everyone had a fun and safe July 4th weekend!  We were really lucky to have the opportunity to spend the weekend at Beaver Lake with Zach's best friend and his family.  We had a fun and relaxing time - lots of laughs - and were really glad we decided at the last minute to go!  This was the first time swimming in a lake for our kids. Once we convinced them that the fish stayed really deep, we had a hard time getting them out!  Zach even did an accidental dive off the side of the boat that made the parents gasp - but all turned out well!  Always great when you find another family that are easy and fun to be around!  Thanks Sammy, Maisy, Joni and Tim! 

Our plans to hit the pool with friends today have been spoiled by a sudden thunderstorm.  So, we are stuck at home (which mom finds to be a good thing!)  We have cupcakes in the oven, laundry in the washer and good friends here to play.  What more could you ask for on a rainy day?!  Plus, it gives me this great opportunity to update my blog!

Emma Update:  It is with deep regret that I report that Emma has decided to end her fabulous gymnastics career.  After, two full weeks of practice at level 5 (and lots of tears), she decided it just wasn't very much fun to do cartwheels on the beam, or to do hip circles on the high bar.  Roger is disappointed, J9 (the family accountant) is somewhat relieved, and Zach was only sad that he wouldn't see his friend Blake at the gym anymore!  So that she didn't lose her strength and skills, we decided to enroll Emma in a high level tumbling class that is offered through the cheer program at KGDC.  She had her first class last week and absolutely loved every minute of it!  It took a little trial and error to find the right class for her - but she is now, once again, having a blast!

Zach Update:  This Sunday will be Zach's last baseball game of the season.  It will be nice not to have practice and games on our busy schedule.  The Muddogs have had a great season with lots of personal improvement and achievements.  It has been fun to watch the boys grow through the season! Lots of thanks to our fabulous coaches!  We hope to keep the same crew for next year!  Zach is just excited to have a party at Beach Bums Island and eat cake after the game Sunday!

Rog Update:  My "farmer boy" husband has proven once again that he really does have a green thumb (and that he missed his calling in life)!  We have a beautiful, thriving garden this year, and will soon be harvesting large tomatoes, grape tomatoes, yellow peppers, green chili peppers and strawberries.  Keep your fingers crossed for the watermelon, cantaloupe, green beans, zuchhini and squash.  I told you we are trying to reduce our footprint!  Maybe next summer we will add a cow (for milk), and chickens (for eggs)!  Good thing there is no homes association in our neighborhood!

As for me - I continue to be in charge of "chaos control" around here.  Not much new to tell - but will keep you posted!

Have a fabulous week!


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Getting Started

Welcome to my new blog!

I am very excited to have this opportunity to share updates on our family, funny stories, links to pics, trials and tribulations in our life, with all of you.  So here is my first attempt to blog away.  Enjoy!

Life here at our house is never dull.  We seem to be on overdrive most of the time, and just completed a hectic week of fun and games!  One of my goals for the remainder of this year, and especially this summer, is to slow down a bit and enjoy the moments.  I was recently inspired by a new blog I found - more on that later.  As a few of you may know already, one of my new year's resolutions this year was to create a simpler life for myself and my family.  Rog and I have recently expanded that to include reducing our family's "footprint".  We will share our adventures into this somewhat new area in the coming weeks and months.

Enough of that, though!  Let's get on with the updates!

School officially ended for the 2007-2008 schoolyear this week.  Zach officially "graduated" from Kindergarten in style with a music program and cookie reception on Tuesday.  Emma enjoyed her final day as a 2nd grader on Thursday.  And, on Friday our summer break officially began.

Emma continues to enjoy her career in gymnastics and will begin practice as a Level 5 gymnast this summer. Notice the reference to "career"? It has to be close to that when an 8-year old spends 13.5 hours per week training away from her family - don't you think?!  And let's not even talk about the six-pack abs and brick-house body - we are a bit afraid of swim suit season! Roger is going to be knocking the boys away at the local pool!  We are waiting with baited breathe to see if she can hang with the increase in time, skills and conditioning.  Seriously, though, she has great talent and is beautiful to watch!  You can check out highlights of this past competition season at Roger's photo posting site:

After less than successful attempts at soccer and basketball, Zach has recently joined a baseball team made up of 15 of his friends from Kindergarten.  We are pleased to announce that he has found a sport that really gets him excited!  The boys began practicing in March and had their first game on Mother's Day.  We have had so much fun watching Zach learn the ropes of baseball and be successful increasing his skills with catching, fielding and hitting the ball!  His team is official named the "MudDogs", and Zach's team name is Zee-Dog.  We are lucky to have a great group of dad's, and one mom, who are awesome coaches.  You can't even imagine how hard it is to keep track of 15 kindergartners during practice and games.  Are hats are off to "Dog Trainer", "Dog Catcher", "The Big Red Dog", and "Scrappy" - our fabulous coaches!  You can see pics of Zee-Dog and his friends in action at Roger's photo posting site I mentioned above.

As for Rog and I, we continue to plug away at our respectful careers, work on home improvement projects, cheer our children on, and enjoy time with our family and friends.

I think that is enough for now - I want to keep you interested - not bore you to death!

We will post again soon,

The J9