"Being a family means you are part of something wonderful. It means you will love and be loved for the rest of your life. No matter what." ~Author Unknown

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Learning to Ski, and Learning to Like It

This week was our mid winter break, and we decided to join some dance friends on an up north ski trip.  Last year Adrienne went with them and had a fabulous time.  They have a large group that’s been doing it for years, and they have it all figured out! 

It’s no secret I’m not a skier.  I have skied, but I’m not a skier.  I feel very out of control and unnatural on skis.  I have conversations with myself like…”You are fit and coordinated, you can do this.  You just need more practice, fall a few times and get up.  No big deal.  Although, you have lived 40 years and skiing has never added any positive value to your life, so why bother?  I’m sure there are other mothers that sit in the lodge all day.  Just tell people you had a bad knee injury training for the Olympics.  Bottom line, your whole family is doing it so get your ass out there.”  And so, Jen the skier was born.

The first day was met with hopeful anticipation.  Sof was super excited for ski school.



We got Sof signed in, and were told to meet at the bottom of the bunny hill. 




She joined her group and didn’t look back.  I was so thankful for this confident little girl we have.  Not only was she excited to try something new, she didn’t need me to be there to do it. 


She spent three days(one full, two half) in ski school.  By the third day she was using the chair lift and doing the same green runs her momma was still working on!  She was owning the hill and she LOVES it!



The first day for me was still a struggle.  My boots were hurting my ankles, I was creeping down the easiest hill, and I wasn’t willing to try any new hills.  By the second day I started off much the same, but slowly gained some confidence.  I got bored on my same hill and let Adrienne show me some other green runs.  At the end of day two I thought, “I could actually keep doing this, I’m not ready to be done”. 


Mark and the big girls took turns skiing with me.  Adrienne and Lexi like to do the “terrain” runs. That means they can do things like ski off a picnic table.  No mental struggle there…I won’t be joining them for that.  At the end of day 3 they all left me to myself(at my urging) so they could do some more challenging stuff.  I stayed on the green runs I was comfortable with.  Once again, I really wasn’t ready to be done at the end.  I’m no Olympic skier, but I can appreciate the fresh air, family time, and challenge of the hill.  I actually look forward to doing it again. 


Other trip highlights…

Bedtime snuggles before exhaustion takes over.


Sadie and Adrienne checking in on Sof at ski school.


Tubing fun!



Nighttime shenanigans.


Breakfast buffet…my kids LOVE a breakfast buffet.



Pool and hot tub time at night.



Coloring in bed.


We had such a great time.  You can bet we will be doing it again next year.  I may even be ready for a blue run by then…we’ll see:)


Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Competition That Almost Never Was

Let me just talk to all the not-yet-mommies, want-to-be-mommies, and know-someone-who-is-a-mommy peeps.  Here’s the deal with parenting(and life in general really).  When you feel frazzled, unprepared, and disorganized life will still happen.  When you feel totally on top of your game and Pinterest worthy, something will sabotage you, but life will still happen. 

One of the greatest things to happen to me between parenting my oldest and my youngest, is the realization that I am capable of salvaging any situation.  I really can.  If you are a parent, you have no choice but to roll with the punches.  Otherwise you will never go anywhere or do anything because it’s just to damn hard and unpredictable with kids. 

Case in point…Lexi’s most recent cheer competition.  It was very early Saturday morning after Valentine’s day.  Livy spent the night so she could join us.  I was up at 5:30 getting myself ready, and woke the kids at 6am.  I grabbed my phone to head downstairs and start the car, and noticed a missed call and voicemail from the late the night before.  I thought that was odd and didn’t recognize the number, so I quick listened to the message.  Sure enough it was Lexi’s cheer coach announcing a change in time for her event.  Turns out we didn’t need to be there until an hour later.  That would have been nice to know before we got up, but I figured better to be early than late.  We took our time making coffee and packing the car, and finally left about 25 minutes early.  It was a beautiful sunny morning, and I was feeling on my game!


Foreshadowing…notice the kids in the back of the van reading. 

About 20 minutes(into our hour drive) down the road, something hit me.  I asked Lexi, “You did bring your cheer bag right?”.  She didn’t have to answer, I knew by the look on her face.  I reasoned in my head.  Without her shoes and bow she can’t perform, so there’s no reason to continue, and we are 25 minutes early.  So we turned around to get the bag.  I ran in the house, grabbed it, shot a quick explanation to Mark who was looking at me puzzled, and jumped back in the car.  At this point we were slated to be about 3 minutes late according to the GPS, but I figured I would be able to make that up on the highway.  Off we went again.  About 20 minutes down the road(again) Livy moves from the back to the middle of the car with tears welled in her eyes.  Lexi explains that she’s car sick and needs to look out the window.  I empty a Target bag that happens to be in the car and instruct her to puke in there if she has to.  A few minutes down the road she says she needs to use the bathroom.  We stop, find a bathroom, breath some cold air, and get started again.  Livy rides the rest of the way looking a bit green. We pull up about 15 minutes late and another cheer mom runs out to get Lexi while I park.  Livy and I get in there just as Lexi’s team is warming up.  Livy is still looking a little rough around the edges at this point:(

IMG_8046   Poor baby!  She was a trooper.  Lexi’s team performed and didn’t miss a beat! 



We had time before awards, so I got the girls a pretzel.  Livy really perked up after eating something! 

IMG_8051The girls had fun running around the event center.  Up, down, and around, pausing everywhere for me to get their pictures! 



Moral of the story…Parenting is full of bumps in the road.  I could have lost my cool, or given up, but you just gotta keep trudging on.  In the end, it was a long, but fun day with my middle girls:) 


Valentine’s Day


Sof has been obsessed with “surprise eggs”.  In case you don’t what they are(I didn’t until recently), they are just what they sound like-a plastic or chocolate egg with a surprise toy inside.  There are a thousand Youtube videos with weird grown up people narrating as they open them.  Who tapes themselves doing that??  Maybe they get paid for it??  Anyhoo…Sof loves watching these slightly creepy videos.  So, when I saw these Valentine hearts with candy inside them, I knew she would love them!  What I did not think about, was the frustration of a 5 year old trying to write her name on 24 of these 3-D hearts. 


She finished all of them though, and was super excited to bring them to school!


She was so sweet at her classroom party.  We supplied the decorations for the cookies, and she was so proud!  I love watching her in her school environment.  She is such a good little student!




After school we gathered at our house for our family Valentine party.  Every year it gets harder and harder to squeeze this in with all the kids activities, but I’m so glad we make the effort!  It was casual and quiet, kids playing and writing Valentines while the grown ups watched the Olympics and served up dinner.


We had gifts that got opened in a frenzy! 



As always, reading Valentines is the favorite activity.  We didn’t make the guys write them this year, and the kids were disappointed(and the guys were kinda mad when they realized they missed it)!  Valentine FAIL!  Good to know that it’s important to everyone even if they grumble when doing it:)




It is in your best interest NOT to touch Nat’s cards.  Ever.  For any reason. 


It feels like an accomplishment every year we make this happen.  Never were there 6 better reasons to celebrate love.

Alice in Dreamland…Again

The ballet show this year was the same as last year, Alice in Dreamland.  Adrienne was able to play her same role as the White Rabbit(everyone loved her last year!).  They made a few changes and improvements to make a very pleasant show!  Adrienne is on stage the entire time, and between Livy, Kaitlyn, and Sof, it was hard to know who/what to watch! 

Sof loved everything about it.  I debated on whether to put her in it or not.  Boy am I glad I did!  She loved every minute of it, even the 5 hour rehearsals!



What I see when I look at this picture…1. Sof and Livy should be sisters. 2. Kaitlyn clinging to her Adrienne.  She loves Adrienne, well she loves everyone really, but she’s Adrienne’s little mini me. 

Grandma Linda and Papa Curt came for the show and we went back to Em’s for dinner.  Anne and Rick joined us, and we had such a great time.  I actually love Sunday night get togethers(especially when they’re not at my house:).  It makes the weekend feel so much longer!

The kids got to open their Valentine cards from Grandma, Papa, and Grandma Jackie.  We had a good laugh over the $5 that has been in there since Em and I were kids!  The kids have never thought anything of it, and appreciate it as if it were a million bucks. 


Raising appreciative kids…check!

Monday, February 3, 2014

January Insta-Life

I have a new plan that I’m hoping will make my my blogging life easier and more up to date.  I have so many pictures of our everyday life from Instagram.  I want to post them here also for memories sake, but they don’t need lengthy explanations.  I was finding that events I really did want to write about were getting lost in a sea of “look what we had for dinner” and “Sof on the iPad again”.  So, I’m going to try to do one post a month that captures our life on Instagram.  For those of you that already follow me there, it will be redundant.  More importantly though, when I print this blog into a book at the end of the year, they will be there in print forever more.

With that said, there really was a theme to January…snow.  I mean crazy snow.  Of the 31 possible days in the month, we went to school for 14 of them.  Charming at first, but we’re over it now.





Along with the snow came unreasonably cold temps(also responsible for several days of missed school).  We spent a lot of time hanging inside, and I was inspired to do a little decorating.  Most drastically, I got rid of the rug in the living room that I never loved, and replaced it with something so much more flexible and me.









We also found quite a few outings to keep busy with.  Like Tiny Town with Emmy and Natty.



Play practice with Lexi and Starbucks.




We saw “The Little Mermaid” at the local children’s theater.



Swimming with the cousins was a favorite!




Dance class and rehearsals for Alice in Dreamland continued.


We also braved an extremely cold night to go to Lucky’s!



I had two after the holidays staff parties. 



Got some coffee, computer, and sis time while the girls were in rehearsal!


We had our non-bowling dinner at the Melting Pot.  I’m actually quite impressed at how well we’ve done with keeping up with this every month!


Finally, I have a myriad of breakfast pictures because I guess Sof’s just cute at breakfast.  That and I’m not irritated with her yet:)





Good bye January!