Sunday, July 31, 2011 attend the concert at Trophy Point

...the west point band along with former Glee Club participants was excellent!

It was a great hour sans any children (courtesy of the Glen family girls).

Lisa and I were able to sneak away without any little ones for a relaxing hour of music and uninterrupted conversation. Bliss for any parent.

And the view this evening...breathtaking; my phone certainly doesn't do it justice.

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Location:Trophy Point, WP

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 farewell our good friends

...well, I really didn't want to.

I had tears in my eyes as one of my dearest friends pulled away this morning. The time went too quickly.

It had been over a year since we had spent time with the Moynihan family and we all picked up right where we left off.

How comfortable our time was! We spent the entire time outside. Trampoline time, parks, bonfires (which means smores!) lots of pool time, and a camper! Talking, laughing, jumping, running, sleeping outdoors (well I didn't), feeding the horses down the road, riding the four-wheelers, and most importantly...eating! Kris, is an amazing chef!

The visit was perfect and the kids just played and played.

The crew at the park.

Still best friends...

These two didn't miss a beat either!

Farewell dear friends. Until next summer....

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Monday, July 25, 2011 play outside stuff!

They found and saved a frog in/from the pool.

Playing on the trampoline...

Driving the Jeep and four wheeler!

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Friday, July 22, 2011 let the (2nd and 3rd) cousins play

...they were exhausted by the end of the day!

Val and Abbey

I meant to include Will in this photo!

So much fun!

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011 feel sorry for myself

...I don't very often.

The day started out a little rough.  My stellar parental moments have been few the past few days.  I upset Mark because I told him the time he was calling was 'inconvenient'.  And finally, having tired and cranky children and trying to have them stick to a few boundaries while traveling, is hard.   Translation: Isabella's nose is out-of-joint because she didn't get her way.

Audrey was awake the entire evening last night, coughing.  She had choked on a peanut bar yesterday afternoon and just never seemed to recover from the episode.  I know...Child Protective Services are probably on their way.  My toddler, was consuming peanuts, while walking around AND playing with her siblings.

Audrey is fine.  After a long trip to the emergency room (bless my father-in-laws heart, he endured the tortuous visit with me) it was decided that she probably would be able to clear the aspiration on her own.  If she doesn't, we can bring her back and they will do an broncoscopy then. (The new children's hospital in Grand Rapids (if you haven't watch this video is great) was impressive).

I think my sorrow is a culmination of a stressful day on only a little sleep.

So tonight, I'll go to bed lonely and feeling a little sorry for myself.   I suppose I am entitled every now and then.

Tomorrow is a new day.

Monday, July 18, 2011 visit with Mark's family

...and the great-grandma's sure have enjoyed it!

Several people have asked me "Why in the world..." I would drive cross country with four kids and a dog...

Here are a few reasons:

Great-Grandma Joan Crow
Great-Nana Elaine Bartos
Despite the photos...Audrey has really enjoyed her time with them.

Saturday, July 16, 2011 make myself so happy!

What a fun find today after stopping in the lovely town of Rockford, MI for ice cream at Rocky's.  Mark's parents treated the kids and I and Aunt Sandy to ice cream and a walk around the beautiful Dam. What a great area in town!

I was walking the kids back to the car and just walked by this darling shop having a sidewalk sale on the way home.  And wouldn't you know it but these lovelies jumped right out at me! And at 60% off I couldn't pass them up. Better yet they don't even need a fresh coat of paint like some of my finds.

Aren't these lanterns going to be perfect on my porch at Christmastime?

At least it's not a big giant chicken honey!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone travel to Michigan

...and thankfully, it was pretty uneventful  (though I am posting the next day instead).

I decided that in order to try to make the trip a little more smooth I would:
  • bring along a potty seat
  • buy the kids new movies
  • buy the big kids new video games
  • and bring along all of our own food (this would offset the cost of the new items above...besides their 'happy meals' always end up all over the floor of my van anyway!
The results:
  • I haven't taught Timber how to use the potty seat yet.  And she had to go tinkle even more than I did.  Translation: we made many rest area stops anyway.  Having said that, these were much quicker stops than say stopping at Arby's or Panera.
  • Abbey LOVES the potty seat in the van and used it far more than she would have needed to go otherwise.  Usually this would mean I was yelling at her to get back in her seat "now!" and "quickly!"
  • The new movies/games were a hit!  An excellent transfer of costs.  Mark could tell me the true economic term.
  • The idea of bringing out snacks along was overall a success.  I had started by giving each kiddo their own special bag of snacks...that were supposed to last the duration of the trip (13 hours).  I think by 9 am though, Abbey had consumed most of her desirables!
Because I have an awful, unsightly sore on my mouth, I felt like I must have looked like a battered woman who left quietly in the night.  My van was overflowing with suitcases and snacks.  I had four young kids AND the dog..and usually my temper would flare as we would go into the rest stops; usually me screaming something at one of them to 'hold hands' or 'we are IN a Parking lot"!

At the end of the day though, the trip was fine.  The kids were excellent.  And even the dog made it without any due harm.  Besides, she can't hear me anymore anyway.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011 reminisce about this past weekend!

...good stuff to remember!  Minus the horrible cold sore I have taken away as a souvenir.

These were my wishes for the weekend:
  • I get a photo that I would like to frame for Mark (is this REALLY too much to ask? I got lots of great pictures!
  • I get a few good nights sleep  Minus the evening that Will was throwing up through the midnight hour.
  • No one gets stung Maybe I should have wished no one would get sick.  See #2.
  • The sunscreen works We had MANY re-applications and NO sunburns!
  • We catch a fish or two and they are able to swim back happily into the water to meet their family when we release them  Only one poor little fish met his demise b/c he swallowed the hook.  And we caught OODLES of them!
  • The rain stays away  Friday evening rained and rained...but the rest was picture perfect!
  • We have fun in the water  Definitely
  • We make at least one sand castle  Isabella did...and we buried most of the kids in the sand.  Will didn't feel well enough to be buried.
  • We play some baseball  We ran out of time...we spent too much time in the water!
  • Everyone toasts a perfect marshmallow at least once  Yummy!
  • The spiders stay away I was not surprised by a spider even once!
The weekend was a success.  We had lots of visitors, celebrated Audrey's 2nd birthday, fished, swam, played in the sand, and ate lots of yummy foods.

The birthday girl!

Monday, July 11, 2011 wish myself, and Mark, a Happy Anniversary!

...I have just returned from an incredibly fun weekend with the kids out at Bull Pond (more on that on another post) but am exhausted.

Our good friend, sent me a text this afternoon offering to come over to put the kids to bed for me.  What a blessing!  Especially since today is our anniversary.

13 years.  And now I have some time to reflect.

So many things go through my head when I think about our time together.

Of course there are:
The moves (11 different houses, 10 duty locations, seven states)
The deployments (now our third)
Of course are the kids.

Bull Pond 2011

But there are so many other things.

The smashing pumpkins.  Our wedding song.

Our Michigan vs. Michigan State Rivalry.  MSU is the champion by the way!

The best friends.

The Godparent's...Will's Baptism, Colorado Spring Nov 05
Our jump to a minivan.  We chose the Odyssey..."just in case we had a fourth baby".

Timber.  Mark's first dog.

She is still so pretty!  13 years old.
The hikes.  What I really remember is Colorado.  But our digital photo album doesn't go back that far.
A weekend shortly before Mark left...
The flowers.  He sends me so many.  Often to say, "I love you." and "Thank you."

Our newest niece and nephew.  Fun to have one of each now!

Less than enamored, but so sweet, with Aunt Krissy on the 4th of July! 
All dolled up for Isabella's first communion!
Our Norman Rockwell experience that Christmas holiday season in NYC.  You, me, the kids, and 1000000+ of our closest friends.  
Lovin' the leather and denim!
The arguments.  There are many!

Baseball Games.  

Worrying about our kids.

Should we be?
Sitting in the living together watching our respective computer screens.

So many other things....

But the next reunion is what I am really looking forward to.

Daddy's Home!  2005
Happy 13th Anniversary.

I love you Mark.

Thursday, July 7, 2011 pack for Bull Pond

...I have a good start.

Last year we had such a great weekend with Mark and the Morrow's!  This year, the weekend will be much different.  It is really bittersweet for for me to embark on this weekend without my better half.  It certainly won't be the same without Mark there to share the time as a family.  And our best friends to fish and swim with.

I am looking forward to getting away with the kids.

I digress.

If I had the energy to get photos of the chaos that is currently in my home I would.  But I don't.  I am tapped out.  But imagine my kitchen on a bad day.  And then put the image into the better part of each room of my house.  And remember...there are a LOT of them!

The 'to do' list was long today.  But strangely, I don't have the panicky feeling I get when I have too much on my plate.  I suppose, because it is just the kids and I that are headed out on this adventure.  If I am one will notice.  Oh well.

My hopes for the weekend in no particular order:

  • I get a photo that I would like to frame for Mark (is this REALLY too much to ask?)
  • I get a few good nights sleep
  • No one gets stung
  • The sunscreen works
  • We catch a fish or two and they are able to swim back happily into the water to meet their family when we release them
  • The rain stays away
  • We have fun in the water
  • We make at least one sand castle
  • We play some baseball
  • Everyone toasts a perfect marshmallow at least once
  • The spiders stay away
Summer 2010

Wednesday, July 6, 2011 visit Pennington was great fun to reconnect with an old friend!

We were lucky enough to be able to finish our Fourth of July weekend with the Whitlock family.  Our kind friends, Brian and Kristen, more than put up with my crew for the past two days.  And the kids picked up right where they left off.

It was as if we still lived right around the corner.

We swam, ate great familiar foods (Vito's and Carvel), and visited our old favorite, Rosedale park.
A fun shot??

July 2011

May 2008

They sure have grown.

We certainly were missing our good friends the Moynihan's!  I only hope that we'll be able to continue to return over the years and continue to retake this group photo!

Sunday, July 3, 2011 go to Busch Gardens

...and all of the kids were amazingly well behaved and mannered!  Who knew!

I will have to say the day didn't start off very smooth.  We had a late start, waited a very long time in to get into the park (courtesy of the Military Salute to the Hero's program), and upon entering Elmo's water land had a head on collision (#3) and an incident with sunscreen and eyes (#1) that nearly sent us right back to the car to try another day.  The first forty five minutes were miserable.

Somehow I managed to convince myself and my dad that we should stay and what a great day we all had!
Nearing the end of the day...wet and VERY warm AND still smiling!
#1 and #3 enjoying a live show with E's Aunt Sammy
A super fun shot of Aunt Titi and #1
Aunt Titi and the little star of the day E.  What a champ she was!
All of us, tired, hot, and ready to leave.  But what a super fun time it was!