Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Here comes Peter Cottontail...

We are back from Easter vacation.  We came home with our fill of sugar, candy, and chocolate.  The Easter Bunny found us again!  The kids once again were excellent travelers as we ride in the car to another holiday family get together.  There was much excitement in the car as we drove the 6 1/2 hours home.  Talk about the Easter Bunny, hunting eggs, wearing pretty dresses (that would be Gigi) and playing with the cousins made the car ride go fast.  On Friday morning they were up and talking Grandma and Grandpa Schulte's ear off. 
 {fish fry.... yum}
Friday my only requirement from Nate was to not plan anything so we could relax and that was exactly what I did.  We put our feet up at Nate's Parents and hung out all day.  The only time we went out was to go on a walk and head to the fish fry for supper.  The Kalida Fish Fry is a staple in town.  Nate and I hadn't been there in years.  It is still a long line to get your fish but the fish was delicious.  Lil Miss had to act all "Miss Independent" on us and sit all by herself and ward off any help from mommy.  She did a pretty good job.  Gives this mommy tears to think how much she has grown up! 
{Uncle Nate and Jack}
On Saturday we started the Easter festivities.  We had the Schulte Easter for lunch and Blankemeyer Easter for Supper, needless to say we were stuffed come dessert time.  The kids had a great time  playing with the cousins.  There is never enough time with them when we are home. 
{ready, set..... go}
There were lots of Easter egg hunts.  Plastic Eggs filled with jelly beans were a bounty full award for each excited kid. 
{Megan and Rosie}
{grandma and Jack}
{Lil Miss was getting the hang of finding the eggs}
{Who can find the most eggs?}
And what can be more Easter than shooting a 22?  No, seriously.  Of course my husband had one of his brilliant ideas again and got my grandpa Unverferth's old 22 out of the closet on Easter.  The boys took turns aiming for paper plate targets, pop cans, and a milk jug filled with water. 
{Jacob and Uncle Nate}
Nate has been around since Jacob was born.  We have been dating over 16 years!!  When Nate and I were going to college at Ohio State we would visit my brother and his family regularly.  Usually when we were craving a good home cooked meal.  We got to see Brooke, Jacob, and Faith grow up as we trick or treated with them, baby sat, and just hung out.  It's sad that since we moved away we haven't been able to spend very much quality time with them except on family vacations and even then we now have 4 children that take up a lot of our time too.  So to see Jacob and Nate talking and doing stuff together (even if it is shooting guns) is really sweet. 
{Dennis joined in the action too}
And my mom, Annie Oakley, took a few tries at the gun also.  I love my mom and how she can do just about ANYTHING.  Really, how many moms out there would be taking aim at targets on Easter?  Not many. 
{Blankemeyer Cousins}
We are missing a few of the kids but here is 8 of the 11. 
By the time we got to Grandma Judy's Easter egg hunt, Lil Miss was an old pro. 
She doubled her egg finding skills and collected 8 eggs!!
{Mason and Lil Miss... too cute!}
{Faith and Rosie}
{someone is excited about his new car}
On Easter morning we were all dressed up in our Easter best and headed to church.  Bubba was so excited he didn't want to take off his new hat Uncle Neil got him. 
{Family Picture}
This little girl was over tired when we got back from church.  It took 6 tries to finally get her to take a nap.  I think Nate still owes my sister Kathy money from betting that she would finally go down.  It was a controversy.  Nate and I took turns getting her out of the pack n play as she was crying.  One of us would go get her out of the bed and the other would say she will just eventually fall asleep.  That went on and on until she finally closed her eyes.  She slept for 3 1/2 hours!! 
{Me, My Mom, and My sister Kathy}
{Full of Sass}
Gigi kept taking my shoes and walking around the living room.  She is my little diva always in skirts or dresses and she gets around in my heels like a pro.   Such a girlie girl.
 {all excited about her petticoat!!}
Rosie's dress for Easter was one that I made.  The petticoat and ALL.  It turned out okay, it was by no means perfect.  But Rosie was in Love with it and that makes everything worth while.  For one of my first projects with the sewing machine I am proud.  I see lots of dresses in my future.  When she went to school today she asked if she could wear her petticoat.  GEEEZZ!!  I can't catch a break with a tom boy can I?  I promised her she could wear it to church but not to school.  :-) 
Before we packed up to leave we visited my sister Beth's house to check out the new swing set that my brother in law built over the weekend.  I would say that my nephews are in LOVE with their new addition to the backyard.  Even Mason, who is scared of grass, was out there going up and down the slide giggling.  It will get a ton of use.  The kids can't wait to go back to play on it again. 

{Gigi and Uncle Neil}
All in all it was a great weekend and we were glad to make it a 4 day weekend to not feel so rushed.  We got to play and mingle as much as we wanted. 
{Lauren and Gigi ... both who will be starting Kindergarten this fall}
Now we are back to reality and mom is doing laundry non stop and getting everything put away that exploded in the house after emptying the van.  I almost have it all put away except for the laundry which never seems to be done.  The jelly bean dish is still full so we are still all smiles.  I hear the "Bunny Hop" song in the kitchen so I think that is my cue to go watercolor with Gigi while Lil Miss is down for a nap.  Hope you all enjoyed Easter with family as well! 
Hop Hop Hop.......

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Day at the Zoo

Last Tuesday we made it to the Zoo for 1/2 priced Tuesdays.  Me and the Girls packed our lunches and soon after we dropped the two oldest off at school we headed for the Zoo.  It was our first time this year.  Last Fall we had made it there 2 times.  It is a rather small Zoo but perfect for a day with two little girls.  The train ride is definitely worth it, as Lil Miss waved to every passerby as the choo-choo chugged along. 
 I love my girlie time!  Gigi takes such great care of her sister and watches out for her. 
 Gigi wanted to climb all the animal sculptures.  Easy Entertainment... I just wait for the day that Lil Miss will be climbing them with her. 
 Can you believe how big this girl has gotten???  She looks so grown up.
 The elephants were one of our favorites to watch.  We even stayed and had our lunch in a grassy spot that we could watch them and eat too!  They are so BIG!
We tried to let Lil Miss feed the ducks and fish like big sis, but the first little fish pebble I gave her to throw went straight in her mouth (yuck) so we will wait to feed the fish some other time.  We also paid to feed the giraffes.  I thought I had Gigi all excited to do it until we walked up to the giraffes and they were drooling green slime from the lettuce.  Then Gigi wanted nothing to do with feeding them.  So this momma put both girls in her arms and tried to feed the giraffes at the same time.  It was quite entertaining.  Needless to say with both of my hands occupied and my arms FULL we didn't get any pictures.  Gigi did love the baby giraffe though and wanted to take her home.  :-)  It was a good morning adventure. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Hallelujah, He is Risen!

Happy Easter!!  We are enjoying our time here in Ohio celebrating Jesus's resurrection with our family.  It's not about the jelly beans, the colored eggs, or the chocolate Easter bunnies (even though they are soooo good).  It is celebrating the fact that our Savior loves us so much that he died on the cross for us!  I hope you all enjoy the time with the family to day and remember that...
"God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him will have everlasting life."
John 3:16

Throughout Lent I have tried to have conversations with the kids about Jesus.  Some of my favorite moments are listening to them retell the stories to each other on how Jesus "got hammered" to the cross and then woke up and went to heaven while he was in a cave and his friends came to see him "like the funeral home" and he, like magic, disappeared.  Anyway the story is told it is still a miracle!  The kids and I have dug out the kids bible music the last couple weeks and I just adore when they are all singing "Deep and Wide" and "O Happy Day" in the van.  Music to my ears!  And just like me I have to make everything complicated so we do a round robin taking turns singing every verse to the song.  Lil Miss even has started to chime in with her shrills and skrieks.  I just want to hear everyone's voice individually and encourage each one of my children to keep singing!!!  Going to live in the moment and enjoy all the great rejoicing today. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Goals, Dreams, and Aspirations

When you are young you dream about what you are going to be when you grow up.  You go through stages where you want to be an astronaut, fire fighter, veterinarian, even a rock star.  Since my earliest memory I have always always wanted to be a stay at home mom.  Crazy, I know.  Yes, I went through periods of my youth where I thought helping cute little puppies being a veterinarian would be my dream job until I realized I would have to help ALL animals snakes, cats, donkeys you name it.  Then I thought better of that career choice.  When I got into High School and everyone starts to ask you what you want to go to college to be, my thoughts were initially into architecture.  My brother Dennis talked me out of that one reliving stories of long hours of sitting making blue prints of every level of a building without too much creativity.  Believing I was going to be designing the next "Falling Waters", my dream of being an architect went out the window.  When I fell into the degree of Landscape Architecture I was very apprehensive about whether this was what I wanted to do, but I fell in love.  I LOVED the biology part of it and was pretty good at the sketching and discovered a passion in the outside world, but deep in my heart I still thought what I really wanted to do was be at home with kids.  You see my mom was a stay at home mom.  Whenever I was sick, she was there to "baby" me back to good health.  Whenever I forgot my homework at home, she was there to bring it up town and drop it off in the office.  When I would get off the bus from school she was there to ask me how my day was.  I wanted to BE my mom.  I completed my degree found a job in my field and enjoyed life.  Nate and I got married and the rest is history.  I now get to be that stay at home mom I have always wanted to be.  I am living my dream and yes it is not all housecoats with my feet up and drinking a martini (that is NOT what my mom did let me clarify) but I get to walk my kids to school in the morning.  I am lucky enough to play with my two little girls during the day and make impromptu trips to the zoo or family museum.  Or on days the kids don't have school constitute pajama days!!  But the last 6 months or so I have been kind of down.  I don't know what it was the gloominess of the winter, the stress of keeping a house together with 4 kids plus one "big" kid who keep making it a mess, or who knows what.  I was living my dream why was I so unhappy.  Then I made the New Year's Resolution to spend a little time on me this year.  I spend all day getting meals prepared, doing laundry, mediating fights, and making sure everyone in the family is happy that I forgot about me!  I started journaling, reading more, and running outside.  Like I stated before I am not a great runner but it was time out of the house where I didn't hear my kids asking for something and feel guilty that I was on the Elliptical and not able to read them a book.  

Being coaxed by my sister I started running more and more.  I thought in my head that I was going to run a few races this year a 5K here and there, until my sister suggested I run the 1/2 marathon in May with her.  It sounded ridiculous at first, seriously have you seen this body it is not a runner's body.  But the more and more I thought about it and the more I was running and not feeling like death at the end of a run, I started to believe I could.  The BIG day was the day I signed up for the race.  It was still 3 months away, but I was so scared to fail.  I started a training schedule and with no racing buddy I started texting my sister in the morning after my runs so I was found accountable.  I get up at 5:07 in the morning 3/4 days a week and get my butt out and run.  I haven't fallen in love with running but I am doing something.  Now I had a goal!  I found myself again and it was then I came to the realization that I was just going through life without any dreams anymore.  I was living my dream of being a stay at home mom so what else?  Making the decision to run in the 1/2 marathon was a goal, a dream to work towards that I hadn't had in my life for a while.  And even though I am no Usain Bolt, I am still doing it and I haven't given up.  Having dreams in life really kept me from just blindly walking from day to day.  Now, I haven't figured out what my "dream" or goal is going to be come May 6th but I know that I will undiscover something that will keep me going and motivated to wake up in the morning and be happy.  I have unearthed "me" in the whole process and feel so much more confident and NOW I feel more like my mom.  A woman who knows who she is and is confident in herself and physically and spiritually blessed. 
It is 30 days to the BIG day and this girl is still running towards that finish line....

Sunday, April 1, 2012

An Egg-stra-ordinary Day!!

It's Sunday night, the house is quiet and I am listening to the windchimes tingling out my office window. Is this momma in heaven or what? Silence, blogging and sitting in my pjs, I would call that my happy place. Today was an Egg-stra-ordinary day! We started it off with a egg hunt after church this morning. Lil Miss wasn't sure what to think of it. When the lady shouted "GO", Lil Miss took off for the door. The big kids got their share of eggs though. Lots of tootsie rolls and bubble gum. With our sugar stash set we headed home.
{it's a blur because they are moving at warp speed picking up all the eggs, except for Lil Miss who is just running for the door}
Dad definitely had plans for a Lazy Sunday and that is definitely what I would call our day. We did get out and shoot a few hoops. 2 on 2, Daddy and Bubba kicked me and Rosie's butts. I think Daddy fouled Mommy though a few times! He plays dirty. We finally unearthed the kids Christmas presents that Nate bought them. Each of them got a create a project to make with Daddy. They all require some drilling, nailing, painting and general Bob Villa pizazz. Nate (being the diplomat he is) put a number on a piece of paper and had the kids guess numbers from 1 - 10 to see who's project would get made today. Rosie won (after cheating and looking thru the paper) and Bubba was eliminated after guessing 12 which is not between 1 and 10.{ever seen someone so happy to be sanding?}
Rosie's project was a picture frame/pencil holder.
{finished project--pretty cute!}
I love the two-tone look. That was Rosie's idea -- she wanted pink and yellow! She helped me pick out the pictures for her holder. One had Daddy and her, another was with me and she HAD to have her American Girl Doll, Bella in one. She (and Daddy) did a Great Job!! I can't wait to see the other two complete their projects.
While those two were busy making a mess on my driveway, me and the younger three pulled out the toys and cruised around. Gigi was styling riding Bubba's rip rider around. If you haven't seen one this little cruiser is so fun! The back wheels spin all around so when you apply the brakes the back end spins around. Good Times.
Lil Miss was out burning rubber too!
Bubba is a little determined boy when it comes to his rip stick. He has it down once he gets on it, now he is really trying to master the art of starting it without holding onto something. We have a few scraped knees and bummed elbows, but he keeps trying every moment he gets.
Of course we couldn't forget to color eggs this year. I had purchased the tablets earlier in the week and the package had taunted the kids all week. Everyday after school they asked "is this the day we are coloring eggs?". So I finally hard-boiled all 2 dozen eggs and set up the table to have a Egg Coloring Fest.

They were very creative this year on how they wanted them to look. They wrote secret messages on some and couldn't wait to see their message "appear" when they plopped the egg in the cup. They are drying in the fridge as we speak and the girls have big plans to cover them with stickers the first chance they get.
{waffle cones filled with ice cream, strawberries & whip cream.... yum yum}
For supper I made tacos, no big deal, but for dessert I made up waffle bowls with a concoction of strawberries, ice cream, and whip cream. It was delicious!!
{Licking every drip of whip cream out of her bowl!}
Dessert was a success!! I know I don't need the kids to love every meal I cook, because let's be serious, I am pretty adventurous and we have tried some recipes that fail. But when you spend time making something and put your heart into it and see these smiles on the kids faces you know you aced it! It makes all the meals they didn't appreciate worth it for this one moment. I mommy needs this every once in awhile. {cleaning up daddy's mess ..... someone's got to do it! :-) }
Now mommy gets to sit at the computer and put all our exploits into my "journal" and reflect on a pretty ordinary day, but to us it was pretty amazing. I hate when the weekdays come around because that means Daddy has to go back to work and the "routine" takes us through everyday. Weekends are so fun because they are unplanned and unpredictable. The best part of this week is that it is only 4 days long and then we are headed back to Ohio to see family and celebrate Easter. It will go so fast.... that reminds me I need to go finish Rosie's Easter Dress or she won't have anything to wear. Happy Sunday!!