Monday, August 30, 2010

happiness is . . .

a new bathroom! Sarah and Eric helped decorate and I think they both have a good eye for placement, don't you? So, the next time you stay with us, you have this lovely bathroom to look forward to using! Note Eric in the last photo - I asked him to be my model. I thought maybe he'd pretend to brush his teeth or something, but he decided he'd rather squeeze between the bookcase and the vanity and grin at me.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

the bathroom - before/during

When I visited Shelly in Chicago, her boys' bathroom inspired me. There were frogs, bugs, and turtles - could you ask for more from a bathroom? For a long time, I've wanted to take down the wallpaper in the guest bathroom and make it one that better suits our family. It didn't take long - I think it took about a week after we came back to get motivated to start the work. With some help from Sarah and Eric, I took down the wallpaper and Brian spackled (and I mean spackled!), primed, and then painted the room. I finished up by painting the trim. And then the fun began . . . but that'll wait until the next post.

(Note the icee in the last photo - I found that having one of those very much helped accomplish all of the hard work!)

Friday, August 27, 2010

First Day of School

Here she is. With a too big junior backpack, her fancy new school outfit and shoes, and a big smile on her face. In preparation for her first day of kindergarten, I've shed my share of tears and wished with all my heart that I could hit the pause button, if only for just a little bit longer. Alas, that wish did not come true and she walked into that big school today, ready to learn and play. She was so excited this morning and just as excited when she returned home, for which I am grateful.

When we asked her what her favorite part of the day was, she replied, "Eating in the cafeteria and talking to the big kid on the playground." I'm hoping next time we ask she mentions something about class . . . but really, I do understand that from where she stands, big kids and cafeterias must be quite fascinating.

Other highlights included a boy throwing up in class (poor kid! and on the first day!), learning about being a cougar (the school's mascot), and sitting "criss-cross-applesauce" in order to learn better (I'm not clear on this one, but I like the phrase . . .)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

the story of us

We got married eight years ago today. I told Brian that I wanted to try and recapture the photos from that day, just for fun. He agreed to help - the results don't have quite the same effect that they did when we originally took them, but they make me laugh, which is one of things that I love about my husband. (He's a funny guy, that one.) Happy anniversary, Brian!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

big kid best friends

One more post about our recent trip is required. And that's because Eric and Sarah mention at least once a day that they plan to move to both Missouri and Iowa when they grow up. Why? Because that's where the big kids live. As Sarah put it the other day, "They're my big kid best friends." They keep asking when we'll go back to Iowa, and when I reply, "sometime," they make it clear that "right now" would be the better answer. I've got to say, if I were Sarah or Eric, I'd want to be there too. The "big kids" - Jason, Cody, Ashley, Alaina, Blair, and Alijah - were so good to them. I was beyond impressed with the attention they paid and the time they spent playing with my kids. Not to mention that they are all really good, interesting people. That's more than I can say for my younger self. I can't wait to see what they all do . . .

Monday, August 16, 2010

Uncle Merlin's Tractors

So, I guessed that the highlight of the Iowa trip just might be Uncle Merlin's tractors. And when I say "tractors", I mean lots and lots of tractors. Take your pick - small, medium, or large. Ford or John Deere. He's got 'em all. Or at least most of them. Four (or is it five?) working tractors are housed in the garage, along with a steam engine he built, and many toy riding tractors to complete the (garage) collection. Sarah and Eric got to ride on a big one and play on a toy one. They sat on every one of the tractors and grinned from ear to ear. They couldn't get enough of it.

If that weren't enough, there's a basement full of toy tractors. We thought that this part of the collection may be too tempting for little hands and wanted to wait until the end of the trip, but Eric got a glimpse when the door was left open. Downstairs we went - three grown ups for two kids - and they loved it all. They even received a toy tractor as a souvenir - thank you, Uncle Merlin!!

Did I mention the ATVs, the mule rides, the motorcycle, AND the Ford Model A? No? Well, they really liked all of that too. (I can give Uncle Merlin credit for the motorcycle, but the rest belong to one of my dad's cousin's kids.)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Shelly, Ty, and Reed

Before we made it out to Iowa to visit family, we stopped to see some friends in Illinois. I met Shelly when I was pregnant with Sarah and she still lived around the corner. Brian and I had just moved to North Carolina from New Jersey and I didn't know anyone. One evening, while I was walking Penny and Shelly was walking Eli, we stopped and talked. It seemed like serendipity. When I came home, I told Brian that I had met my new best friend. However, because she was working and going to school, it wasn't until Shelly had Ty, nine months after I had Sarah, that we spent lots of time together. (Every day to be exact, while walking kids and dogs.)

Despite my very vocal protests, they ended up moving to Illinois just after Eric was born and I hadn't seen her since they moved. So, when I learned that my parents were driving to Iowa, I asked if they'd like some company, on the condition that we could stop in Illinois on the way.

I was able to meet Reed for the first time, and he reminds me of Eric. He's got the same smirk - cute and trouble - all at the same time. Sarah loved all the attention she received from both Ty and Reed - I'm not sure which one liked her more. Much to our amusement, Ty thought that he might like to marry Sarah when he was older. And every time Reed was sitting near her, he would sit on her, or lay across her. Sarah didn't mind it at all.

The visit was far too short, and I hope to get there again soon. But, in a day and a half, we were able to pack in three playgrounds, a water park, some backyard pool time, and best of all, a child-free walk. It's bittersweet. Seeing her reminds me how easy and fun it was and how much I miss having her here. She's one of my favorites - and her kids are pretty great, too.