Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fall Festivities!

Like everyone else I know - Fall is my favorite season. I love living in Arkansas, but even more so when the leaves are changing and it is time to start all of our Fall traditions and festivities. When we went to the pumpkin patch we went a little pumpkin crazy and came home with 10 pumpkins! Only 2 of them were very big, the rest were pretty small.

I tried my hand at a few crafts this year for the first time. We painted paper plates and made a ghost and spider and each kid got a pumpkin with their hand print as the stem :)

Ghost and Ryan's handprint pumpkin

Spider and Noah's handprint pumpkin
Noah and I handled all the pumpkin decorating this year. We made each family member a pumpkin. I made them in size order and Noah told me what decoration to put on each of them Dada got polka dots, Momma got swirls, Noah got teeth and stitches, and Ryan got hearts and stars :)

Noah painted 2 pumpkins - one for him and one for Ryan :) This was the first year we painted any pumpkins - it was fun. I just let him do his thing and he loved it and wanted more pumpkins to paint - next year I will get more small ones to paint :)

I told Nathan I wanted to draw a Razorback on one - he laughed at me! Oh ye of little faith! So, in about 5 minutes I whipped out a pretty descent Arkansas Razorback! Nathan was impressed :) I added Woo Pig Sooie for Noah - that is what he calls all the Razorbacks he sees.

Then we carved pumpkins too! We made Ryan a girly one and Noah wanted a scary one - it turned out looking a little more crazy to me. I am not a good carver, but I tried. They have glow-in-the-dark teeth and we have pumpkin stands that Nathan and I used back in our pre-kids days for our pumpkins :)

We went to a big pumpkin patch this weekend also in Springdale. I have never been to any pumpkin patch but our local one, which I love and will always go to, so this was quite the shock :) We did the petting zoo, held a baby pig, rode horses, watched pig races, did a corn maze, played in corn, played in hay, and went on a tractor ride! It was pretty awesome!

Checking out the baby pig :)

Stare off with a goat :)

We still have Halloween this Thursday and then it is on to Thanksgiving before Fall ends and winter begins. The leaves have started changing and the temperatures dropping - what is not to love about that?! Happy Fall Yall!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Are you ready?

In the past month I have heard of 5 couples divorcing or talking about divorcing. This really bothered me. I didn't come from a family where everyone stayed married - my parents divorced when I was 5 and there are several people in my family who are divorced. So, I have been around it for years. I know sometimes it is warranted - infidelity, abuse, religious differences - and I get that. Some people just throw the word divorce around way too easy - it is a BIG deal. It is a life changing event. It is not a break up, this is not high school.

Some people need to ask themselves if they are ready for marriage or not. I don't think single people realize what all marriage is about and even some married people don't get it.

Are you ready to be one? Forever bonded to that ONE person forever.

Are you ready to forgive? When you are married you forgive things that you don't when you are dating. There will be hurt and it will need to be forgiven.

Are you ready to share? Not just closet space either - life. You are going to share your life with this person. Good and bad. Rich and poor. You can't go and do whatever you want, all your choices impact your spouses life too, remember that.

Are you ready to compromise? This is a big one. There is no room for pride in marriage. You have to do things you don't want to do and may have even said you would never do - that is part of marriage.

Are you ready for loss? You gain a whole other family with marriage. (In-laws) You will lose these people over time due to death - people that the person you love more than anything really cares about. You will have to watch them hurt and try to help them heal. You will also lose friends. Sadly, some friends just don't survive marriage, but the best ones do.

Are you ready to fake it? Mind of out the gutter! I am talking about interests. Whether interested or not, you need to act interested in what your spouse it talking about. If it is important to them, it needs to be (or appear to be) important to you.

Are you ready for unfairness? This comes a lot with children, but happens in other parts of marriage also. Someone may get up in the middle of the night with the kids more or stay home with them more - it happens.

Are you ready to not always get what you want? Your spouse or child may need something more and you just have to suck it up. There will be a time you will really need something too.

Are you ready to wait? You may need to put your dreams on hold until your marriage is ready. Timing is everything.

Are you ready to be judged? If you and your spouse fight and you run and tell people you are asking for trouble. You will forget, you love your spouse, they will not forget or maybe even forgive. It is easy to do that from the outside looking in and you are inviting them to.

If you are not ready for these things then you are also not ready for marriage. Marriage also give us positive things we were not ready for.

Are you ready for true love? People who are truly in love do not fall out of love, ever. If you "fall out of love" then you were never really in love. True love is that powerful and amazing, even if it doesn't always feel like it. True love is special and rare and "I love you" means SO much more when it is true.

Are you ready for marriage friends? The spouse of your spouses friends (tongue twister!). They are awesome people that you never knew existed and make date nights fun!

Are you ready to be able to see your best friend every day? It is so fun to have your best friend to go home to at the end of the day!

Are you ready to gain family? Your spouse already had people who loved him/her and now you get to share that with them.

Are you ready for forever? FOREVER. Until you die. Think of all the memories and traditions. The best is yet to come.

Are you ready to be amazed? Children are amazing and watching little pieces of you and your spouse combined grow into little men and women is a blessing.

Are you ready to be exposed? Your spouse will know the real you, the one no one else does. They will be the person you can be comfortable and be yourself around, fully exposed. It is an amazing feeling.

Are you ready for dependence? You will depend on your spouse for life. You will not be able to envision life without them and you don't want to have to. Your life was made to share it with them.

Are you ready to trust without worry? Your spouse chose you and you get to live in comfort knowing they are committed to you. At the end of the day, you are who they come home to.

Are you ready to reminisce? You will make memories and start traditions with the same person for the rest of your life and it won't be long before you are saying "remember when".

Are you ready for marriage? You are blessed if you are.

I read this the other day and loved it: "Couples who make it aren't the ones who never had a reason to get divorced; they're simply the ones who decided early on that their commitment to each other was always going to be bigger than their differences and flaws." There will be fights and hard times. Everyone has them. If anyone says they don't they are lying or they do not have a healthy relationship.

So, I guess basically my whole point is this: things always look better from the outside looking in - everyone fights and that is ok. You are not the only one to deal with a husband who never picks up after himself or a wife who nags. Marriage is forever, there will be things to fight about daily - if you choose to. Don't give up on your relationships easily. Fight for them - especially if there are children. If you really feel divorce is the only option be sure you have tried all options - counseling, therapy, lots of prayer, etc. first - don't wonder "what-if" later. If you are not married yet, make sure you are ready. There is a lot of bad, but so much more good - you just have to choose to see it and work on it. Marriages are work, but so worth it. Just be ready to work for it if you want to benefit from it.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"God put a bandaid on it"

I was putting sheets on Noah's bed before I left to go meet the babysitter and pick him and Ryan up. My phone rang and it was one of those phone calls you have thought about and pray you never get. "Jessie, I just had a bad wreck on Cherry street with the kids in the car, come fast" - I can hear sirens and kids screaming and the call ended. I ran outside to the shop where Nathan was with his friends and couldn't see him and screamed "where is Nathan?" they pointed over in the yard and he said he could tell by my face something was bad wrong - I was crying and told him the sitter had wrecked with the kids and he took off running - I ran inside to get my purse because I was thinking I may need insurance cards and he was waiting on me in the yard in my car with the door open. That was the longest 4 minute drive of my life.

We pulled up and the whole front end of her van was smashed. A police officer had Noah and the sitter had Ryan. They were both screaming and scared. When I walked up to Noah, he just was crying and said "can we please go home" - I was trying really hard not to let him see me upset, which was hard at first, but I got it together. He and Ryan both had seat belt burns, but were totally fine other than that, just scared. The other 2 kids that were in the car had the same injuries and the airbag hurt the sitter a little - but no major injuries. The paramedics checked them both out and said they looked fine and would be sore and encouraged us to bring them in if we had any concerns. The man that was in the other car had a bad head laceration and lots of blood - just ask Noah "the man in the truck had giant blood on his head". The man didn't want the ambulance ride, but did go in for stitches. He said he had "had worse bar scraps than this" :)

We were finally able to get the kids and put them in our car and get them home. I was talking to Noah and I told him that God had protected him today in the car wreck and he would heal him and make him better. Noah said to me "God appeared and put a bandaid on my boo boos and I am all better". I said "he appeared"? He said "yes, in the car and put bandaids on me". I have no idea if he is just making stuff up (he does have quite the imagination) or if he really saw something or what, but it gave me chills when he told me that. I KNOW God protected them, he always does - but to hear my 3 year old tell me about it, was nothing short of amazing.

Because I know people want to know, as would I, the accident was just that, an accident. Ryan was screaming (her hurting scream) so the sitter thought she was being pinched or something so she glanced back to look at her and the truck in front of her stopped. It only took a second. I was asked by a few people if I was mad or flipped out on her - and I don't see how I could. I have done that very thing countless times along with answering a text, making a phone call, putting on make-up, clipping a fingernail, etc. We all have distracted driver moments and accidents happen. The sitter asked me this morning if I wanted to yell at her - and I was never mad at her and that is what I told her. It happens, everyone is fine, no hard feelings.

Thank you God for watching over our babies and everyone involved! It could have been a lot worse and could have happened to any of us. So glad we have a God to put bandaids on us when we need them :)

Ryan's wounds - a couple of seat belt burns on her neck and chin and a bruise on her chest.

Noah's seat belt burn - with a matching smaller one on the other side.

The "Pumpin" Patch

One of my biggest Momma Dreams was always taking my kids to the Pumpkin Patch! I dreamed about it for years and look forward to it every year! Noah is really getting into all holidays now and it is so much fun! He had so much fun at the "pumpin" patch and kept thanking me and telling me he loved me over and over while we were there. He is pretty easy to please :) We met my brother and his family there - I love them making memories with their cousins like I did as a child - so special! 

We ended up taking home 10 pumpkins! Only 2 big ones to carve and the rest small to paint and decorate. We were looking for a huge one to put Ryan in since she was too little to cooperate last year, but we didn't find one. We did the haunted maze too. Everyone had a great time! Now, we still need to carve them and paint the other ones and we will be ready for Halloween!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

"Da Fawm"

Noah is crazy about animals - second to dinosaurs they are his most favorite things. So, when I saw our new petting zoo close to home was opening last weekend, we HAD to go! Noah talked about it all day - kept asking when we were going to "da fawm" (the farm) :) So, after church, lunch, and Ryan napped we loaded up and met my dad at Bacchus Family Adventure Farm!

We got to see cute little baby animals in the nursery. Some of the baby animals there were a baby kangaroo, kinkajou, rabbits, and a salamander. Some of the outside animals we saw were mini horses, water buffalo, llama, camel, goats, and a zebra. Noah LOVED the corn slide and we kept trying to get him to look at other things and he would just say "nah, I want to stay here for a little bit" :) Ryan LOVED the mini bounce houses - they were perfect for her. She was scooting everywhere and squealing she was so excited. The barn had some games in it - like air hockey, basketball shoot-out, football toss, table tennis, and pin the tail on the donkey. Noah said he wants to have his birthday party at "da fawm" :)

We then went on a train ride and got lost in the hay maze! Noah spent more time looking for the hidden monkey than actually trying to get out of the maze. He saw a picture of someone dressed as a monkey online in the maze and was trying to find them everywhere. I told him they were not in there today - but I saw where the hay maze will be haunted next weekend so maybe we can go back :)

Noah thanked me over and over for taking him to "da fawm" - it was such a perfect family afternoon!

Thinking hard about how to get out of the hay maze :)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Viva Las Vegas (Day 3 & 4)

We planned our vow renewal for the afternoon so we would have time to do whatever we wanted all day. Since we were still on Arkansas time, we could get up fairly early but it still felt like we were sleeping in. We decided to finish up walking the strip this day, so we had breakfast at the Rainforest Cafe in our hotel and went to the other side of the road and walked all the way to the stratosphere - about 5 miles. It really didn't take all that long and wasn't that bad. It went a lot faster than we thought it would. We stopped at a few stores on the way - found a Disney store to get the kids souvenirs from and checked out some more cool casinos.

When we got to the stratosphere I told Nathan we were riding the roller coaster and rides on the top. He claims at this point he told me he didn't want to do it. I did not hear him - and he watched me buy tickets for us to ride it without much objection, so I thought we were good. Apparently not. When we got up to the top, he was not happy. He did not want to ride the roller coaster. It really wasn't a coaster, just a short piece of track that goes over the edge of the Stratosphere and stops. I told him I was doing it and he didn't have to. He reluctantly rode it anyway. I could not stop laughing while we were riding it. He was cussing the ride operators (to himself) and when the ride went back over the edge a second time he said "stop it you idiots" - I lost it. I could not stop laughing. He was not sharing in my laughter at all - but I could not help it. He said he likes coaster with more track out in front, but not that one. We also rode the ride the shoots you straight up in the air at the very top of the tower - it was awesome! It got my belly more than any ride ever has! There was no cussing or madness on this ride :) The other ride was closed due to high winds at the time - but Nathan informed me we were not going to ride it any way :) I had originally wanted to do the ride where you jump off the top of the Stratosphere - but Nathan wasn't going to let that happen. Honestly, once I got up there I would have chickened out. That is really high!

At the windy top of the Stratosphere
Nathan was not happy - me on the other hand - I could not stop laughing!

We survived!

Our unplanned matching faces :)
We then went to the Top of the World restaurant in the Stratosphere. The restaurant turns very slowly and makes a full rotation every hour and 17 minutes. We both had awesome cheeseburgers! We made it a little under half way around before we had to hurry and go and catch a cab to our hotel to get ready for the wedding! About 3:00 our hummer limo picked us up and took us to our chapel! We finalized the ceremony plans and Elvis came in and renewed our vows. It was SO fun. Nathan had on an old school leisure suit (looked a little like a pimp) and I had on a sequin prom dress I found online for very cheap. They were perfect! We just wanted a fun little ceremony for our memories sake and that is what we got!

Headed to our vow renewal

Our limo :)

We then went back to our hotel to get ready for dinner and our other Cirque Du Soleil show that we had bought tickets for before we left - Mystere. We made reservations at a steak house called Smith & Wollensky per recommendation of Nathan's uncle. It was our most expensive meal by far - but it was a great experience. We both liked our food and had a great dinner. We then went to Treasure Island for the Mystere show. I hate to say it, but we really did not care for this show - and I hated that because the tickets were almost $300. Nathan and I both fell asleep several times, it was just not entertaining. (The show was at 9:30, so it wasn't like we were ready for bed or anything) Most of the show was just people dancing around doing ballet or flying or doing tricks with a harness on (which I could do I imagine). The end had some acrobatics that were pretty cool, but other than the old man that ran around playing tricks on the audience before it started, I was not impressed. I would not say that everyone wouldn't enjoy it - but I would say to try to get discount tickets from one of the street half price vendors there. It just wasn't for us. A weird thing that happened was we took a taxi twice this day. Once from the Stratosphere to our hotel to get ready for the wedding because these are two of the farthest points on the strip and once from Treasure Island to our hotel because it was pretty late and far when we got out of Mystere. Both times we had the same cab driver! How insane is that? The cab driver said she has been driving a cab there for 15 years and only had that happen 4 times! We even ran into people we knew in Vegas! With all these strange luck things happening for us - we couldn't get lucky on the slot machines to save our life!

Headed to dinner and Mystere

Dinner at Smith & Wollensky
Thursday we had no plans! We just saved that whole day for any last minute things we wanted to do. We wanted to check out Caesars Palace so after a breakfast in a french restaurant in New York, New York, we headed that way. We shopped in Caesars Palace Mall and had lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. I had some enchiladas and Nathan had salmon and shrimp - both were really good. We shared a piece of Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake - which was amazing! We went to watch the Bellagio water show - so cool! We then did some more shopping and headed back to New York, New York to ride their roller coaster and swim at our hotel. The roller coaster was rough! It hurt our necks, but it was fun! It was funny to see our picture afterwards - we both stuck our tongues out and didn't even plan it! Great minds think alike :)  We then got to our hotel and changed clothes to go swim. Well, apparently our pool closes at 6:00 - I swear I read it was 8:00, so they were closing the pool when we got there :( So, we changed for dinner and headed to Mon Ami Gami for dinner. Well, when we got there the wait was going to be an hour and a half - so we had to make other plans. We walked on down to Treasure Island and ate at Senor Frogs - we were looking fro somewhere fun and we were craving nachos. The food was horrible and cold and wrong and our wait was WAY longer than we were told. I don't recommend it. We had planned on going to Fremont Street after this - but it was so late and we had to be at the airport at 6:00 a.m. we just decided it wasn't worth it. So, we headed back to the hotel where Nathan played slots and I started packing our stuff.

Bellagio water show

Headed out to dinner on our last night
We got up about 4:30 a.m. and packed up and headed to the airport. Then it was time for more airport security fun! I forgot to take the water out of my computer bag - I had it on the plane coming out there so I didn't think about it, but I forgot I had bought it after security - so I had to have my bags searched and fill out paperwork on my water before they threw it away. Nathan had to once again get his license approved - then a buzzer went off and he was chosen for a random search. (After we got home I had a note from TSA in my checked bag that it had been searched also - we literally had every kind of search possible I think - which really makes me feel better about flying, it would be hard to get away with much of anything). We had breakfast at the airport and I slept on the plane ride home while Nathan took pictures of all the cool stuff I was missing. I just couldn't stay awake!

That first breath of Arkansas air was amazing - it smelled so good! Ahhh, God's Country! :) We then had a quick lunch at Jose's and headed home to unpack and get our babies! When we saw Noah he gave me a big hug and said "Momma! You came back, I am so proud of you! You are SO pretty!". Ryan just squealed with excitement and smiled really big! They are both amazing little people.

Vegas is an awesome city full of life! When we first got there it was very overwhelming and I wanted to leave. The people bugging you while you were just trying to walk somewhere, the people clicking picture of naked women at you trying to get you to take them, nothing being free (except for walking) - it was just a lot.  (Side story - Nathan decided on the last night to take the naked women cards for 3-4 blocks before our hotel and he got over 40 cards with all different naked women on them - impressive! They were left in the trash in the room through) But, by Thursday I felt like a pro and was fine with all that craziness and was sad to be leaving so soon!

I am so glad I got 5 uninterrupted days with my husband - I haven't had that in a very long time. It felt weird to go to the grocery store without him on Saturday! I really missed my home while we were gone (not so much that I didn't have a great time) and I think that is a good sign. I love my house, my chair, my shows, my yoga pants, my cherry coke with no ice in a glass, watching my babies play in the floor - that is the life! :) I am so glad I got this much needed, deserved (even if it is hard to admit) vacation and made awesome memories with my husband! Who knows, we may even try to go somewhere again next year ;)