Monday, August 24, 2015

Fair Fun 2015!

One of my fondest childhood memories is going to the fair with my dad. He always bought us the arm bands and patiently waited as we rode rides over and over again. He let us play all the games and we always left with some great "prize". Knowing that I am an adult now and that those memories still mean so much to me really makes taking my kids to the fair that much more fun! For years now we have met my dad at the fair on Thursday night for arm band night - so the kids can ride all the rides they want. About 30 minutes before we were supposed to go this year, Nathan called me and said he got called out to work clean-up on a semi-truck accident and couldn't make it but he wanted to go on Friday night so he could go with the kids too. The kids were just fine with getting to go twice.

Thursday night we met my dad, sister-in-law (to be) Jessica, nieces Emma, Savannah, Eliza and Alex and my nephew Greyson. Nathan's mom came too and my sister-in-law and nephew Whitney and Paxton showed up just before we were leaving. We also saw so many friends there - one cool thing about our small town fair is getting to see so many people we know. I rode a ride with the kids at first and the spinning was not agreeing with me - I can ride any roller coaster there is, but I cannot handle the spinning rides. Noah rode one of the bigger rides and from the look on his face and his screaming "Momma! Momma!" while he was on it I decided he was not ready for those yet. We stuck with the smaller rides and playing in the petting zoo for that night.

Friday night we went with just the four of us, but ended up running into the kids babysitter, Mrs. Laurie, so Ryan rode rides with them while Noah and Daddy rode the bigger rides. I tried to talk Noah out of the bigger rides but he insisted and said "God protected him last night on it so he knows he will again tonight". So, of course with that reasoning I let him ride. He loved them! The bigger the better! We met up at the end for some games and went to the petting zoo one last time and to look at crafts before heading out.

I know a lot of people bribe their kids not to go to the fair, but not us. It is just one of the things I look forward to doing with my kids. It isn't cheap, it is dirty, but their faces and laughs make it worth it. Noah had tears in his eyes when he told the fair "bye" when we were leaving. Ryan has asked several times when we can go back to the fair. Those experiences are worth more than anything. Soon they will ask me for fair money and be gone - I am going to enjoy every second of being so important to them while I can!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Class of 2028 starts NOW!

It is really hard to believe that Noah is old enough to start Kindergarten but also that I am old enough to have a child that is ready to start Kindergarten! But, that time has come! Noah has went to daycare since he was 10 weeks old and I don't pick him up until 5:15 from there, so now that he is in school he will be coming to work with me when he gets out this year (since there are no after school programs until 1st grade at his school) so I will get to see him at 3:00 every day so technically I will see him more now that he is in school! I have a private office at work and he is really a good kid so between homework, movies, and playing outside I think he will be fine this year.

Noah's daycare had a graduation party for him on his last day! He got to pick the dessert for the day so he chose pudding :) His sitter served spaghetti (one of Noahs' favorites) for lunch. Then his sitter's mother came over and the kids all got to make slime with her! They went on and on about how fun it was! He received his diploma and a bag of goodies from the sitter! He has been going to Mrs. Laurie since he was 10 weeks old and she has been amazing for him and our whole family! She has always made sure he was well taken care of  - she even kept him the whole time I was in the hospital having Ryan so our family could all be there with us. Noah loves Mrs. Laurie and already can't wait to see her when we pick Ryan up daily :)

Noah and Mrs. Laurie
Pudding Party!

Pudding Party!

Making Slime with Sammaw!

The same day we ended daycare, we began our Kindergarten experience with Open House. We got to meet Noah's teacher, Ms. Damon, and Noah got to play in his classroom while the parents went to a meeting with the principal and school staff to discuss school rules and procedures. We dropped off all of Noah's school supplies and he was ready to go! He has  so much fun at open house and couldn't wait for Monday!

This picture was so awesome! He colored it while I was at the parent meeting at Open House. He said he ran out of room for the rest of his last name, so he stopped there! Then I thought he drew train tracks running over a guy (on the left) but it was a guy on a ladder painting the train! He is very creative!

I kept Noah with me on Friday last week as a special last day with him before he starts Kindergarten. He loves going to yard sales and I usually only go during Bargains Galore on 64 so we made it a tradition to go together. Ryan is still a little too young to enjoy it but I think by next year she will be ready to go too! There were not as many yard sales out this year but we stopped at a few on the way to Russellville. We only bought some new hair bows for Ryan from a lady that was making them at a yard sale. We went to Chic-fil-A for lunch then headed to watch Fantastic 4 - it was a fun day! We did end the day on a not so good note - got a call from daycare that Ryan wasn't feeling well and I managed to get her into the doctor to find out she had gotten Hand/Foot/Mouth disease! :( A baby at daycare had it the week before but it had been long enough we thought we had got lucky and missed it but apparently not! So, no daycare for her until Wednesday so we will have to do her first day pictures then :)

On Sunday we started a new tradition with Noah. I got a shirt made with his graduation year printed on it and decided to take his picture in front of his school for that year in that shirt every year until graduation. He was striking poses left and right - he was cracking me up! He would lean over and cross his feet and say "how does this look" - he kills me! I LOVE this tradition and think it will make for an awesome  memory to look back on!

The morning of the first day had finally came! We were ready - good breakfast, cool clothes, backpack ready, lunch packed, and pictures on the porch! We got there early to beat the rush for a parking spot so we sat in the car and talked about what all he was going to do and had a quick prayer. Then we marched into the school! We were told we would have to leave the kids at their class door but I was glad I could walk him in on the first day. I helped him unpack his backpack and took a picture at his desk, got a hug and a kiss and Ryan and I left. He was so excited to play with blocks and was making "so many cool creations" when I left him. I didn't cry, I mean I could have, but I didn't.

My only fears and concerns about Kindergarten are his safety and bullies. There are crazy people out there and the thought of one coming in my kids classroom and shooting them all is just too much to think about. SO thankful our campus has firearms for protection. Noah has always been 1 of 5 kids in daycare, now he is 1 of 16 in school. I don't want him lost in the crowd or to be just a number. That small class size did make me feel better about that though - I was expecting at least 20 kids in his class! Mentally he is very ready - I am not worried at all about him not knowing what is asked of him or not being able to learn. He is such a smart kid!

I knew many bullies when I was in school and I know Noah hasn't seen too much of that yet so it confuses him. He has asked me at the park and birthday parties before "why is that kid being mean to me" when someone was picking on him. It just breaks my heart to know he is about to learn a lot about mean kids and that not everyone in the world is nice. It is a life lesson that has to be learned but will be hard at the same time.

After I picked him up he was all smiles! He was excited about a prize he won for resting good at nap time. I held the prize hostage until I got details on his first day :) Of course everything was "good" or "fine" but I asked him about every detail - lunch, recess, bathroom breaks - EVERYTHING! I could tell he was getting annoyed after a while so I stopped, for a little bit anyway :) He had grandparents, aunt and uncles all calling to see how his day went - this was a big deal for our family :) He was excited and ready to go back  - which I am hoping lasts a while, maybe even all year - I may be wishful thinking though.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Peaches, Rhea Lana, & Races!

We have been really busy lately! Time to catch up! First we had our local Peach Festival. I have always loved the Peach Festival! The kids are now loving it just as much as I did! We walked around the square, watched Emma in the diaper derby, raced turtles in the Terrapin Derby, and Noah was in the parade for the Little Mister pageant. It was a fun week!

I actually missed watching the kids race their turtles this year because the local Rhea Lana sale fell on this same day and time. I love shopping for the kids clothes at this sale. 75% of my kids clothing is usually from a consignment or second hand. Kids grow so fast and clothes can be expensive so this is how I am able to get them nice things on a budget. Selling clothes in this sale is one of the best things I decided to do. It is hard work to get everything ready to sell - but I space it out and do it a little at a time over a few weeks. I ended up consigning 270 items and made well over what I spent on the kids winter wardrobes. In order to shop at the earliest time you have to work at the sale to earn a pass. I actually look forward to this - it is a nice break from my normal routine and I have always ended up working with the nicest ladies there. Also, it is fun helping other moms find great things to fit their budget!

Loaded down with stuff to sell!

After I worked at the sale on Friday, Nathan and I headed out for a Mommy and Daddy weekend away! Nathan tried to cancel on me (again) because he was having a bad day - but I packed him a bag and finally got him out of town! We went to a race track in Ozark, MO to watch our friends race. I just love our racing friends - they are an extended family that we rarely get to see. Nathan is not going to get to race this year, his car won't be ready in time and he doesn't want to rush it. So, we are trying to make it to as many races as we can to support our friends and to support the racing class. This also happened to be one of our best friends birthdays while we were there - so we helped her celebrate until after 2:00 a.m. Saturday morning! :) It was also tax free weekend in Missouri so we did a little shopping and ate at Lamberts before heading back to the track on Saturday evening. The races didn't end until after 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning - so it was some long days - hot when the sun was out, then cool in the dark - but we loved having the break and spending time with our friends. We can't wait to go again next month  - hopefully :)

Nathan and the birthday girl!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Be There...

The other day, a friend of mine said something to me that got me thinking. We were talking about taking lots of pictures and documenting a child's life growing up. I told her that I didn't have many pictures from when I was little and very little documentation of anything. It was a different time back then. It is so easy to pull a phone out or a digital camera and instantly capture moments as they happen. My friend then said "Isn't it amazing what we do for our kids to make sure they have more or better than we did". I got to thinking about it and this is more true for me than I ever realized.

Growing up my parents were good to me. They pretty much made sure I had everything I ever wanted and for sure ever needed. I did not end up with any sense of entitlement and work for things I want or need as an adult. I always felt loved and never wondered if they cared. My parents may have divorced when I was 3, but they are the best co-parenters I know. Don't get me wrong, it took years to get there, but to have my Dad at my Mom and Stepdads house on Christmas morning or at the Thanksgiving table all together is awesome! They both got over their dislike for each other and made it work for the kids and grandkids. That brings me to my first point - I do not want my kids to experience their parents divorcing. I was so young that I made it fine but I have seen others not so fortunate. I do not even have but one memory of my parents ever even being married. I want them to be able to have their parents together and witness them love on each other and for Nathan and I to not have to miss out on anything in the kids lives due to whose turn it is with the kids. I grew up like that and it was so routine it didn't ever bother me - but the thought of doing it as a parent kills me. I am in my marriage for life and it would take A LOT for me to give up on that. We will BE THERE for my kids and for each other always and I want them to see that.

Both of my parents have worked full-time my entire life. With that comes them missing out on some of my sporting events, school programs, etc. Once again, it was always like that so I never thought a thing about it - they were there for a majority of things though. I love my job! I have been fortunate enough to work somewhere that I don't dread going to and I make enough money to pay for what we need. I also have flexibility for sick kids or sporting events. We are not poor and don't struggle but I don't have much extra money lying around and I have some debt. I could probably go somewhere else and make lots more money but I would miss out on going to Noah's t-ball games, getting to go eat lunch with Noah at school, or I would get in trouble for taking off with my sick kid. I don't want to miss a single thing because they will be gone before I know it and these memories (both for me of watching them and for them knowing I was there) will be all we have left. Right now with life I can be there or be rich. I want to BE THERE and I want them to remember that.

Neither of my parents have much retirement but they are old enough to still be able to depend on Social Security being around for them. They are both over 65 and still working because they need the money. Last year, Nathan and I finally got around to setting up retirement accounts and doing some financial planning so we can retire later and be comfortable. That is the plan anyway. I want to be able to babysit my grandkids so my kids won't have to trust a stranger with their kids (thank God for our amazing sitter - some people have not been so fortunate). I want to travel with Nathan and see the world together. I want to be able to afford to take our kids and grandkids with us on trips they might not be able to afford at that stage in their lives. I want to spoil my grandkids. Don't get me wrong - my parents do a lot of these things anyway, even while working full time, but I know it would be easier on them if they didn't have to. I want to BE THERE for my kids and grandkids when they need me later.

I am not saying my parents were not there for me in these ways at all - just that I know it could have been easier on them and us if things were different. I want to go into the future hoping to learn from the past - not necessarily mistakes from the past, just to maybe do things differently in a way that is better for everyone.

I want my kids to have a box full of childhood memories to share with their spouses someday. I want their spouse to have an idea of how their husband/wife was raised. I completed baby books for both kids and have a birthday book with chapters for every birthday up to their 18th that is up to date and I try to complete as soon as the partying is over. I document and share my kids on Facebook and through this blog. I know am sure it annoys some people but I have lots of people who come up to me and tell me they love watching them grow and hearing their stories. I have lots of family from Missouri to California to Hawaii and seeing my online posts are one of the only ways they can keep up with us.

We may not be rich or have the fanciest possessions. We do, however, have the memories of being there for each other and the promise to continue that.