Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Stillwells Take on Kansas City!

I have decided the kids are big enough to do more traveling. I have been waiting on them to get old enough for this for awhile and with Noah in school now, I wanted to start summer vacations. While I am not sure we are completely there yet, we managed to have a good time on our summer vacation this year. We decided to go to Kansas City to take the kids to their first MLB game and go to Legoland. 

We started out driving up on Friday. We got to our hotel (Candlewood Suites - which I love) and unpacked and changed clothes and headed to Kauffman Stadium for the game. We hit up the gift shop and got our stadium food (we wanted the full game experience) and got to our seats about 15 minutes before game time. Our seats were on the 5th row on the 3rd base side - they were in the shade and there was a breeze so it was no nice! The kids did good for this being their first game - we even got some compliments from the people sitting around us about how well behaved they were. (Of course the people beside us not only knew where Clarksville was but have family that lives here - I swear we can always find those people wherever we go) They both asked several times if the game was almost over - starting in the 4th inning. But, as long as Noah had food (he ate popcorn, nachos and pizza) and Ryan got to cheer (I think we have a future cheerleader on our hands) they were happy. The Royals won and we got to see an awesome firework show to end our first night in Kansas City.

The next morning we got up early and got a McDonald's breakfast and headed to wait for Legoland to open. (We were a little excited) :) This was not a Legoland theme park, but a Legoland Discovery Center - but it was still a lot of fun! We got a tour on how Legos are made, got to see how many Legos the kids weighed, and what their height is in Legos. We got to ride rides, go to Ninjago Training Camp, build with giant Legos, build and race Lego cars, make Lego pizzas, and watch a 4D Lego movie complete with rain, wind and snow! We had the best time and the kids cried when we left because they were sad it was over already! I am hoping we get to take them back someday!


Making Lego Pizzas

From there we went to lunch on a recommendation from a friend to a place called LC's BBQ. The neighborhood was not the best, to be honest I was a little scared. Once we pulled up I thought a lot of people were there, which made me feel better. Turns out it is right beside a junk yard and those were all junk cars. Back to scared. The food was really good, the staff was really nice, but I was more than ready to get back to the hotel. 

We were meeting our friends Jason and Sarah that live in the area for dinner at the Legends Outlet Mall. We went early and did a little shopping and then introduced the kids to Dave & Busters - which they loved! (And who are we kidding, Momma and Daddy loved it too). We wanted to eat at T-Rex Restaurant but when we went to get a table they said it would be 2 hours. Yeah, the kids would never make that, plus we were wanting to swim before the hotel pool closed. So, we ended up at Jose Peppers. The food was pretty good and it was nice to catch up with our friends and let them meet the kids. Then it was off to the hotel to get a quick swim in before bedtime. 

Sunday morning we got up and Nathan and I got everything packed up while the kids slept until after 9:00! They were worn out! Our first stop was Cabela's - which was so cool! We went before when visiting, but it was a whole new experience with the kids. We went through the aquarium and the Deer Mule Museum and the wildlife exhibits. Noah loved the shooting range and for the first time ever asked if he could go hunting and get a deer head for our wall :) We decided to try to eat at T-Rex for lunch since Noah was so disappointed we were not able to eat there the day before. They said an hour wait so we decided to go back to Dave and Buster's next door while we waited for our table. After only 20 minutes our table was ready! 

We quickly went back to cash in some of our Dave and Buster prize tickets and started the long drive back. The drive back seemed to go by a lot faster than the drive there - which is not usually how it goes for me. We were all ready for our own beds and to get some rest before starting our week. SO many good memories were made and I cannot wait to plan our summer vacation next year - maybe even a little bit bigger of a trip :)

DISCLAIMER: While this vacation was full of so many great things, I don't want to give the false reality that it was all perfect. The kids fought in the car, were too loud in the hotel room and didn't want to eat their food at the restaurants and were threatened with their lives several times. Everyone of us was "hangry" (hungry/angry) a few times. Ryan skipped nap time each day and would just cry for no reason while we were doing things. However, these are not the things I will remember. I will remember how excited Noah was when he was at Legoland. I will remember the squeals and smiles from Ryan while we were swimming. I will remember Nathan smiling at me and giving me a wink during the Royals game. I will remember that we were all together making memories - my favorite thing to do!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Noah's Hernia Repair

Back in March I noticed Noah's hernia and took him to his doctor. His doctor referred us to Arkansas Children's Hospital since he felt it would most likely need to be fixed surgically. We went to ACH in April and the doctor said it would need to be operated on to correct it, but we could wait since it was not causing any pain. So we decided to wait until school is out and t-ball was over so he wouldn't have to miss out on anything.

In early June I called ACH and was able to schedule it between all our summer vacations and activities. As the surgery time got closer, I was afraid we wouldn't be able to have it because Noah started coughing about 7 days before his surgery. I took him to the doctor and they said his lungs were clear and it was just allergies, but it seemed to be getting worse instead of better. Thankfully, they did not seem to think it was an issue on surgery day. We got there and got all checked in and had to wait about an hour before they took Noah back. I was fine until they said "this is where you say bye and give hugs and kisses" - I didn't let Noah see it, but that was not easy. At all. They said the entire surgery would be 40 minutes, with the doctor only needing 15-20 minutes.  Nathan was starving and wanted to go to the cafeteria. I of course wanted to sit and stare at the surgery board and watch Noah's name go by and wait for it to say he was done. But, Nathan insisted so I went down to the cafeteria with him. We ran into an old friend there that flys for Angel One - it was a nice distraction for a minute. Then Nathan ate and I went back to wait while he ran to the car. When I got back I asked if they said anything about Noah Stillwell. She said she just text me to let me know they were just now starting! So, that made me feel better. 15 minutes later we went back to talk to the doctor and he said it all went good and they would call us back when he woke up.

We had to wait about 45 minutes and he finally woke up. He was very out of it. He was really having trouble staying awake to drink his apple juice to make sure he could keep it down so we could go home. After he waited his time out, the nurse said he was free to go home. He instantly fell asleep and only woke up when we would stop the car. I asked him if he felt sick every time he woke up and he said no. Then we got back to Clarksville and he woke up while Nathan was in the bank. I asked him if he was sick and he said "Here is the deal. I keep needing to throw up, but I keep stopping it". I told him they gave us some bags in case he got sick on the way home so it was ok. I handed him one and he threw up in it, smiled and went back to sleep :) I wish that were the end of it. Unfortunately, this was the beginning of 2 hours of throwing up every 15 minutes. I called the hospital and they said it sounded like he was metabolizing the medicine slowly so the medicine was still making him sick, but it should be out of his system soon. Ryan and I went to get groceries and while we were gone the medicine wore off! Nathan said he sat up, looked fine and ate a banana and half a pizza! He has not stopped since then! His incision on his abdomen is sore to the touch and cough, but should be good soon.

We had a good experience with Arkansas Children's Hospital overall. They were very nice, informative and the facility was nice and clean. They kept the mood fun for Noah the entire time - even telling him jokes until he fell asleep for surgery. My only complaint was Noah's IV, and since I was not with him during this part I do not know that it could have been prevented. There are 6 places where they tried to start an IV. Thankfully he was asleep for all of that and says those spots don't hurt at all. Maybe he had bad veins. Maybe it was a new person. It happens and he is fine. I just hate seeing 6 bruises on his hands and wrists.

We spent the rest of the weekend doing low active activities. The kids painted pottery on Saturday and loved it! I see us going back to do that again and maybe make some gifts there for other people.

Sunday we build blocks, played outside and went to pick out Ryan's bed and started the process of changing her room over to a big girl room. That big change will be happening this week along with our summer vacation! Lots of fun stuff going on and memories to be made!

The bed she chose :)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

"Love Triangle"

Recently I heard the song called Love Triangle by Raelynn. It really got me thinking a lot about things - my childhood, my kids childhood, etc. My parents divorced when I was 3 years old. I have 1 memory of them being married - I was sitting in front of the TV, my mom was int he kitchen and my dad got home from work and walked by and rubbed my head. That is all I remember about them being together. After that it was weekends at Dad's, week days at moms and my parents did not really get along. As an adult now with kids I can totally see how hard co-parenting with an ex would be and can see why some things went down how it did. I did not have a bad childhood or anything and I always felt loved and cared for. I am SO happy that they are the best co-parents and grandparents now! We all spend the holidays and birthday parties all together under one roof or at one party. My mom has welcomed my dad into her home for these occasions since he doesn't have family here (besides us kids) so we can all celebrate together and the grandkids can have us all together. Co-parenting is such an important part of a child's memory.

I am hoping my kids have good memories of their parents when they grow up. I want them to remember things like:

~Hearing Momma sing Christian music in the car while we are driving~

~Swimming with them - not being afraid to get splashed or jump in~

~Crying with them and them knowing it is ok to be sad - some things are going to be sad and hurt~

~Momma and Daddy kissing - not just hello and goodbye~

~The feeling they had when they first saw Disney World. (I know I won't forget that look)~

~Going on walks and four wheeler rides to collect the perfect sticks and rocks for their "collections"~

~The heartbreak of losing a pet - it is important  to feel all emotions fully and deeply~

~Daddy kissing mommas hand and winking at her while we are driving somewhere~

~Sleeping in eachothers rooms so they aren't "lonely and scared"~

~Losing privileges and gaining them~

~Momma and Daddy fight, but they make up. If they never see that they will grow up with unrealistic expectations for relationships.~

~Getting to "drive" momma and daddy home from our laps on the dirt road~

~Special days of going to the movies and getting a toy. One of my best memories from being a child was watching The Lion King at the movies and going to KB Toy Store and getting Lion King toys.~

~Really liking a toy on vacation and then getting surprised with it later when Momma or Daddy sneaks back and gets it. My dad always did this to me as a child and I never caught on that he was going to do it :)~

~Painting momma and daddys toenails :) ~

~Getting excited when Daddy got home from work because that means it is time to wrestle!~

~Noah fighting bad guys in the living room with Momma and building legos with Dad. Ryan asking momma to babysit her doll or Daddy having a tea party with her.~

There is so much more I want to do with the kids that I can fit in each day! I just want their lives to be full of fun, adventure and memories. I want them to feel Momma and Daddys love "in a straight line" like the song says and they are never stuck in a love triangle. A long happy marriage takes work and it is one of my life goals for my kids. I fully realize that before I know it all I am going to have are memories and pictures and for that reason I am trying to make "more than memories" for them and me too!