Monday, November 30, 2009


This morning Brody woke up in a TERRIBLE mood. It was so unlike him. He usually wakes up very happy and ready to take on the day. He was upset that he couldn't get his bed made to perfection. After I helped him accomplish this goal, he broke down sobbing. When I finally got him to talk to me he explained his tears.

"Why did Daddy have to go back to work today? I really miss him!!!" (said in between sniffs and sobs)

Suddenly it all made sense. He's going thru withdrawals. For the past 9 days Daddy hasn't had to go to work. We've all been together as a family and have had lots of other friends and family surrounding us 24/7 (I guess 24/9 would be more accurate! lol). Suddenly it's just Mommy, Brody, and Barrett. Brody was so upset that he didn't even want to call Daddy...he didn't think he'd be able to stop crying to talk to him. He finally calmed down as we got in the car and headed to work. Brody asked to call Mike and he told Daddy how excited he was for him to get home and told him how much he misses him. I miss him too! It's hard getting back to "normal" life after vacation!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Visit with Great-Grandma K

Last night we arrived at Great-Grandma K's house just in time for bed. As the boys were brushing their teeth Mike showed Brody the little cups that Great Grandma K keeps in her bathroom. Mike remembers using little cups like these when he stayed at her house as a little boy and he was telling Brody how cool he used to think these cups were! I think Brody really liked them too.
This morning Mark, Angela, Jayden, and Grammy arrived and we started cooking. was time for more food! Today we had a Thanksgiving dinner with Great-Grandma K. I think that Grammy, Mike, and Gma K did most of the cooking while the rest of us entertained the kids.
Brody was showing me some rocks that he found in Gma K's backyard and she overheard his enthusiasm for the rocks (yes...right now he loves rocks. He comes home with them in his pockets nearly every day!) and emerged from her room with a rather large rock. Brody was so excited when she told him he could take it home!
Mike cooked the turkey for us (yummmmm!)
and Jayden gave everyone kisses!
After lunch Grammy took the boys outside to play. Notice that Barrett and Jayden have rocks in their hands? I bet they're thinking, "I'll stick these in my pocket for bargaining with Brody later!"
group picture
Great-Grandma K with her grands and great grands
We tried to get a picture of her with just the greats...but it didn't work out. This is what most of the pictures looked like!
We spent some time looking thru old picture albums and talking about family history, and then it was time to get on the road to head home. When we went outside there were some people taking their horses for a walk and they stopped and let the boys pet them. Jayden even got to sit in the saddle!

As we left town, Mike decided to take a scenic route rather than going straight to I-35. We were able to stay on small, country highways all the way thru KS. Close to Blackwell we ended up back on I-35. We were both a little disappointed when we saw the major highway in front of us. It had been such a peaceful drive thru the county. Both boys took a long nap as we drove and we'd seen lots of deer feeding out in fields along the road. Meeting up with I-35 was like seeing a sign that said, "Welcome back to life in the big city!"

We'll miss you country life! Until next time....

Friday, November 27, 2009

Plains - The day after

Today is the day after Thanksgiving...and food is still abundant! Even Barrett started the day off right...eating!
Derek had to go home last night, but before anyone else left I made certain that we got a group picture.
Of course, we had to get a silly picture too!
and one of Grandma & Grandpa with their 4 kids (Nancy, LH, Angie, and Cherie)
and one of Grammy with her 3 grands...Brody (who was putting her in a choke hold), Barrett (who was crying for his dart gun), and Jayden (who was sitting there wondering why his cousins wouldn't stay still for a simple picture!)
I love this picture. There's so much symbolism here and it says so much about youth and growing old. Barrett stood there for the longest time just watching his great-grandfather walk across the porch.
Like I said earlier, we had a lot of leftovers and there was always someone in the kitchen munching on food!
Today was a beautiful day outside and we spent a good amount of time on the front porch in the sun.
Yesterday LH took Mike and Brody to see some of his tractors. Brody even got to drive one sitting on Mike's lap. I sent the camera with Mike, but he was more interested in driving the tractors than taking pictures of them, so it will just have to live on in the memories of Mike and Brody. We always enjoy spending time with our family in Plains and are sad to leave knowing it may be a year before we see them again.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Most of today was spent preparing and eating food. Instead of having a Thanksgiving lunch, this year we had the big meal around 6 pm. Tom, Angie (Nancy's sister), Morgan, and Kiri were driving down from Ohio to surprise Grandma & Grandpa and we weren't sure what time they'd arrive. So we had a big breakfast...and then snacked on tons of food the rest of the day. I'm not sure how we still had room to eat a big dinner...but we did!

Barrett had fun helping Grammy make some Jello. He threw the marshmallows in the bowl for her.
The kids spent most of their time downstairs talking, laughing, eating, and watching football games. Here are Derek, Jared, Heidi, and Holly having a good 'ole time.
This was the first time the whole family has been together in many years. We were missing a few of Tom & Angie's kids, but everyone else was present and accounted for!

The dinner was delicious, but true to form, Barrett only ate a few bites. Then he crawled down under the table and played. I wondered what kind of view he had down there. Curious too? It was something like this...

As soon as we finished clearing off the table it was bedtime for our little ones. I snapped a picture of Kelly and Barrett before I took him to bed.

What a fun day full of joy and laughter. I'm so thankful for our family and can't wait to spend more time with them tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Last day in Sterling

Chris & Teri's kids were finally out of school that gave Brody and Barrett someone else to play with! Erin is going to be a great babysitter some day. She played with the boys for a long time and was very patient with them.
Brody made sure he still found lots of time to love on Remington today. Several times I saw him go outside and just sit there talking to Remy. Wonder what they were talking about?
Mid-morning Teri and I decided to get out of the house and take the kids to town for some hot chocolate at the local coffee shop. Hans wanted to stay home (I think he's now appreciating the fact that his parents stopped with Alan...and that he doesn't have toddlers around all the time wanting to play with his toys) and Collin was hunting with Mike & Chris, but the rest of us ventured to town. Brody ordered a peppermint hot chocolate (didn't sound too good to me...but it turned out to be really good and he told me he liked it because "it leaves my mouth feeling really fresh!")
Around lunch time the guys showed back up at the house. All the kids ran out to see how many birds they'd shot.
Collin shot his first duck on their hunting trip, however, they'd been unable to find it once it went down. Here he is holding one that Chris shot.
After lunch everyone was busy making creations out of play-doh at the kitchen table.
Then there was time for a little wrestling...
and a little napping in the warm sun (notice the reflection in the fireplace).
Brody was tickled pink when he discovered a dart gun that's as tall as he is! He can hold it, but he's not quite big enough to shoot the thing!
Remington went hunting again this afternoon. This was (most likely) the last time Mike will get to hunt with him. He said Remington did awesome. He even retrieved two birds that went down on the other side of the river!
Barrett loved this little peddal tractor. If only his legs were long enough to make it go by himself.
Before Mike cleaned one of the pheasant that he shot, he pulled out the tail feathers for Brody to keep.
We left Sterling around 5:00 for St. John to pick up Grammy and then it was on to Plains for Thanksgiving. We loved getting to spend so much time in Sterling this year and really treasure the friendship that we have with Chris & Teri and their family. Our friendship with their family is one that will only grow deeper thru the coming years.
**I know...this was picture overload...but just keep in mind that this wasn't even half of the pictures that I took today!**

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sitter for 6 kids?

We had a little bit of trouble finding a babysitter to watch Chris & Teri's 4 kids and our 2 kids (everyone was out of town). Tina's daughter, Summer, and one of her friends came thru for us and offered to babysit so that we could go to dinner (and have a few minutes to talk uninterrupted) with Chris & Teri. I can't remember the name of the restaurant? Was it Jillians? (Maybe Teri will comment and tell me if that's right.) It was really good. I had a delicious salmon dinner. It was so good that I ate the whole filet! Guess it's better than eating an entire chicken fried steak platter...right?!
After dinner we stopped at Wal-mart...because (just like when we lived there), you can't go to Hutch and not stop at Wally World! I needed some new sunglasses, but I didn't find any I liked. Chris and Teri had fun trying some sunglasses on too!

I wonder if they're still glad that I had my camera with me? lol

"I miss you Remy!"

This morning (after Teri put me thru a tough Billy Blanks workout...I think it was payback for aerobics class yesterday), the boys and I went with Teri to pick up Remington. When we moved to TX, Teri's brother adopted Remington from us so that he could continue to live the life of a country, hunting lab. We've really missed him and Brody was sooooo excited to see him!

I could tell (from Remy's enthusiasm) that he remembered us. He got in the mini van and gave the boys kisses (and then tried to climb into my lap...not a good thing when he weighs at least 115-120 lbs). Brody said, "I remember you Remy! I've really missed you!" Then he sat there petting and hugging on him all the way back to Chris & Teri's. When we got back to their house, Brody didn't want to let Remy out of his sight. He followed him around everywhere he went.

At one point Brody leaned over hugging Remington and said, "Mommy? Will you take a picture of us? I want to hang it up in my room at home."

When Mike & Chris got back from their morning hunt, Brody stopped following Remy for a few minutes to check out one of the geese they shot.

During lunch we were talking about how the guys were going to take Remington with them to hunt this afternoon. Before I knew it, Brody had his face buried in my lap sobbing! When I finally got him to breathe enough to talk to me, he explained that he didn't want Remy to leave. I guess he'd planned to take Remy on a walk this afternoon. So I bundled us up and we headed out to take Remy on a walk (with instructions from Mike not to wear him out so that he'd still have energy to go hunt). I told Brody that Remington would just be gone while he was taking a nap and he finally decided that it would be ok.

Remington is suffering from cancer and has several large tumors on his body. He still seems to feel good, but it's been sad for us to know that this is the last time that we'll get to see him. With as large as some of the tumors are, I don't think he'll still be with us next Thanksgiving. He has been such an amazing dog and after only 9 just seems too soon to have to say goodbye! We still have one more day before we leave we'll get lots of hugs and kisses (and hunting retrieves) during that time.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dinner with the Wilsons

After lunch today, I joined Teri for a ladies Bible study while Mike and the boys napped. Around 5:30 we headed over to Dwayne and Rene's house to have dinner with their family (minus Rene who had to teach gymnastics in the studio behind their house).

It was fun to catch up with Dwanye and his six kids. After dinner the kids headed off to the basement to play and we had a little bit of time to talk. At one point Barrett came back upstairs. Kidist followed him and sat on the floor coloring with him for quiet a while. I think she really liked Barrett because she was following him wherever he went.

We finally joined the kids in the basement and the boys got Mike to play them in a game of basketball.
Cedric and Kidist were busy making Barrett laugh in various ways.
I guess I was too busy having fun with the kids to realize that I didn't get a picture of everyone! The boys had lots of fun and weren't ready to leave. We ended up staying until bedtime. Back at Chris & Teri's we put the boys to bed and then the adults watched the Monday Night Football game (I'm pretty sure I fell asleep! lol)

Back to work

A week ago I called Vicky, one of the ladies who took my aerobics class when we lived in KS, and told her that I was going to be in town this week and was planning on coming to aerobics class Monday morning. She said she'd let the girls know. A few hours later I got an email from Trey (one of the new employees at the gym) saying, "The aerobics instructor is going to be out of town on Monday, but the aerobics ladies thought that you might want to teach?" I haven't taught aerobics since we moved (I just take someone else's requires a lot less thought and preparation!), but I agreed to teach.

Last night I was laying in bed and realized that I hadn't made up a routine for class yet! I got out of bed at 11 pm and wrote a routine real quick so that I wouldn't think about it all night.

It's amazing how it felt like a normal Monday morning as I pulled up at the rec commission. I guess almost 8 years of pulling into the same parking space doesn't lose it's familiarity very quickly. Everything looked just as I'd left it. We walked down the well worn path to the front door of the fitness center remembering to step over the drain cover so it didn't clang and startle the person sitting in the office. They boys were excited to go to the play room and I headed to the aerobics room to get everything set up.

The ladies were a little worried when I started naming off all the equipment I needed them to collect to get ready to start class, but they got their stuff together and we were off running (well...stepping, lifting, lunging, curling, etc). It's crazy how I haven't taught in almost 2 years, but I picked back up just like I'd taught a class yesterday. We had a lot of fun...and I worked them pretty hard! I think they'll be sore tomorrow. What can I say? I wanted them to remember that I was there! lol

After class the boys and I talked with Junior for a little bit. Junior even took Brody upstairs to sweep the gym floor (they did this together every day when I worked there).

The office hasn't changed much.

There are still baby toys everywhere (Trey brings his kids to work with him sometimes).

Kids are still allowed in the weight room...well...maybe that's just my kids that were always in the weight room. Junior was showing Barrett how to use a row machine.

Around 11:00 we said goodbye to Junior and Trey and headed next door to have lunch with my good friend, Tina. I've really missed talking with her daily like I did before we moved. Life gets so busy and it's so easy to say "I'll email her tomorrow". I'm sure you know that tomorrow never comes! We had fun catching up and watching the boys play.

After we got home from Kansas Brody kept telling Namaw about eating lunch with Tina and Chip & Scout. Namaw had no idea who Chip or Scout were and asked Brody if one of those was Tina's husband (she couldn't remember Matt's name). Brody started laughing and said, "No! Those are her dogs!" I think he remembered Tina's dogs from when we lived in KS, so now I know he won't forget them!