Saturday, August 14, 2010

August 8, 2010 -- Our 14th Anniversary

Trent and I celebrated our 14th anniversary this past week. Time certainly puts a fun perspective on things. On the one hand 14 seems like a big number. (Am I really old enough to have been married 14 years??? It can't be true because I feel like I am 25 and I didn't get married at age 9!) But then I remember my real age (34) and then think, "Wow, I got married at age 20???? that seems so young"

On the other hand -- if 14 years can fly by so fast it is scary to think what will happen over the next 14 years with our kids growing up and stuff.

I should really dig out our wedding photos (and convert them to digital) and post them but right now that seems like too big of a project to start . . . so sorry not this year (maybe for our 15th anniversary???)

In the past 14 years, we have seen together. . .
  • Jamie finishing college and grad school (1997 and 1999)
  • Trent doing the same (1999)
  • Moving from Provo, Utah to an apartment in Stafford TX (1999)
  • Trent starting to work for Ernst & Young (1999)
  • Jamie teaching school at Stafford Middle School (1999-2000)
  • Our first child (Julianne) born in 2000
  • Buying our first home in Missouri City (2001)
  • Our second child (Catherine) born in 2002
  • Our first miscarriage in 2003
  • Our third daughter (Madelyn) in 2004
  • Our first son (Adam) in 2006
  • Building and moving into our second home in Katy TX (2007)
  • Our second miscarriage (2008)
  • Moving to New Canaan, CT so Trent could work in Ernst & Youngs National office in Manhattan (2008)
  • Our third miscarriage (2009)
  • Trent starting to work for 2 years at the Financial Accounting Standards Board in CT (2010)
  • And now less than 2 months until our second son and fifth child is born (2010)
We have had highs and lows, but have always been there for each other.  In these 14 years we have seen one set of our parents become empty nesters and the other set of parents start all over (having a baby 13 years ago).  We have seen 9 (of 10) siblings graduate high school and college and 4 of them complete graduate school.  (the one born just 13 years ago obviously has not graduated high school or college yet!).  We have seen 7 of them married.  We have become aunts and uncles 14 times. 

So much has changed over the years and yet so much is still the same.

To celebrate -- we bought a new table and chairs set for our breakfast room.  (We are just so romantic that way!!!!). 

And tonight we are going out to dinner and a movie.  It may not be the most glamourous celebration, but it is the kind of low key celebration that we enjoy most-- just hanging out together!

Sunday Morning, August 8th

Madelyn finally lost her first tooth! It was so wiggly it was bothering her and yet she could not bring herself to pull it out. The permanent tooth had already grown in (nearly completely) behind it. Finally Daddy helped that little tooth come out. Only a few tears were shed which gave way to the giant smile she has sported ever since. She loved having the tooth fairy come.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What am I doing today, August 4, 2010?

First, I just wanted you all to know that as far as my blogs go -- I am getting caught up. On this blog (which is like our scrapbook) I am caught up to today! YEAH!!!!!!

Because today I am redoing our bar stools. Nothing fancy, just the same as before. I redid the black paint last night and today I am redoing the upholstery on the seats with identical fabric. After 2 years of daily use, the fabric needs replacing!



So if you love staple guns, come on over and hang out with me. Otherwise today I am going grocery shopping and to target.

Also, I am getting caught up with my other blogs -- I have the goal of 1 post a week for the year on both my cooking blog and my photography blog. I am 11 posts behind on the cooking blog and 5 posts behind on the photography blog. But by Sunday I should be done.

Also, Lillian and I are loving our new photography business. I have so many fun things I want to do with it, but I am making it wait until I am caught up in my personal life. So as soon as the other blogs are up to date expect more fun things at!

Sorry to clog up all your blog readers and facebook updates, but a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do. . . especially when she has her 5th baby due in 9 weeks. (but who's counting???)

Julianne's room re-decorating project

When we first moved here to New Canaan, there was some room shuffling. Before (in TX) Julianne and Catherine shared a room and Madelyn had her own room. Here Julianne had her own room and Catherine and Madelyn shared. As it was, Julianne inherited all of Madelyn's room decor that we just sort of made work for her. She liked it OK, but didn't love it. On the contrary I loved it! Madelyn's room had always been my favorite. Over the past 2 years everytime we walked by the bedding section of any store, Julianne has asked and asked for new bedding. We FINALLY did it.

Here is the room before. So sweet and cute.

And here it is after. Definately more Tween than before. But very fun and she LOVES it!

Swimming Fun

The kids love swimming. I have a love/hate relationship with swimming right now. I love being in the water. I don't feel pregnant. I don't feel huge. I just float and float! I hate being in a swimsuit out of the water. I do feel pregnant. I do feel huge. I do look huge. I do feel heavy. Oh well!

The kids are really getting good (and fast!). At the end of each day they can race me and see if they can beat me. For the first time, I am actually having to really swim in order to win. One of these days, one of them will beat me!

Enjoy this collage of their fun!

Two Brave Girls!

Catherine and Madelyn both decided to get their ears pierced. Madelyn went first. She was so brave. Catherine went next, she was only brave because Madelyn had been (in fact if Madelyn hadn't done it, I think Catherine would have chickened out (as she has before)). They each picked beautiful earrings and looks so grown up!

Happy Birthday to Madelyn!

Madelyn turned 6 years old on July 29th. It is hard to believe that our little girl is so big. She thought long and hard about what kind of birthday party to have. She decided on a butterfly party.

So I learned a new skill (facepainting) and we had fun. Each girl designed their own butterflies color scheme.

We played caterpillar, caterpillar, butterfly (duck, duck, goose). We had a butterfly hunt in the yard (for hidden foam butterflies). And of course cupcakes and icecream!

Here she is writing all her thank-you notes!

The Big Storm

Wednesday, July 21 was just like most other days. The kids and I had been swimming and I had checked the weather. There was no chance of rain in the forecast. We headed home around 4:00, all the kids bathed and I showered and as I got out of the shower I thought, "It sure does seem dark outside."

Right at 5:00, it started to rain heavy -- so heavy that there was all this loud noise on the deck. I thought it was because the rain was knocking the acorns out of the big Oak tree and when they hit the deck it is a very loud sound . . . but when I looked at the deck I could see it was very large marble sized hail. I called all the kids to come and look at the hail.

And then the wind picked up . . . and yes, again it sounded like a freight train I could just see another of our trees start to fall and was starting to run for the basement when the power went out and it was all quiet again.

But the damage was done. In our front yard, 1 huge tree down -- with the roots and everything standing straight up. In our back yard 4 more large trees down (and this time they took the fence with them) and in the wilderness area behind our house another very large tree down.

Our generator kicked on (thank goodness for that!) Our generator runs a small panel of the whole house so we have about 10 outlets, lights in the upstairs bathrooms, lights in the master bedroom, and the TV outlets in the family room. Most importantly it runs the fridge and the well pump so that we have water.

We had a similar storm / tornado just a few months before and so I assumed maybe things would be back to normal soon -- but this storm was much more fierce than the other. Julianne was at a friends house and they were unable to even get her home as all the surrounding streets were closed with trees down. It took Trent over an hour to drive his normally 15 minute drive (and that required going around 2 barricades, driving around fallen trees, and under hanging wires).

In short, we were without power for 48 hours. It was a mess. Here are some pictures from my iphone.







The lazy days of summer have finally arrived!

The date -- Thursday, July 15

That was our first "lazy day" of summer. The first day not on vacation. The first day without houseguests. And despite how much fun the previous activities had been I think all of us were excited for this day.

My kids have been watching Phineas and Ferb (with passion) and I laugh everytime the title song begins, "There's a 104 days of summer vacation til school comes along just to end it."

NOT FOR MY KIDS -- here there are 67 days of summer vacation til school comes along just to end it -- and then if you take out the vacation days . . .only 47 lazy days.

So we are making the best of our 47 days. Each day starts with the "rotation" -- 4 kids, 4 stations (piano, computer, reading, TV), 30 minutes per station = the easiest 2 hours of the day because everyone is in a different room working on something different. There is no interaction between the kids and that means NO FIGHTING and ARGUING (although there is an occasional altercation between the child and the piano!)

Then we do are best to find somewhere to swim each afternoon.

And then you add in all the extras . . . library, playdates, projects, outings, and to be quite honest . . . these days don't feel too lazy at all. In fact, I think they may be busier than school days!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Rest of Nana and Grandpa's visit

We made it to church on Sunday after our extremely late night and were grateful to sit back and relax all afternoon. We had a nice dinner. Trent made cookies (like he does every Sunday) and we rested.

The main bulk of our fun was now over. Trent started work at the FASB that Monday, July 12. It was fun to have him home in the morning and eat breakfast together. (his commute is now 15 minutes!!!!!)

As for the kids, Nana & Grandpa, and me . . . we kept ourselves busy. We went shopping on Monday, to the New Canaan Nature Center on Tuesday morning, and then while I went to several doctors appointments on Tuesday afternoon, Nana and Grandpa took the kids to a train museum. On Wednesday we went bowling. Wednesday late afternoon we drove to Trent's work where Nana and Grandpa got in his car and they headed back to the airport. We had such a fun visit!!!!

Day Trip #3 -- The Brooklyn Bridge and more of NYC

We had a busy Saturday!!!

We took the train from New Canaan to Grand Central.

Then took the subway to the Brooklyn Bridge.

Then we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and enjoyed the great skylines of both Manhattan and Brooklyn.

We went to a pizza place in Brooklyn called Grimaldi's (which was quite good) and then walked back across the bridge. (Adam and Madelyn napped in the stroller for the walk back).

Then we took the subway to the southern tip of Manhattan and took the Staten Island Ferry. It was a nice ride. We then walked through the financial district where we saw the stock exchange, federal hall, Trinity church, wall street and more.

We raced back to the subway to go to Grand Central and catch the 5:07 train home. It was a fun day. Our plan was to go home, eat dinner and watch National Treasure.

BUT, our plans didn't quite work out. As we walked into Grand Central to check the monitors to find out which track our train would be on, it became apparent that something was wrong. ALL of the trains on the New Haven line showed DELAYED on the board. I checked my email (because they send me updates) to find that all the wires at the Greenwhich station were ripped down and that the New Haven line is closed for repairs.

Apparently the heat had been so bad the previous week that it causes the wires to droop and one of the trains hooks had caught all of them.

We knew we had a long wait ahead, but we were quite frankly tired (we had easily walked 8 miles so far). We just needed somewhere to go and wait -- so we went to a movie "Despicable me.". That was just what we needed -- a cool place, with chairs, to sit and wait (and it didn't hurt that we could laugh a lot while we waited!).

When the movie was over, I had just gotten a notification that a limited shuttle train would be running. So we raced (literally) back to Grand Central where we found nothing but chaos. Trent was waiting in line to try and get information when he heard via a security guards walkie talkie that a diesel train (one that doesn't need the electrical wires) was pulling onto track 112 and would be leaving soon for Stamford. We ran to track 112. Got on and within 5 minutes the train pulled away. (Grand Central never even made an announcement about this train). We left at 8:45 p.m. But the train went excrutiatingly slow and it stopped in New Rochelle, where we had to get off and wait for another diesel train. (apparently 1 other train had left grand central about 40 minutes before us) and all the passengers from both trains were waiting on the platform in New Rochelle. Finally another train came and we CRAMMED on board and made our way to Stamford. We hopped off the Stamford train looking for the train to New Canaan (which normally would have left about 2 minutes previously) but we hoped that they would have the sense to wait for us (given that we were the first train load of people from NYC in 6 hours), but NO!!!!! the train left on time 2 minutes before we got there. Which meant we now had an hour to wait for the next train.

To say we were getting frustrated is an understatement.

It was now 10:30. The next train wasn't going to come until 11:00. The station employees (rather than doing their jobs) were just standing around. I finally couldn't stand it and complained a little to them. They were less than helpful. When we asked why they didn't have the New Canaan Train wait, they said that choice was up to the conductor on that train.

Finally the New Canaan train arrived. Trent let the conductor know that he should have waited. The conductor gave us this big long lecture about staying on time. He was less than helpful. BUT then in a shocking new developement, when he heard that the 3rd train from NYC was coming soon, he now decided to wait for them.

We got home a little after 1 am. We were tired. We were hungry. We may never ride the trains again. Usually they are so convenient and easy, but NOT THAT DAY!!!!!!!!

Day Trip #2 -- Compo Beach & The Movies

Compo Beach is in Westport and is only a 20 minute drive from our house. The beach is beautiful (but as it is on Long Island Sound, there are sadly no great waves). There is a cute boardwalk and playground. We went there on Friday, July 9. This summer has been much (MUCH) warmer than last summer and so this trip to the beach marks the first time that the water didn't feel cold. The kids and I were all in the water and calling out to Dad, Nana, and Grandpa to come in when Julianne started screaming -- and then I saw it too - - a Jellyfish. We all rushed out of the water. Julianne got stung pretty good on her leg. And it certainly discouraged us from going in the water again that day. Apparently warm water, though comfortable for swimming, is also very appealing to jellyfish. So we had fun building sandcastles, reading, and collecting shells.








After enjoying the beach we all went to see Toy Story 3. The kids loved it! (and so did the adults)


Day Trip #1 -- West Point

Just a short drive from where we live is West Point, the U.S. Army Military Academy. We went there on Thursday with Trent's parents. We took the 2 hour tour and unforunately missed seeing the museum (it was closed by the time our tour was complete). But the real treasure is just seeing the campus, it is beautfully situated on the Hudson river. The building are all beautiful - like the chapels (one of which has the largest organ in the United States) and the cemetary is very much akin to visiting Arlington. The tour guide had so many fun stories to share and also quite a few sad ones.

Here are just some of the facts we found interesting . . .
  • During the Revolutionary war, the army used the location where West Point would be to string a large chain across the Hudson river to block the British navy from coming further upstream. 
  • Nearly every general officer of note from either army during the Civil War was a graduate of West Point and a West Point graduate commanded the forces of one or both sides in every one of the 60 major battles of the war.  (which again just shows how the Civil War pitted friend against friend and brother against brother)
  • Benedict Arnold (the traitor) had a plaque with his name inside one of the buildings, but after he committed treason, they left the plaque and blacked his name out.  At first I thought that odd, wondering why they didn't just destroy the plaque, but then when you think about it for a while you realize that had they removed it, it would not serve as a constant reminder of what happens when one commits treason.  Every day, every tour, he is mentioned as a traitor to the United States.  If the plaque were gone, no one would probably mention it.
I was surprised at how emotional I was while walking through the newest sections of the cemetary, realizing that so many of the graduates (who are first class officers) are immediately deployed to lead our troops in battle and unfortunately do not return home.  Immediately after walking through that portion of the cemetary about 10 truckloads of current students (who are in summer training right now -- practicing war games) pulled up onto the big common area and unloaded and got into formation (they were dressed in full combat gear) both men and women and it was really touching to think how much these youth were willing to give for their country.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Day 13 -- The last day . . . or the first day

Finally, it was Wednesday. We were sad to see our vacation coming to a close. We got all packed up and starting driving home around 10 am. By this time on the trip we were all pretty used to being in the car. In fact, the kids were so content to read and relax and we never even put in a movie!

We have taken lots of trips over the years with our kids, but this one might have been the easiest! With no kids in diapers, no kids needing naps, everyone could walk, we sure could travel light. We brought our stroller -- but didn't need a diaper bag or much else. Our kids are also very flexible eaters, so we were able to try new things and eat when it was convenient (instead of on a "strict" schedule!). It was so nice!

Here is a collage of our last road trip pictures.

Now this may have been the last day of our road trip . . . but when we got home at 3:00, Trent helped unload the car and get a bit of the unpacking and laundry started and then he headed to the airport to pick up his parents. While he went there, the kids and I got everything unpacked and then headed to Costco to buy food (since the cupboards and fridge were completely bare). Right as I pulled into the garage with 2 Costco carts full of food, Trent and his parents pulled in behind us. It was now 8:30 at night and we all put the food away and crashed into our beds knowing that a fun new adventure was on the agenda for tomorrow!