Monday, November 9, 2015

Ellie and Will - 19 months and 3.85 years old

Well, I guess I should get a post in, now that I'm back to work and my sabattical bliss has pretty much gone away :)  I have still made a point to try to enjoy some lighter work days and spend with my babies, especially soaking up the rest of the nice weather this fall - also I have told myself I will only spend a few week nights working in the evening - and come into work the next day, more fresh and be more efficient.  Just enjoy my nights of reading, relaxing, and most of all - enjoying being with my family.

Not too much to report on - for the past several weeks, I have been trying to figure out my heart burn problem.  This has been something on and off - since about this April.  My doctor had my taking some over the counter meds and just refraining from: tomato sauce ( no pizza), no alcohol, no caffeine, no chocolate!! I mean, seriously, I told her, what kind of life is that to lead?? But really, those are all trigger foods, and I had several nights of very strong chest pain.  The only thing that helps is that I know that when I burp I get relief, but night time gets back when I lay down.  Anyway, finally I got prescription meds, which seemed to help, until about a month ago.  So, I had an ECD scope done, which basically they said, nothing major showed up.  The GI doctor, said nothing significant showed up, but no major polyps or erosion of the esophagus.  So then I go back to my PCP, Dr. Brookings - who is amazing and great - I just send her a secure message, like an email, and she is very responsive.  Then, they say it might be your gall bladder, so I got a sonogram (no gall stones) and then they did a test to see how my gall bladder functions (functions fine), and so then I did a Stomach Emptying Test - turns out I dump food out too rapidly, just a tad, so I am now on some medicine for that.  It's starting to feel very out of my control - but I sure hope to get some answers and some relief soon.  Definitely not fun when I have really strong attacks (what I call them!)  After sharing what I'm going through - I realize how many people have struggled with this too, goodness, it's very painful, mine basically just feels like I"m having a heart attack.  Usually, during the days are fine.  Ok, enough about that.

Will - super fun!! I was lucky I got to take him and his 18 friends from school to the pumpkin patch.  I got to ride the bus with them (all the kids thought any turn or bump on the bus was the best thing ever - lots of giggles ans screams of delight!)  We also had lots of fun trick or treating this year-  he is finally at an age where we 'got' it and LOVED getting all the candy!  Will is still a very sweet boy - he is usually very kind-hearted, sensitive, and the biggest jabberbox (of course all of this is a wash when he is tired... then he turns into a different kid, some monster kid that got dropped off at our house for awhile)  Anyway, it's amazing how his conversations have matured, and he is starting to ask more 'Why'.  Mommy, how is Jesus with me all the time?  Mommy, what is that word again (quilt was in one of his books), Mommy, I have to poop..... (insert loud farting noise), oh, no worries Mommy, it was just a fart'.  Will keeps us on our toes, and can usually be found running around outside, especially playing frisbee in the front yard.

Ellie Gracie - Oh, my sweet Ellie girl.  Ellie has gotten quite the attitude and gets the biggest sass face when she doesn't get what she wants.  It's pretty funny - and hard not to laugh at her.  As you can see above, she has the 'cheese' face down for pictures- oh, how I love that scrunched up smiley face!!  I just love squishing on those cheeks, thighs, etc.  She's the best.  There is nothing like the feeling of her plopping down in my lap when she wants to read a book, or just kind of snuggle with Mommy.  When she puts her head on my shoulder and tucks her arms in tight, I close my eyes every time and savor that sweet moment (usually it's just a few seconds)  then she flops her head to the other side, or gets distracted, etc.  Ellie is in the stage of pretty much a bull in a china closet - and leaves mass destruction wherever she goes.  She still likes to throw food off her high chair onto the floor - which drives Patrick and I crazy (and the only time I wish we had a dog!) Ellie also loves to dance if there is music on, and just recently started singing to Wheels on the Bus, (she tells us this by rolling her arms and whining until we sing it), Twinkle, Twinkle (and she twinkles her fingers like they are stars in the sky) and lastly 'A,B' - as she slaps her legs (I guess they sing all these songs at daycare, and we finally put together they must slap their legs and sing ABC's.  This is usually requested daily by Ellie in the car, and Will kindly sings to her :)  It works out nicely.  These two usually get along really great - and even tonight, Will very sweetly helped hold up Ellie's nebulizer (ugh, back at that again for the winter months I guess, as she started getting wheezy) but this time it's a bit easier if we turn on the iPad and let her watch a show while doing a breathing treatment.

Patrick is doing good - staying really busy with work - but the Royals win was definitely a highlight for this life time Royals fan.  Now, here comes KU basketball to take over a few of our weekly TV schedule.  No complaints here, I always enjoy watching college basketball.  Still cheering for the undefeated Northwest Bearcats, and the Huskers (although they are having a bit more of a rough season)

Cheers to you all, our blessings overwhelm me and my heart-burning heart, and I thank God every day for these sweet babies, my sweet husband.  Life. Is. Good.

Cheesing at the park on a nice October day!

Enjoying the Plaza Art Fair

My love

Field trip with Will


Royals Win the World Series!!!!!

YES!  Something I wasn't sure I would ever seriously type - it's true!!! The Royals won the World Series. History in the making - it had been since 1985, the last time they had won.  I hope when I read this back sometime that we have done it again.

The team battled in each and every game - they had more come from behind wins than any other team in history - and I have to say - it made for some REALLY fun baseball games!!  Patrick and I got to go to one game with our friends Erin and Mike Groopman - we went to one of the ALS championship series games.  It was a blast!  Then, watching the games in the evening with Patrick - the kids were off to bed (we used the DVR to pause when actually putting them to bed) and would jump up and down and silently scream - lots of high fives, fist bumps and the night we won it all... lots of hugging and disbelief.  What fun to see a great group of guys achieve their dream.  That's what sports is all about - working hard towards a goal, being disciplined, motivated, and achieving greatness.  SO cool.

3 days after the win (in New York, we played the Mets) there was a parade in Kansas City.  Of course, Patrick and I thought we needed to take the kids, not that they will remember it, just felt like the right thing to do.  Our 'plan' the night before was to take a shuttle from the Plaza down to the Union Station area.  Well, that didn't work out, as the line to get on the shuttle was SOO long - we would have never made it.  So Plan B.... we walked..... yes, from St. Luke's on the Plaza to Union Station.  Ellie mostly was on Patrick's shoulders, and Will alternated between walking and riding piggy back on my back.  Between that and carrying my 10 pound purse full of drinks/snacks, etc. I definitely pulled my right bicep :)  There were just swarms of people - all in blue- walking down just like us!  We somehow ended up on Main Street - not really meaning to, we more wanted to see the parade vs. the rally at Union Station - but somehow ended up close enough to Union Station that we could see the big screens displaying the parade.  If I got on my tip toes I could see the street - but we were probably at least 150 people back from the road.  As I look at pictures now - it's truly incredible that we were in that mass of people.  They estimated 800,000 people were there to celebrate.  School was called off and everything.  The kids did GREAT - Ellie was entertaining all those around us, as we waited a long time for the parade to start and then get to the end.

All in all - a wonderful day, and a fun series, and great memories I will always have.

Let's Go Royals (clap, clap, clapclapclap)

Loved being at the game with this guy!!

Sweet girl fell asleep on the way back from the parade

Holy moly that's a lot of people - even MORE were behind us

YES! We were all there - this picture is proof :)

Lots of snacks kept this hungry girl happy!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Sabattical Update - Part 2

Wow - it's been an awesome, wonderful whirlwind and I have really enjoyed this time off.  Ok, let me pick up to where I last left off:

Wednesday - August 26th - SARAH day - felt sooo amazing to have my car all cleaned, went to Plaza and enjoyed lunch at Kona grill with me and my book and a Diet Coke.  Shopped for hours until it was time to get the kids.  Ahhhh... simply blissful.

Thursday - August 27th - our first rainy day.  We went out to Little Monkey Buziness in Shawnee (one of my favorite places to take the kids)  It was fun to be there and seeing Ellie really enjoying more of the place areas - Will could go up and down the slide all day and also started loving the zipline there too.  So after about 45 minutes there, Will tells me he has to go potty really bad, and we made it to the bathroom, but not the potty in time.  And of course, I didn't have an extra pair of shorts for him (AH- I know, what was I thinking??) Anyway, so we did the walk of shame and left way before Will was ready.  But, I convinced him we would drive home, I would get a new pair of shorts and pack and quick lunch - and we would go to the library.  The kids had a blast and Will picked out three new dinosaur books.  We ate our sandwiches outside of the library (stopped raining) and had a lovely morning.  In the afternoon, we walked up to the park and played until Daddy got home.

Friday - August 28th.  We did our morning walk and then got ready to go to Shatto Dairy Farm w/ Marilee and cousin Liam.  I am glad we didn't pay for the tour which was 1.5 hours, but we also missed out on some of the details - so I know we will go back someday.  But, we really enjoyed seeing the cows, seeing how some of the milking is done, and means even more that we drink Shatto milk.  It was quite a drive - 45 minutes from Bill and Marilee's (and they are 30 minutes from us) - so we did a bit of driving, but I have been interested in the tour ever since their owner spoke to my team at Cerner a year or so ago.  We had a fun picnic lunch and also got some ice cream with Mimi!!

We actually got to have some friends over for pizza and drinks to do a late birthday celebration for Patrick.  Was fun to see Adam, Brad, the VanDee's, Kevin - and it was a tad crazy with the littles running around, but wouldn't have traded it for the world.  We are blessed with really great friends!

Saturday - August 29th - we had a nice morning of our usual (although I convinced P we should start our day with a morning walk) and we did Eggtc a little later than normal, which was nice, then followed up with a trip to Costco.  After naps, we didn't have anything planned, so we started driving around (thinking we were going to a OP Fall Festival that I read about, only to find out it was listed for the wrong day) so quick thinking and we went to Crown Center for a really fun night!  There was a free Storytime center that brought to life 6 children's books, and it was a really cool place.  Will loved the Chica Chica Boom Boom area, which had this huge tree with letters on a pulley.... anyway, then we had such a fun experience at Char Bar for Patrick's birthday, we went again - another great dinner and fun atmosphere.

Sunday - church and nothing else stands out too much, so we must have just had a pretty chill day.

Monday - August 31st - Zoo day! Was trying to find some time to catch up with some of my college friends, and two of them were able to meet us at the zoo.  We didn't get started until a little later, and it was the hottest day so far.  I was glad my friend Mandy was able to meet us, and her two littles, and my friend Lauren (KC zoo hostess) we would have literally been lost without her :)  So, it was fun to take the kids there, and I have learned another lesson, well, I don't know exactly what i would have done differently - but it's a FAR walk to the Africa area of the zoo (coolest animals live here in my opinion) and I was all about the walking workout, but with the sun beating down, and Ellie is just in the age that she doesn't want to sit in the stroller too much, she mostly wants me to carry her. Of course Will is running ahead of us most of the time.... let's say I was literally a hot mess when we left after lugging Ellie, the double stroller, trying to pull out snacks and huffing up the hills that have no shade :)  It was fun, but wore us all out!  I think I had 10,000 steps by the time we left the zoo at noon.

Tuesday - September 1 - I LOVE the first day of the month.  Great time to start fresh and just something about it.  I also know that September always seems to fly by - but start of football, fall and just always lots of fun.  Anyway - Tuesday our outing was to Pump it Up - an inflatible bounce house place that I have wondered what is all about.  Only open for open jump two days during the weekdays, so harder to get to. That place is awesome and huge!! Mostly geared towards 5-7 year olds, but Ellie and Will (and me too!) had a blast!! Lots of fun for the 1.5 hours they are open, and had some sweaty/tired kids, ready for good naps (have I mentioned that I think everyday I have taken a nap with the kids.... such a tough life.... :))  Then, after naps we took advantage of the warm weather and took a dip in the fountain by our house, and then to the real pool for one more time before it closes for the summer - which was really fun and the kids loved it!

Wednesday - Sept 2- my 2nd SARAH day!  Whoo hoo - this day was about getting in a great workout, showering, getting a mani/pedi, meeting my sister for lunch at Rye (lovely food, lovely company) and then getting a massage... mmmmmm.  Then, I did have to go into work to meet my group for our project work - and everyone was joking about how strongly I smelled (seriously, the pedicure had WAY too strong of scent they put in this rose smell and it was gagging me and stuck on my shoes for over a week after.  yikes!

Thursday - Sept 3 - Overland Park Arboretum.  I was actually debating on if I really wanted to take the kids out there or just hang this day.  So glad we went!! It was beautiful weather ( a little warm, but not too bad) and a bit of a drive, no biggie though - the kids love being in the car, and we had a great time.  That place is just breath-takingly beautiful.  It is so peaceful (not too many people there when we arrived) and the kids loved the turtles and fishes in the pond, the truck/play area after walking through the trails and seeing the gardens, and then the model trains.  What a fun place!!

Thursday evening - off to the lake!! Whoo-hoo!!!  Arrived by 9 and kids and us all slept awesome - hooray for that!

Friday - Sept 4 - woke up and had breakfast at Old Kinderhook (found off Yelp and didn't realize it was a country club - sorry we were in our comfy clothes -whoops) Luckily not many people in the clubhouse for breakfast and I don't think they minded our relaxed attire- but great breakfast and we are picky about our spots!! Then, we drove about 1 hr 45 minutes to Silver Dollar City for the day.  I had a little sticker shock at the price for adults ($65/person!!) but just went on in.  The place is kept up really nice, and at first was a little worried there were only ride for adults/big kids. We got there at around 11, and Will rode a few rides before lunch and we found a few kid areas which was great.  There are lots of hills throughout the park!!  We got a few breaks from the heat during lunch and there was a great indoor kids area that was A/C and had 3 levels of this air compressor nerf ball launching - seriously I think there were 10,000 of those balls flying all over the place.  It was Will's favorite spot though and we had fun in there for awhile.  We also took the train ride, which Will was so excited to do and it was good, except for this weird little skit they did in the middle of it - P and I were like, what the heck just happened??!  Anyway, we found a few rides, we pushed the kids to do a few others they may not have otherwise :) ha! and left around 5.  Ellie missed out on a nap, so she was ready to go and we decided to let her sleep a bit and we stopped and got some food (and Coldstone for dessert!!) in Springfield.  It was a really fun day to do something different.

Saturday - Sept 5th - woke up at my favorite place - the lake!! Took our time playing, having breakfast, went on a walk, and then got swimsuits on for the pool, water table and right when all was set up - Daniel, Gwynnie, nolan (and Amy and cody) all arrived!!! Weeee!!! So much fun playing with our cousins and we had a great day/night.

Sunday - Sept 6th - Mom and Don met us before church and we were finally all together.  We got to go on a fun boat ride and was the first time all the kids got in the water/aqua pad - was really fun though to actually cove with the kiddos!!  Did lots of playing, relaxing, and more playing.

Monday - (Labor Day) - more fun playing

Tuesday - Sept 7th - was really rainy day - so we went in to Osage Outlets for some shopping in the rain - and decided a rainy day was a good time to pack up, clean and head back to KC.  Luckily, my Mom was coming with us - and P was still off, so we got to go out to dinner together when we all got back to KC.

Wednesday - Sept 8th - got to do morning walk with Grandma Bobbie and Daddy!! Whoo-hoo!! Love having my peeps together - we didn't have any specific plans today - but did need to take some things back to mall - so we went out to Legends for a bit in the evening and had fun playing in the fountains

And that's it for now.  We have 2 days left.... only 1 with the kiddos, so my time off is wrapping up, but it's been awesome and I'm ready to get back to the grind (kind of)

Ellie is getting such a little personality on her and I love when she dances - she does the funniest things with her arms (like flipping a pancake) and really just makes us laugh so much.  I hope to get it on video sometime, but she is just the best.  She has gotten quite attached to me though over this time, and seriously can't even sit in her highchair - she always has to be sitting on my lap- which of course I started to love, but now it's kind of crazy! :)  I don't really mind though and love having her in my lap/holding her as much as I can (but seriously Ellie, every once in awhile it's nice to sit in your stroller, high chair, etc and give Mama a little break :))

Will is the sweetest - seriously, this age is so fun and I love how he puts things together, and is so perceptive.  He is just fun to be around and I love my little guy so fiercely.

Ok - better wrap up the longest post in history I think :)  At least my blog history.  God's blessings to you all!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sabattical fun!!!

Ok, well it's only been a week and a half, and flying by!  Today is my first day for 'Sarah day' - we pay to keep the kids' spot at St. Luke's for just one day a week, so they will go one day, and I will have a chance to run errands, catch up on stuff, etc (like blogging) :)

So far, it's been an AMAZING break!! I seriously can't say enough how lucky I feel to get this opportunity and as I imagined, it's made me picture staying home with the kids and how great that would be.  Patrick gently reminded me that we would have to change a lot of things, and I pictured winter time, which would keep us inside more, so I am just cherishing my time and will remind myself to take more vacation days when we have nothing planned.

Here are some of my favorite things from the last week:

  • Not setting an alarm!!  Now, of course, I have two littles that wake me up, but really nice not to have to wake up early to get ready before they are awake!
  • Morning walks- I think my favorite so far.  I convinced Will to ride in the double stroller with Ellie and we have been enjoying the BEAUTIFUL weather in the mornings and getting some exercise in- we usually do this after breakfast and getting ready - from about 8:30-9.  The kids are in a great mood, Will is commenting on all that he sees, I turn my phone on for some music and the kids are dancing away.  They each pick one toy to bring and it's been really great!! I must keep doing this while weather is nice on the weekends!!
  • BEAUTIFUL weather - it's just been awesome.  Cool in the mornings (need a jacket and light blanket on kids) and then turns warm enough to get in the pool or water.
  • Knowing that all I need to do/plan is the days' activities - what time things open, having a VERY light list of what we want to accomplish that day.
  • Playing with the kids and watching them interact with each other.
  • Catching up with some of my friends as well

Recap on main events even prior to my break:

Friday - August 14th - Patrick and I got to celebrate our 5 year Anniversary with a fun night out.  Thank you Lily Altenhofen for watching the kids!  We started by having a class of champagne at a champagne bar I have been wanting to try - Ca Va.  It's very French like, with a little outdoor cafe/sitting area, and was fun to kick off the night.  Then, we drove over to Novel, which is an amazing, tiny little restaurant that is built in an old house.  Very good service and the food was AMAZING.  We had two fun appetizers - a fried egg and then yellowfish that were served with amazing flavors.  P had the lamb for dinner and I had the scallops (SO good!)  Of course I like to judge a restaurant on the bread they serve in between, and that passed as well.  Highly recommend.  We sat outside, and it was nice weather, but got a tad buggy towards the end.  Of course we capped it off with dessert at Westport spot - Murray's.

Saturday - August 15th- went to Powell Gardens (about 40 minutes out side of KC) they have a lego display this summer that I have been wanting to check out.  It was a really hot day, and the kids weren't in the best mood, but some very, very beautiful and peaceful scenery.

Sunday - August 16th - Touch-A-Truck at OP Convention Center.  REALLY cool and almost free event for kids!  It was very crowded though and had to wait in long lines to get in and 'drive' the trucks or tractors, but was fun to meet with Greg and Bri Wessinger while waiting in line :)
Got some Grandpa D time in too later that evening.

Monday - August 17th - my first day off!! Went to the SeaLife Aquarium with two of my best friends from college - Katie and Lauren, and their boys.  The kids had a great time and we had some lunch at Fritz' to top it off.  Then, we came home to take naps (Will never did fall asleep) and then went to the pool (only to realize it opened at 4:30 b/c school was back in session) so we played at the park there for awhile and then did the pool!  Made some cookies with Will - who loves licking the batter off the beater!!

Tuesday - 18th - went shopping for Daddy's birthday present and got stuck in the rain!! We hung out at Top Golf for awhile and luckily got away.  The rain kept us inside in the morning, but after naps we went to try out Matt Ross Community Center free indoor play area. It was fun and the kids were mostly mesmorized by the awesome pool they have there!  Will be nice to visit there in the winter.

Wednesday - 19th - went to Prairie Fire area - new to KC and down south at 135th and Nall.  They have really trendy, modern shops and restaurants and a cool kids museum.  The museum has lots of dinosaurs and a kids Discovery room that was fun for them to experience.  Will loved the dinosaurs and Ellie enjoyed 'mooing' at them!! :)

Thursday and Friday - I was in class for work.  Luckily I can count that towards my hours of professional development - but I tried not to open my computer and just sit and learn in class :)

This past weekend - I had Rhea Lana sale (got a few good finds/deals), then Saturday we did Eggtc, the KC airshow, (I went to Rhea Lana to work the sale shift), met up with my cousin Amber, Aunt Denni and Amber's kids at the park by our house, squeezed in mass, and then celebrated Patrick's birthday at Char Bar in Westport.  Really fun place and the food was great!! It was a fun night as a family - and a busy day!  Sunday, we met Bill and Marilee for brunch to celebrate Patrick's birthday, P went to hit some golf balls while kids napped, and then we went to Amy and Cody's to celebrate Nolan's 1st birthday!! 

Ok - now on to this week:

Monday - August 24th - I had a hair appointment and went to doctor (having some major heartburn flaring up), while Marilee watched the kids - thank you!! After naps we just walked up to the park and played and enjoyed the beautiful weather.

Tuesday - August 25th - went to visit my friends Carlie and Caitlin - up at Carlie's house in Liberty.  I got to meet her little baby girl, Evie, and the kids all got to play.  So fun that my two best friends from college are off work, Caitlin is in town, and I know we have to get together next week again sometime.  The kids had a lot of fun, and were wiped out by the time we got home.  We just played in our back/front yard until Daddy got home.

TODAY - my plan is to read, my car is getting detailed right now (can't WAIT to feel like my car is clean) get in a workout, do a little shopping on the plaza, and then I head to Rhea Lana from 4-8 to work my last shift (with my sister and some friends to make it more enjoyable)

Here are some pictures from all the events:
Anazing dinner at Novel

Powell Gardens

Powell Gardens

Powell Gardens

Touch-a-Truck Event

Touch-a-Truck Event

Touch-a-Truck Event

Touch-a-Truck Event
Touch-a-Truck Event

Waiting for aqarium to open

SeaLife Aqarium fun w/ friends!

SeaLife Aqarium fun w/ friends!

Fritz' for lunch

Fun w/ friends!!

Lunch at Fritz'

Morning walk - Will being a protective brother

Just happened - so glad I captured this sweetness!!

Prairie Fire Museum

Prairie Fire Museum

Happy 31st Birthday Daddy!!

Sweet girl at the park - she's climbing all by herself!!
Miller Long and Will being silly (they have always looked alike we think and I think they act a lot alike too!)