Friday, December 29, 2017

Halloween, Thanksgiving, Will's 6th Birthday and.... CHRISTMAS!

It's December 29th, and I'm contemplating creating or starting a new blog next year.... one perhaps that chronicles my love for books/reading, perhaps sharing my favorite podcasts and what I learned about them, my health/food journey/journal, the real life of a full time working mom..... I can't quite pin it down, what exactly I want to share - maybe all of it!  Anyway, my thoughts are on a blog, but first I need to update on the kiddos and what our family has been up to.

First off - Halloween!  It was a very cold Halloween, but we still made it out to the Ascension trunk or treat - which was super overwhelming with LOTS of kids, most of them a lot bigger than our 2 littles were, running from place to place, almost trampling!  The kids loved all the candy though!  We had a little Princess Sophia and a Ninja Warrior.  (Patrick and I also got to make it to Will's school halloween party - the Kindergarten through 2nd grade all parade down the hallways and all the older kids and parents are cheering for them.  It was so cute!  Then, each classroom had a little party - was fun to be there for that for Will!  Saturday we went to downtown Overland Park trick or treating at the businesses - it was ok... lots of lines and shuffling, but gave another excuse to dress up!  Then, the following was Halloween.  We went out for about an hour, Ellie was terrified of anyone that had a dog, which was basically every house.... and Will and Patrick kept going for awhile, until Will said his legs were feeling 'wobbly'. (too much walking I guess?!!)


  • Great Wolf Lodge w/ Brett, Angie, Brady and Emma.  It was fun to experience it - honestly reminded me of a mini-Disney.  The lodge feel, everything geared to entertain the kids, SO much stimulus and activity, overwhelming, expensive :)  I think our kids were just a little too young to completely enjoy all the slides, that would have made it feel more worthwhile.... we mostly hung out in the lazy river or the baby pool/baby slide, or the hot tub.  For some reason the kids ALWAYS had to pee, and taking kids to pee when dripping wet, sticky suits is one of my least favorite things to do. So, overall, it was fun, just might not try it again for a few more years or when they get more adventurous (and when they can go to the bathroom on their own!) and we enjoyed our time with cousins!
  • Wedding of our great friends Brad Birkel and Kristin Council.  Patrick was in the wedding, and we had a great time at the rehearsal dinner and wedding day.  Was great to have that adult time and my Mom kept the kiddos so we could enjoy!!
  • Ellie had a Thanksgiving program at her school - so cute!  She loved wearing her turkey hat!
  • Had a fun chili cookoff at our house with all of Patrick's co-workers.  Stayed up playing cards and laughing lots!
  • Thanksgiving - we celebrated in NE, specifically celebrated Turkey day at my Aunt Denni's.  Was great to see family, and I love how we all write down something we are thankful for, could be funny or serious, and then we have to read what someone else wrote.  The big news of the weekend is that NE fired their head football coach (Mike Riley) and replaced with Scott Frost!! Big news and the whole state is fired up again about Husker football.... me too!!!
  • Will's birthday..... so because we were in NE already, and didn't want to make my mom have to drive to KC - on Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend we celebrated with her, Don, Amy's family, and my best friend Lindsay and her family - by doing a small party at Mom's house and then up to Lost in Fun in Lincoln.  The bummer part was Will had a HORRIBLE head cold on Thanksgiving and into Saturday... felt SO bad for him.  He just wanted to snuggle with me, snot on me, I mean.... he wanted to feel better so badly... poor guy!
    • On Sunday (Will's actual birthday this year) - we had Bill, Marilee, and my Dad meet us at Eggtc to celebrate a birthday breakfast with Will.  Then we were on to Pump It Up - to celebrate with 17 of Will's classmates from Ascension.  It was really amazing to see how well behaved all the kids were - listening, waiting patiently in line, cheering each other on... it was just really impressive.  Nice to meet some of the kids I have heard about, and their parents!  I was stressing a bit about ALL those presents Will would get - and was proud of him being ok with us keeping 8, and donating the rest to kids that don't get presents on their birthdays.  He had a really nice time, and was feeling a lot better on his actual birthday, so that was great!
  • Will started basketball practice and Ellie started gymnastics at 360 - both love doing that and it's fun to see them enjoy the activity!
  • We each had our work Christmas parties on the same night - so we went to dinner with Patrick's group and then I went down to my party for just a little bit.  Was pretty tame night, but fun to celebrate.  I also hosted a small group of my direct reports at our house, which was a fun night of playing 'What do you Meme'- the new game for the season.
  • Went to Hip Hop Nutcracker with my sister - loved getting to sit and just chat with her - and dance with her!  Fun night!
  • Ellie had her first mini-dance recital.  Was more of a practice for kids to get a feel of being on stage, performing, and each dance was 1-2 minutes long and you could leave after your child performed.  It was great!! We weren't sure how Ellie was going to like having that attention on her - she usually can be quite shy... and we could see there was 3 rows of little 3 year olds, I assumed she would be in the back... but when the lights came on, she was up in the front row - dancing away!! We were giggling with delight and cheering for her loudly.  (The night before I was laying with Will in bed at night, and he was saying how he didn't want to go to Ellie's recital, it would be SO boring..... I said, well, sometimes we do things that we don't want to do for people that we love.... and Will thinks about that for a minute and then just says... Touche Mommy.  Cracked me up!
  • Christmas fell on a Monday this year - so we went to NE on Thursday evening, to celebrate with Mom/Don/Amy's family on Friday.  We enjoyed opening presents and playing with our cousins, and then had a fun shower for my cousin Emily, who is getting married in April.  Fun girls only night.  Friday night, we had a bit of a rough time.... first we were woken up to Will throwing up in the hallway, on his way to the bathroom.  Poor guy - it was a mess.  He threw up and then said he felt awesome.  So, we really couldn't tell.  He acted fine.  THEN, after cleaning him up and most of the puke that we could, we got everyone back to sleep and about an hour later, Ellie throws up all over the comforter and my bedroom carpet.  We ended up putting both in the tub and partying at 4am.  So weird, b/c they both acted just fine, but I knew and had heard of a boy in Will's kindergarten class that had the flu.......  I couldn't sleep wondering if we should be going home, as the whole Mack family was coming down on Saturday at noon.  So, Will and I took a huge nap on Saturday morning, and he was doing fine.  We enjoyed seeing all of my cousins/aunts/uncles - and were missing quite a few this year.  Well, by early evening Will was feeling really horrible, and started running a high fever.  Poor guy said he didn't want to go upstairs, b/c he would miss out on all the fun, and Nebraska is so fun  :(  Gosh, he sounded SO much like me in that moment, all I could do was squeeze him.  We made it through Saturday night - with Ellie having some diarrhea in her overnight, that went onto the bed... I mean, seriously.  Poor thing, and that poor upstairs!  We went through a whole box of baking soda.  Sorry mom.....
  • Sunday was Christmas Eve, so we packed up and headed home.  We were all low on sleep, not feeling well, but trying to power through.  We got home and then decided we should go to 4:00pm mass at our church.  We thought we will get there 30 minutes ahead of time and will be fine - NOT!!! There was an entire church full upstairs and the entire lower level- every seat filled 30 minutes prior, and already standing room was getting full.  We ended up standing for Christmas Eve mass, kinda bummed, but I realized it's not just Christmas Eve to celebrate - it's every day, every Mass, and not to get too upset by it.  It's just crazy to me how people were taking selfies in church, hollering out in the communion line to their friend - like what?  Come on people, have some respect for the Eucharist!  My dad came over after church and had dinner with us and someone got roped into being Santa's helper :)  It was really fun to have him spend the night and be with us on Christmas!
  • Christmas morning (Monday) - the kids both were feeling well, woke up and were SO excited to see what Santa brought.  It is SO magical to see the Christmas spirit through their eyes.  They did stockings, and opened the presents Santa left, and that we had wrapped and then saw a note that Santa wrote- telling them there was a present down in the basement for them. Will got a pop a shot and Ellie a tent.  We had a nice brunch and the kids loved playing with their new toys.  At that point, I was starting to feel a little under the weather... but we got ready and were heading up to Bill and Marilee's.  Ellie also started feeling pretty crummy, so the two of us went right upstairs to lay down for awhile.  Ellie took her turn not feeling well for most of the night, but got some energy towards the end of the night to open gifts- she had a slight fever though.
  • After realizing we all likely had the flu - due to the head cold, respiratory mess that we were in, on Tuesday through Thursday of this week - we basically have quarentined ourselves and just have stayed in our house, trying to rest and get better.  No matter how much sleep we get, just can't shake this virus.  I can't wait for us all to get completely better - it's like one day one kid is real sick, and the next someone else feels worse.... I have a pretty wicked cough, but last night was the first time i wasn't shivering and then sweating through the night.  (Seriously, how did I get the flu TWICE a few months apart?!!)  I think this strain was extremely contagious, and with Will going to school, lots of new germs to infect us all with :) 
All in all, we have so many blessings, so much to appreciate, so much to be thankful for.  We are excited to have a few more lazy days to wind down 2017..... and excited to see what 2018 has in store for us.  It's been a fabulous year, i enjoy the kids and their age SO much right now, and just want to record/video everything they do and say so that i can remember it!!

Some pictures to cap off this post:

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A lovely fall here in KC...

Wowza - how the heck is it already October 20th?? I really don't know, it seems like October was just starting!! I found myself almost craving a minute to slow-down and reflect on all we have been doing and capturing these sweet times.

We have all fallen into our routine pretty nicely - now that 1/4 of Will's school year is done, things are going very smoothly.  The first couple weeks were a bit bumpy- just some lack of communication from the school and frustration on my part- but Will has always enjoyed it and it seems his teacher, Ms. Straeter really enjoys having Will in class.  She said he has such an eagerness to learn and has a great attitude.  I love to hear all the things we learns about - it's interesting how so many of the things they do involve coloring in certain letters or pictures -and he has gotten SO good at coloring, he is reading words, doing addition (he loves us to quiz him on this!) and singing certain worship/praise songs and surprising me with how he knows all the words :)  I couldn't be a more proud kindergarten mom.  Only thing he doesnt like is when I can't pick him up at the Adoration line (where parents pick up right after school lets out) typically he goes to Y-Care, the after school care program, which I think he likes, but he would just prefer one of us pick him up right after school like most of his friends get to do ;(  Ugh, talk about mommy guilt.  However, I am very lucky that usually my job is flexible enough that if my schedule allows, I am able to leave work at 2:45 and pick him up, maybe once a week and the delight on his face is so sweet and genuine.  So it's sort of a fun treat..... but i know we are going to need that after school care over the years, so i don't want him to get too used to it.....

Will is just our sweet boy and loves tricking us - he is such a joker and he can get both Patrick and I to fall for his tricks!  He loves snuggling with Mom at bedtime, and I SOAK it up-- every. single. time.

Ellie has adjusted well to the J - and is starting T-ball on Mondays, she takes Dance on Tuesdays, and all of them go swim on Wednesdays.  Her class is pretty small - so huge adjustment from St. Luke's - and a lot of boys in her class, but she seems to like it and has adapted pretty well.  Still likes to cling to her Mom quite a bit in the mornings, which is hard, but some days she is fine giving me a little push out the door! She loves to help around the house - with laundry, to hang up her clothes, to watch me put on my 'make-ups', she likes to help with dishes, etc.  She has always been really great at picking up her toys also, so I really hope this is something that sticks!  She is also in the fun 'threenager' year, and challenges us many times with her fiercely independent mood, her strong opinions, and tantrums.

We have had a really beautiful fall in KC.  Here are some of our September highlights:

  • Lake trip!! Our last of the year for Labor Day - had some awesome, perfect lake weather, always hard to be done for the year, but i love all the sweet memories we make there
  • Patrick and Will went camping the first weekend of September, so Ellie and I had a fun girls day.  Love that sweet 1:1 time.... now i need some with Will
  • The following weekend was supposed to be a shopping/girls day with my mom and sister, and I got hit with a HORRIBLE flu.  I could barely move or get out of bed.  I would get SO hot and cold, my bones would ache and had zero energy - lasted a full 4 days before I felt better.  Whew, so glad that is over and that no one else in the house got it.  Ended that weekend with Disney on Ice, which the kids loved and I kind of suckered through.
  • Plaza Art Fair (my 10th annual), Phi Mu friend get together, OP fall festival parade (all a SUPER hot weekend, but still fun!
  • A few Deanna Rose trips - all made up a really fun September


  • Went to the NW Bearcat football game with my Dad, Amy, Cody and the kids.  Had a nice lunch at A&G, and was awesome to see a good game and the weather/rain cleared up right in time for the game to start.  We had a little (or a lot) of a scare with my dad that evening and him having a diabetic reaction.  He was not acting like himself at all, acting confused and almost silly - so we took him in to theR and his blood sugar was at 20. Typical is 90-110.... he is so lucky he didn't go into a coma or worse.  We are so thankful he got there in time and was a huge wake up call for all he deals with and educational to say the least for Amy and I.
  • We took advantage of a beautiful Sunday and went out to Johnson Farms pumpkin patch.  That place is HUGE!! Farm animals (pig races), a huge play area for the kids, a hayride to get pumpkins, and much more.  Ellie got stung by a bee, but was a trooper and loves her ice pack she got to keep.
  • This week Patrick and I are getting ready to head to NE to see Garth Brooks (AGAIN) and spend an adult only weekend with my best friend Lindsay and her husband Chad.  Also going to a walk in Omaha for my friends Lauren and Emily for a walk for their brother Colin, who passed a few years ago with leukemia. 
  • Also, survived my 11th Cerner Health Conference!! How nuts!! It's always exciting to get to interact with our clients and to feel the energy. We had 14,000 clients in town, and of course, cap it all off with the Bash at Power and Light with a fun band that plays - always exhausting week but fun as well.
We also found out earlier this month some devastating news from some friends of ours - The Akins.  Dave was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer, as a 33 year old with 4 young kids.  Claire and Dave went to St. Ann's and lived in Prairie Village, we would get together with the kids, went to our church festivals together and some playdates.  It is so terrible they have to go through this, to such fantastic, faithful and wonderful people - and easily our lives could have been substituted.  Life is so, so precious and we are praying that we appreciate the life God gives us, our health and to never take a day for granted.