Thursday, September 3, 2009


Embarrassing moments...are they supposed to make us stronger? Are we supposed to learn something from them? If so then I should be much wiser after tonight. In the grand scheme of life this isn't a big deal. Tonight I sent an email to Mike Annis (the principal at Heritage Christian School) instead of my husband Michael. OOPS!!! Thankfully the content of the email wasn't embarrassing or mushy or anything, but I still felt faint after I realized my mistake! It is proof that I should go to bed instead of checking my email.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Addiction name is Marcie....and I'm an addict....I'm addicted to Bejeweled on Facebook. It started a while back as a fun game I'd play from time to time. Now I realize I'm way too competitive. I can't stand it when my childhood friend, Aida, has a higher score than I do. I play the game over and over again until I move up on the leader board. I even have Cristina and Michael playing it. Victoria hasn't tried it only because she usually can't get on the computer. Sad, eh? Of course confessions usually are sad or they wouldn't be worth confessing! Oh and in case you can't read it my high score tonight was 167,800! Woo hoo!

Friday, August 28, 2009

All Good Things....

I suppose all good things must come to an end. I also suppose that you never know how good something (or someone) is until it is gone. This is exactly how I felt when I found out Michael's grandmother had decided to move to northern MN to be closer to my in-laws. I will never forget where we were sitting when we heard the news. I was stunned! I felt like the wind was knocked out of me and I was completely speechless. Grandma has been such a vital part of our lives for many years. She has blessed us financially in more ways than I care to mention. She has shared stories of the way Iowa City used to be that always left me with a smile. She became a part of our lives in a way that I never fully appreciated.

The last several weeks were spent packing up her home. That is part of the reason I haven't kept up with my blog. Michael did most of the packing and all the cleaning. I wanted to help but physically I wasn't able. Although if I was truly honest it was more of an emotional battle for me. I didn't want to face the reality of her leaving. I didn't want to embrace how this move would be good for her. I wanted to spend most of my days feeling sorrow for what we were going to lose. I realize now how selfish and immature it was to act that way. I also realize that Grandma impacted me in more ways than I'll ever be able to express. When it finally came time to say goodbye to her there was so much left unsaid. Will she ever understand how grateful I am for the time we got to spend together? Will she ever know that she was never a burden to us? Will she ever know that she filled a void in my own heart since I wasn't able to grow up near my grandparents? Most importantly will she know that she will always be loved and cherished and we will miss seeing her on a regular basis! Hopefully with prayer and time the sting of her absence shall heal. In the meantime we continue to take it just one day at a time.

Grandma - "We love you all to pieces"

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Johnson Farm

Last week we had a chance to visit my friend Becky. She had surgery in her foot and has been resting at her parent's farm. Even though the girls don't know Becky very well they were thrilled to go to the farm. Victoria was getting so hyper in the car (which is rare for her) and she finally said "Mom, Dad when you are happy about seeing your favorite thing it is hard to act normal for so long!"
Once we arrived I thought the girls would run out of the van as fast as they could. I'm so impressed they actually went into the house to greet Becky first. Of course their excitement was so obvious that soon they were looking at the horses. Cristina loved getting sweet grass to feed the horses. The funny thing was she would choose the longest stalks so she wouldn't have to get too close. Victoria let them eat right out of the palm of her hand. The girl has NO fear! I have to admit I was more on the timid side like Cristina. My favorite ones were the two colts. They are 3 months old and have just been weaned off of their mothers. One of them nipped Victoria and for a while I thought she was going to cry. My tough girls was downcast for a little while and then was right back out there again. Mr. Johnson was joking that he'd like to hire them as farm hands. The girls were really hoping he wasn't kidding. They wanted to do all kinds of chores around the farm! I'm sure the thrill wouldn't last too long but getting to pet the horses everyday is a great incentive.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Roller Coaster Ride Comes To An End.....Finally!

Since December, Michael and I have been praying (and stressing) about where the girls would go to school this fall. At that time it seemed like the doors to Heritage Christian School were closing for us. We briefly looked into North Bend Elementary in North Liberty. Somehow, we began looking into homeschooling. We started to research and pray and were looking forward to attending the homeschool conference in Des Moines in June. We thought this was where God was leading us. However, everything was happening SO quickly. Typically I love change but this pace was more than I thought I could handle.

On Thursday June 4th we went into Heritage to speak with the principal. At that time we figured we'd say our goodbyes and seek his counsel. We know he has helped other homeschool families in the past. As we walked through the doors, however, I just couldn't walk away. I've come to love HCS for the past 10 years. Not being able to send our girls there would crush me. It has been my passion as a former employee and now as a parent. However, if God was asking us to leave, I'd do it despite having a disappointed heart. I truly believe that he'd carry me through it.

We had our meeting with Mr. Annis and a miracle occurred! We quickly realized that with the money saved up, some money Michael's grandmother gave us and TWO surprise anonymous donations HCS was still a possibility. Michael and I looked at each other and we couldn't believe it. I immediately felt the weight lift off of my shoulders. Even though I'm becoming more passionate about homeschooling I need more time to process it all. I want to take time to study curriculum, learn about the girls' learning styles, and get my home in order.

We may still homeschool at some point but for now, we are thrilled to send our girls to HCS in the fall! Thank you to one and all who prayed for us during this roller coaster ride. I'm glad the ride is least for now!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Recent conversations

Recently my girls have been cracking me up! The things they have come up with is just too funny sometimes.

Sick Day/Late night with Cristina
C - Mom if we were homeschooled what would we do if I was sick?
Me - Basically what we did today hon
C - You mean we'd lie on the couch, watch some TV and have no homework?
Me - Yep
C - Ohhhhh Sweeeeet! Yeah baby!!

To Homeschool Or Not -
Being the analytical mind that I am I've actually created a pros/cons list for homeschooling. The #1 item on the con list is "fear". My girls saw that and....
C - Why does it say fear? We're not afraid
Me - I know sweetie but I'm afraid. I'm afraid you won't like it. I'm afraid you'll miss your friends. But mostly I'm afraid I won't be a good teacher.
V - (rather surprised) But mom you are a good teacher everyday!

Getting ready for the Spring Concert
Me - (I bent down to pick up something and apparently my shirt is too big)
C - Mom that shirt is too big on you
V - Yeah mom I can see your girls!
Me - LOL my girls?
V - yeah that is what we call 'those' in front of the boys so we don't have to say the word!
Me - oh (LOL again!)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Go Ye Mighty Pumas!

Lately the girls have been involved in softball. We've been rained out for most of our practices but the girls are still learning a lot! I'm so grateful for their coaches, especially Brad Laures, who are so patient with them.

Victoria had an opportunity to be the Catcher. After getting all the gear on she took her position. She listened intently to the directions and managed to stay focused. She even caught a few but we hope next time she'll use her mitt!

Victoria loved touching home plate. She knew she scored a run for our team and was so excited. Even though nobody kept score it was great for her self-esteem.
Cristina had a few chances up at bat and was surprised when she hit the ball! She loved running to first. I was a bit surprised that she didn't get distracted while waiting for the next batter.
All in all they are having a great time which is the main reason we enrolled them in the league.
Go Ye Mighty Pumas!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Pure in Heart

A few weeks ago, Victoria and I had a chance to go to a Pure in Heart Conference. It is designed for mothers and daughters to come together. Plus one of their goals is for tweens to keep themselves pure before God. This isn't just referring to sexual purity but purity in all areas. Plus it is also about seeing yourself as a princess. After all, we are the King's daughters!
She and I had time together as we listened to great music, skits and teaching and then she had her own workshop to go to with girls her own age. Every time we got together again Victoria couldn't wait to tell me about the things she was learning. For myself, communication was one of my primary goals for the conference. She is growing up so fast and lately I've felt like I've been missing out on what is going on in her life. Ever since we have been back we've been able to share more and more.
She loved getting her picture taken with the 'princess' that was there. She laughed a lot of the silly picture we took together! Honestly, though, her favorite time was when we broke off from the group and had lunch together. She just wanted to be with me and that was PRICELESS!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Marine storms local home

Our dear friend Jon (aka Big Jon) came to visit a few weeks ago. He has faithfully served in the Marines. He's been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and has undergone some amazing things. Right now he is stateside but apparently will be sent overseas again in October. The girls know he is their hero. Not because of his military service but because he can carry both of them at once! He lets them climb all over him and tackle him. They adore him! I love the fact that he thought my cooking was great. He has obviously served for far too long! It is hard to imagine him in full marine gear protecting our country when I see him rolling on the floor with the girls.

When the girls were younger they would pray for him almost every night. The prayers were consistent "Dear God I hope Big Jon has fun with his friends at the war." "God, I pray it is a sunny day at the war" Those were the two prayers we said for almost a year. Jon later told us that parts of it were fun (considering the circumstances) and it was hotter than he ever imagined. So their simple prayers were answered! They can't wait for him to return for another visit.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Sap Runneth Over

Almost every post has been about the girls. Well, today I wanted to take a moment to tell all of you about my wonderful husband. Over the last few weeks I've seen him grow in his relationship with the Lord. He has become more aware of the spiritual realm and what it means to lay down your life for Christ's sake. One of those areas has been clearly visible regarding our finances versus my STRONG desire to keep our girls are Heritage Christian School. Michael has really been seeking the face of God and wanting to do what is right. Unfortunately I have not been very supportive. At times I've silently whined and complained. At times I've LOUDLY whined and complained. Through it all Michael has always been available to listen to the cry of my heart. I can't imagine this has been an easy road for him.

I'm slowly realizing that my focus has been out of focus. Even though I continue to passionately love Heritage Christian School, I realize I need to seek God first. My passion for HCS runs deep and I doubt it will ever go way yet God is much bigger than where my kids go to school. He is much stronger than my lack of faith. He is in the center of my heart but I had really lost touch with that. My fear and lack of trust have really caused a lot of stress. There is still hope that our girls will be able to continue at HCS. Yet, today I have let go. I am really willing to trust God with what is most valuable to heart! He isn't going to disappoint me. No matter the outcome He will continue to uphold me and our girls. In the meantime my deepest desire is to glorify Him and to lovingly submit to my husband.

I found this picture of Michael and I back in 1995. It reminded me of simple dreams and hope. When our love for one another was new and fresh. I had a hope of a future with him. Now as I look at that picture I know that those dreams and desires haven't diminished at all. They have grown stronger as the bonds of friendship, trust and love have grown with each passing year. I am not saying the path has been easy but each step has been worth it! Michael has supported and encouraged me through rough physical ailments, surgeries, and crazy emotional drama. I have never doubted his love for me! More importantly, though, he has shown me that no matter what happens God is always for me and NEVER against me. Knowing that brings great peace, comfort and tremendous joy!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Bowling Frenzy & Fun!

For Cristina's birthday party we took the 1st grade class bowling. Michael and I naively thought that we could corral 16 kids. We were WRONG! We were so grateful for Stephen Boldt and Tayna Miller that stayed and helped out. I doubt Michael and I would've survived the "fun". Those are great kids but they have a lot more energy than we anticipated. It was so much fun though and it was worth the exhaustion. I've never seen kids laugh so much no matter what the score.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sweet 7!

As Cristina turns 7 years old it is impossible not to look back and reflect. The tears easily flow as I'm flooded with memories. She finds it amusing that I cry so much as she is so busy celebrating. I can't celebrate without taking time to thank God. Cristina is my miracle baby! (Yes I know she isn't a baby. She is quite vocal with her reminders) I was told by a few doctors that I'd never get pregnant. I had what they called "unexplained infertility". It was a frustrating and heart crushing diagnosis. Ever since I was a kid my only goal in life was to be a mom. I didn't have high aspirations for a grand career. So, with one diagnosis I thought that dream was crushed! Yet God knew better!!!

I will never forget the day that I found out I was pregnant! My parents happened to be visiting from MD at the time. Michael and I were celebrating our 5 year anniversary. Victoria was 4 months old in our foster care. One night we went out to Bennigan's and the food smell was so foul to me I could barely sit through dinner. My father made a comment "Hmph! You are probably pregnant and don't even know it!" I just rolled my eyes as my heart felt another pin prick.

I decided to get a home pregnancy test which I would take the following morning. On Wednesday September 5, 2001 I woke up at about 3 am. The thought of taking yet another negative pregnancy test was haunting me. Angrily I got up! I decided I would take the test, it would be negative, I'd cry (again!) and then I'd go back to bed. Well for those of you that have taken a pregnancy test with a negative result all you do is wait and wait and wait. The color on the stick never changes. You keep hoping and hoping something will happen but it never changes. I was shocked when the color CHANGED! I almost dropped the stick. Then I fumbled around looking for the directions because I wasn't 100% sure what I was reading. It couldn't be positive, right? Did I dare have hope? Did I dare trust God? Would I allow my heart to be vulnerable like that or would I shrink back?

I don't remember much else of that morning. Somehow I made it to work at Heritage Christian School. As a school secretary I had a lot of paperwork and phone calls to answer. I doubt I was much help to anyone that morning. I was bouncing off of the walls! Finally I couldn't stand it anymore and I asked the school principal, Mike Peters, for the rest of the day off. I clearly remember sitting in Mike's office on the brink of tears. He asked me what was wrong and I blurted out "I took a home pregnancy test and I think I might be pregnant and I want to go to the doctor and blah blah blah" He took one look at me and smiled as he said "Go!" Oh and by the way I hadn't even told my husband yet! I had to rush over to the ObyGyn's office. I had to have a medical professional confirmed what I feared/hoped to believe!

Needless to say the doctor was able to confirm what my heart was so afraid to believe. I sat in this small room crying and crying. One of the nurses stayed with me as everyone nearby was shouting for joy. Nobody could believe what God had done. He had shown Himself mighty and strong on my behalf. I honestly had no idea how I got home.

Later that night I sat my parents and Michael on the couch to tell them the good news. Since it was our anniversary I had the idea to have the nurse wrap the pregnancy test with the positive result showing. As Michael unwrapped the gift I sat off to the side holding the video camera. I couldn't wait to hear the screaming for joy. It NEVER occurred to me that my parents would not have any idea what that 'stick' was for and that is why I never got the screaming reaction I wanted. Michael didn't scream because he was in complete shock! So, the video isn't too exciting but it is funny!

In the blink of an eye seven years have flown by me. Cristina is a smart, active, funny and creative girl. She amazes me every day. She can be stubborn and strong willed at times. She challenges me in the ways that I discipline and love. I've been told by my family that she is exactly like me and that is why we tend to butt heads a lot. Currently her favorite activities are basketball, soccer, puzzles, drawing, math drills, and reading. One of my favorite activities to do with her is when I lay in bed and she reads to me. She is very expressive and is learning to change voices with the various characters. I'm continuously amazed and so thankful for my little girl. NO matter how old she gets she will always be my baby!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ice Capades Training

Thanks for my friend, Connie, the girls were able to go ice skating for the first time! They loved it so much. The first 30 minutes or so they spent their time hugging the wall as they went around and around. They fell down quite a few times and it was hard to watch. I was so proud of them that they kept getting back up again. They just wouldn't quit!

Connie would try taking them to the middle of the ice. Cristina insisted that she wanted to do it herself! Victoria went with Connie and I'm surprised they both didn't fall. As soon as the lesson was over Victoria was back at the wall. However, when Grace (Connie's daughter) fell Victoria quickly forgot about her fears. She skated over to Grace to make sure she was ok. I was so proud of her! After that Victoria was able to skate by herself. Soon Cristina was able to let go of the wall as well. I'm sure it will only take a few more times and they'll be ready for the Ice Capades or the Olympic team!!

Thank you so much Connie for making their dreams come true! The girls had a blast and they can't wait to go back.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Go Galaxy!

We just finished basketball season and now we are in the midst of indoor soccer. Our team, Galaxy, is a lot of fun to watch. These kids are great and really give it their all! The only trouble is that they have had a different coach each time. So far the girls don't seem to mine too much. They just love getting out on the "field" and going after the ball. Although most of the time they are way too nice and passive. I try not to yell from the sidelines but it isn't easy to contain myself. Michael finds my passion amusing and I'm sure quite embarrassing at times!

Cristina, Victoria and Addie take a moment to pose for the camera. I think they were glad for the break. I don't think any of the girls really knew how much running is involved in soccer. They play 7 minute quarters and when it is over they are exhausted!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Dinner with Chicks

This is Cristina's keep that in mind as you read it. It is from the perspective of a 6 year old girl.

We went to the Stultz's house for dinner. We got to hold baby chicks. They felt very soft and fuzzy. They are so cute! I really didn't want to play anything else. All I wanted to do was hold another baby chick. Some of them were brown, some were yellow and brown, and some were just white. Some were small, medium and big. My favorite ones were the small brown ones. We had to sneak up behind them to pick one up.

Mr. Stultz built a special pen for them. It had food and water for the baby chicks. It also had a heating lamp to make them hot (but not too hot). If they got too hot they could go to the other corner. Most of them liked the heat and not the cold. On the bottom of the pen he put special wood chips for them to lay down on. The white ones grew VERY fast! They were very wobbly.

I can't wait to go back to their house! Next time I want to see their dog and the rest of the farm. My mom says we will have to wait until the weather is a bit warmer.

We also got to see chicks at Hills Bank. We were not allowed to pick them up this year or take pictures. My favorite was light brown with black spots. I named him Chip because it looks like chocolate chips!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Operation Clean Sweep!

Before you even there aren't any pictures...

For those of you that are super neat freaks, love to organize, or somehow have a great handle on keeping your home clean you may not understand this post at all. However maybe you are the ones that can be praying for me, sharing helpful tips, or encouraging me along the way. I REALLY struggle with keeping a neat home. Partially because we have too much stuff but it is mostly because I get overwhelmed very easily. I have a hard time breaking down tasks into manageable pieces. Instead of asking for help I rant and rave and have a mental and emotional breakdown. This strategy has yet to work or bring joy into the home. Lately, I found something that is really working. I have been PRAYING about it! Amazing, eh? Although I do admit I have had my tirades too. (Sorry Michael!)

Sunday night began what I am calling Operation Clean Sweep! I just began with the pantry. I got the girls involved and they loved it! It now looks spectacular in there! One of the things I realized is that I kept buying more food but didn't even know what we had. I had lost control! When the girls told me "mom, we have 3 bags of whale crackers", plus, I had just bought another box thinking we didn't have any, I knew I was in trouble. They were a bit amused by me but I was just embarrassed. It is mortifying to me to not have things neat and tidy for my family. I am not teaching my girls the basic skills that they will need someday. So, I admit I spent (wasted) a lot of time beating myself up about it. God had to forcefully remind me to quit it. He didn't condemn me and I shouldn't either. Surely if he could forgive the woman caught IN THE ACT of adultery he could forgive me. I am a woman that was caught in the act of disorganization but there is hope in Him.

It may seem silly to pray about something like this if this comes natural to you. Well this does not come natural to me at all. The only reason I share this is because I desperately need and desire help. Ultimately my help comes from the lover of my soul. He sees my messy heart, home and attitude. Despite it all He loves me more than I'll ever understand this side of Heaven. But, I also know that my help comes from those around me. So, as hard as this is I invite you to stop in anytime. I would prefer a phone call first but I'll still let you in. It is VERY difficult to invite people into my mess but if you have read this and you actually know me then consider this your invitation. You may not want to bring little ones with you just yet though. I have a lot of work to do before that can happen.

As my dear friend, Emily, suggested I am working on one room at a time. Within that room I'm working on one area at a time. I'm working within my physical limitations and time constraints. I am understanding my personal boundaries so that I can do this for healthy reasons. I seriously want victory in this area which had held me in bondage for far too long! So, I covet your prayers most of all. Maybe soon I'll be able to post pictures but for now trust ain't pretty!!! (but it will be soon.)

To be continued....

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Where's your buddy?

We had a chance to visit the National Air and Space Museum. It has always been my favorite museum. I had completely forgotten how large it is and was in awe as we entered. Since the museum is so large we had to stay in pairs. If the girls tried to run off we kept reminding them that they had to help their buddy so he/she wouldn't get lost. I had a good time watching their enthusiasm and wished I could have kept their pace. Although sometimes they went a bit too fast. Michael and I wanted to read at least some of the information at the exhibits. Of course to a child looking at things is much more exciting than reading about it.

Cristina was so excited to ride Metro and a huge escalator! Victoria and I spent time looking at the map. We figured out where we needed to transfer. They both loved the speed of the train. They were also fascinated because their Metro ticket had a picture of President Obama on it. They are really interested in him. It was great for us to have a chance to talk about current events with them.
The girls definitely loved any exhibit that you got to go into or touch. They had a lot of questions and I wish we would have had a tour guide. We got to see a variety of planes from various eras. The Wright Brothers section was one of my favorites. Of course so was the Amelia Earhart display. Plus we all enjoyed the section on the planets and rockets. It is truly difficult to choose one favorite. History has never been my favorite subject yet seeing it like that was amazing. I loved seeing how things have changed so much. Victoria was impacted when we told her there was a time that blacks and whites were not allowed to travel together. She couldn't imagine anything so horrifying! Thankfully she doesn't have to worry it and I praise God for the progress our nation has made.

As we were leaving we discovered a children's area. It was filled with interactive displays. We were so upset that we found this last because we had run out of time. We had to go through it quickly but we got to see displays on gravity, friction, air pressure, force, and density. They girls even got to climb into a plane and pretend to fly it. It was very difficult pulling them away from that area but we had to get back home. The girls were so excited when they found out there was a McDonald's in the museum. We went and tried to grab a quick bite to eat. Unfortunately Michael and I didn't realize we'd be paying about $8.50 for some nuggets! A bit embarrassed we quickly got out of the line. We were not willing to pay such outrageous prices. We settled for a hot pretzel at one of the food cards by the Metro. I was very proud and relieved when they had a great attitude about it. We had a fantastic time and I highly recommend this museum! As you can imagine it was an awesome and exhausting day!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Striking at 70!

The main reason for our visit to MD is to celebrate my mom's 70th birthday. None of us can believe her age. She is looking really good and praise God she has been feeling a bit better too! I know that having her family around her does wonders for her health. Her four grandchildren had a good time toasting with her and helping her blow out the candles on her cake. Although they wondered why there was only one big one and not 70 candles. They also tried to give Ines 70 spankings. I'm not sure if they ever did it or not because I lost count.

My dad, Pepe, and the girls had a great time making Ines' birthday cake. Victoria loved cracking the eggs. She was so happy that none of the shells fell into the bowl. Some of us were slightly concerned that we'd get a small cupcake to eat because the girls wanted to lick too much of the batter. I was worried about the mess they could make. My father isn't one to enjoy making a mess even if it was his own granddaughters. I was happy they had a good time and the cake turned out pretty good too. Everyone wanted a second slice so I suppose that is a very good sign!

Cristina helped put the frosting on but by then Victoria had lost interest. I think she had run off to play with Carolina. After the cake had been baked and frosted I couldn't find Cristina. It was too quiet in the house so I knew I had better investigate. I found her happy as can be trying to lick every part of the cake batter out of the bowl. She was covered in chocolate. My maternal instincts kicked in and I had her and the kitchen cleaned up long before I considered taking a picture of it for the blog.

We took my mom to Azucar Restaurant. It is a very nice, upscale Mexican place. My parents have been there before so some of the waitresses knew them already. The food was off the charts! We had a fantastic time celebrating and eating. The tables had a white paper covering so the kids were able to doodle while we waited for our food to arrive. My nephew, Gabriel, is an amazing artist. He didn't consider his drawing to be very special but I was amazed. He was able to sketch out a scene with minimal effort and it looked great. My sister-in-law, Angie, also has some talent. Her and the girls made a Dora The Explorer scene. I can barely draw a stick figure so I watched instead.

While we've been away I had my first taste of what it would be like if I homeschooled the girls. Hmmm...let me just say I'm now even MORE grateful for Mrs. VanOtterloo and Heritage Christian School. We lasted one day before the whining and crying began. I'm not sure if I was whining louder than the girls or not. Even though it is only 1st grade curriculum it was quite the challenge for me to try to explain the basics. I have discovered that I'm not very creative. Although my favorite thing to do is have the girls read to me. I could listen to them all day!
I commend anyone that does homeschool but I've come to realize it is not for us. Of course I imagine that if we did pursue this venue of education we wouldn't be doing it at grandma's house. There are too many distractions here which made it a LOT harder!! My sister, Sara, also joined in the fun. She actually made it a lot easier. Victoria loved playing school with her. Sara reassured me that it is always easier to teach other people's children.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

MD Arrival!

Ok this post is actually very late....sorry!

We made it! After many hours of driving, many movies on the DVD player, a number of potty breaks, and a few naps (not for the driver) we finally made it to MD. As we enter my old stomping grounds I always get very quiet. I'm always flooded with memories. Places I used to work and people I used to know and friends I long to see again. As always that quiet moment doesn't last because as I look around I realize how much MD has changed. There are buildings I don't recognize and streets I've never seen before. As much as I miss it I know I can never go back.

Quick question: What do you get when you have three techno geeks together at a social gathering? Silence! Unless they are all able to go into the office armed with a few laptops and a desktop. As soon as the technological equipment came out they all perked up. I have no idea what they were talking about but they had fun.
My sister-in-law, sister and I joked that they were probably on Facebook talking to each other since they weren't doing too much of it before.

One of the things that we have always enjoyed doing as a family is playing games. We have stayed up all night before and have (sort-of) regretted it in the morning. We have already spent MANY hours playing Uno, Phase Ten and Apples to Apples Jr. It is a riot especially when we speak Spanish and English sometimes at the same time! For those that aren't bilingual I can only imagine how funny we sound.

We also went to my brother's house and played Wii. We even convinced my mom and dad! My goodness it was hilarious! They had never played it before and soon my mom and I were laughing so hard we were both crying. We played a game where two gals were each riding a cow and they had to knock over scarecrows and race to the finish line. If anyone has played that game before maybe you can teach me. I still don't have a clue what I was doing. Plus it was extremely difficult to maneuver while I was crying and laughing.

Supper was provided by my nephew, Gabriel. My niece, Caroline, made brownies for desert. Gabriel made home made pizza. Five different varieties! I was not really expecting them to be great but I was pleasantly surprised! He did a fantastic job. I wish I could have eaten more but I'm glad we had a few slices leftover. He even tossed the dough up in the air like a professional pizza chef. I had a lot of fun watching him and so did Cristina. He even gave her a quick lesson. Soon she wanted to try cooking too. So the last pizza Cristina made almost by herself. Unfortunately I haven't been able to try it yet. As the evening progressed Victoria wasn't feeling too well. Soon her condition was bad enough that Michael and I decided to take her to a 24 hour clinic. So we gave her some Motrin and were on our way. It was hard to see her so lethargic and quiet. Typically that is not Victoria's behavior at all! Thankfully she just has a virus and needs cough medicine, rest and plenty of liquids. She is much better but we will be staying in MD longer than we had originally planned. I'm not too disappointed to spend more time with my family but I'm obviously not happy to see Victoria under the weather. I'm sure she'll be better soon and in the meantime maybe we'll get to play Wii again.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Still Winter...Still Getting Away

After many many hours in the car we finally were able to relax in Zanesville, OH. It is an interesting little town and maybe someday we'll actually visit and do some sightseeing. All the girls really cared about was if the hotel had a pool. So, after a mandatory dinner break we rushed back to the hotel. As fast as they could they changed into their bathing suits. Unfortunately I forgot to pack flip flops so they had to wear their winter boots. It didn't matter they still looked adorable. They actually thought it was rather silly. After all, being silly is a great part of a vacation with children.

We can't wait to tell Amy Gilbaugh (their swim teacher) that Cristina actually got into the water by herself! Plus she swam a little bit and went under the water. Those are major accomplishments. Prior to swim lessons she would scream whenever I tried to wash her hair in the shower. Michael or I always had to hold her in the pool. So I know Michael was thrilled he didn't have to go swimming too. I think he was afraid he may have drowned in the pool. He was exhausted from all the driving. Victoria was so excited to have the pool all to herself! Our little mermaid swam, chased a ball she found on the side of the pool, did somersaults, and floated. We spent a lot of time listening to "Watch me! Watch me!" There is not enough pictures to show off her talent. I am really amazed at how much progress she has made. She has never had a fear of the water but it is great to know she is now safe in it.
Personally I was just too tired to change into my bathing suit. That would have required a lot more energy than I had at the time. Although I should have because the hotel had a really nice hot tub that the girls absolutely loved! They didn't last in it too long but it looked very relaxing. Plus it had a beautiful painted mural on the back wall. It really looked like a spring garden.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Winter Getaway

Our travels began on Saturday, January 24th. We started driving to MD for my mom's 70th birthday. We had a few errands to run before we were actually on our way. We went to the library and gas station. As Michael was getting out of the car Victoria perked up and asked "Are we still in Iowa?". Oh dear! We both had a feeling it was going to be a LONG drive! Thankfully we brought the portable DVD player and a lot of movies. Michael and I were excited that it kept working. It gave us a few scares due to the cold weather.

Our first official stop was in Galesburg, IL. We visited the Welcome Center and the girls each received a coloring book and candy. They were quite happy we had stopped there! Outside the Center there was a huge Adirondack chair. We couldn't resist climbing into it. The chair was FREEZING and I'm glad I had gone to the bathroom first! Brrrrrr!!! I guess the snow on the ground should have been a hint.

We had the opportunity to stop in Normal, IL for the night. We visited the Stoneking family. We hadn't seen Troy and Sally in about 14 years so we were overdue. They made us feel so welcome and my girls wanted to know if we could stay there for our whole vacation. They had guitars, a keyboard, Rock Band, Dance Dance Revolution plus a huge variety of chips, pop, snacks and cereal. My girls were thrilled!

Victoria and I had a great time singing. American Idol here we come! I also tried Dance Dance Revolution and although my score didn't reflect my awesome moves I had a blast. I was surprised because Michael knew most of the lyrics. While his knowledge of the lyrics left me impressed his dance moves provided great comic entertainment. Even though I was laughing apparently the computer judge liked him better than me. I demand a recount! Oh well I know full well I looked better than him and that should count for something.