Thursday, December 30, 2010

I'm Such a Slacker!!!

Please accept my apologies for being the "WORST BLOGGER EVER" (at least for the month of December anyway).

We have been extremely busy this past month and are still on the move. For some reason I got the "nesting instinct" (you know, the one a woman usually gets right before she gives birth?) after Thanksgiving...a year AFTER I had Ruby :P

My parents so graciously gave John 2 gallons of paint in the color I had picked out for the living room (because I was sneaky and told them he wanted it...HA!) for his birthday back in October. I got a Bee in my Bonnet or a Bug in my Butt or whatever and decided...ahem...insisted that the living room would be painted before Ruby's first birthday. Her party ( a small one) was planned for Sunday the 12th (her birthday was the 13th) and I wanted it done before then.

So one day I got out the painter's tape and taped the living room. Boy you should have seen the look on John's face when he got was kind of like... "Oh cr**, she really wants to paint". Well, I wasn't about to let the Christmas tree into the living room until the walls were painted and since the tree was sitting out in the garage it just had to get done :)

Well, since we had some paint left over I went ahead and started painting the Butler's pantry the next day when John was at work thinking I would surprise him. Ummmm, I kinda thought we had more paint than we did and ran out before the whole thing was done. I couoldn't very well leave it that way could I? Nope. So I set out will all 4 of the kids to buy 1 more gallon.

Since I had even more paint I figured why not venture a little more into the foyer (our downstairs walls in the living room, dining room and foyer all flow together so I chose 1 color for all those areas ad it will also go up the stairs and through the upstairs you care... HA!) So I taped four teeny tiny little walls going into the foyer thinking I could get it all done before John got home. Seriously, who was I kidding? REALLY hard to paint while 4 small kids are in the house... awake... demanding to be fed.

So what did I get when John got home that night...yeah, that same look :) Good thing he loves me :) So we got the walls painted before the party :) Party post to come later...

Fast forward to the Monday before Christmas. Since I hadn't yet finished my Christmas shopping or baking, I had all 4 kids at home full time since winter break had started, I hadn't done any of my baking yet (or laundry for that matter), and I obviously had SO much extra time on my hands, what did I do???? Taped and painted the dining room in 3 hours! Dang I'm good (or stubborn...I'll compromise and say both!) Ruby was taking awesome naps that day and Lucy even took one and Max and Abby were busy with friends so throwing caution to the wind I figured I'd surprise John.

I got everything done...AND even made dinner that night! The stinker didn't even notice when he came in the front door even thought I had the buffet lamps on in the dining room! It wasn't until after dinner when he was...GASP!...rinsing his dinner dishes that he saw the paint roller and brushes sitting by the sink drying. He had this panicked sound in his voice when he said, "What were you painting???" I showed him and I think I heard the sigh of relief when he realized it was all done :)

I explained that since we would be eating Christmas Eve dinner in that room it only made sense that it should be painted too. I mean really, how could he argue with that sound logic?

On Christmas Eve as he was setting the table he came in the kitchen and reluctantly told me that I was...choke...choke...gasp...gasp...wheeze...RIGHT about painting it :)

Now that you have read this ramble (you're still here aren't you?), I'll leave you until 2011...

Coming Attractions in the New Year...

Ruby's First Birthday
Abby's Tooth Drama
My Tooth Drama

Good Night and Happy New Year...I hope 2011 brings Peace, Hope, Good Health, and Love to you all!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

An Important Announcement...

Someone in this family...

I won't name any names...

but someone in this family will be turning 1 year old on Monday! (I REALLY hope you didn't think I was going to say I was pregnant!)

Here's a hint... any guesses?

Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm Here...

Lots to update on...when I'm feeling better...when everyone stopsa being sick for crying out loud!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fighting a Losing Battle...Licking My Wounds...

I haven't been around the blog this week. How's that different from any other week you ask? Ha! This time I have an excuse :P

Last Tuesday evening our family began the epic battle against... A STOMACH VIRUS (insert high pitched screams)

Lucy got it good (well, really bad actually) Tuesday night about 10ish and so I ended up camping out with her on the living room floor where she was up and down to the bathroom several times during the night by 4am she had stopped getting sick. She was better (eating foods that she deemed would not make her stomach "blow up") by Wednesday evening. No school for her on Wednesday though and we are trapped in the house.

Friday morning, about 4:50am, Max woke up and went to the bathroom and ended up with diarrhea. He kept writhing in pain saying his stomach was "killing" him (have I mentioned before that my children are HIGHLY dramatic and that I expect each of them to win an Academy Award at some point in their lives?).

By 5:10 he was throwing up. 15 hours later...yes, I DID say 15 hours later he was done. No school for him on Friday needless to say and we were once again...trapped in the house. I also camped out with Max on the living room floor Friday night.

I should also mention on Friday Ruby got sick all over me, her, and the office floor...yuck.

Fast forward to Saturday morning and I wake up (who am I kidding? I couldn't sleep on the floor) nauseous and dizzy. I could feel it coming on. I pretty much felt like I had been hit by a truck all day. I figured...okay, not the bug, just worn out. was the bug. So I was trapped in the house all day Saturday as well...sigh...

Sunday morning dawns and shines right in my eyes that are reeling in pain from a migraine. I was able to down some Motrin and sleep the edge of the pain off. By 8, John was ready for me to get out of the bed (all the kids were up). I was recovered well enough to take Lucy to a birthday party and bake and decorate the cutest turkey cupcakes for Lucy's Thanksgiving "party".

Also insert that Ruby threw up again randomly...

My husband, always the optimist ("I am 100% sure we are going to get this virus Staci"), was not gloating so much when he woke up early this morning with said virus. If he could have mustered up the energy he would have. I had told him the other day that if he got it I was going to call his mom and tell her to come and take care of him...he's harder than all 4 kids being sick at the same time! He stayed home from work in bed and although I couldn't play nursemaid (it's not like he coddles me either people) I did bring him ginger ale and water and crackers and called in sick for him (etc).

The last one to fall was Abby. She was the only one who didn't get hit with this the last time it made it's way through our house.

She came home from school today complaining of a belly ache. She got progressively "poopier" acting as time went on. About 5:30ish it hit. She has on;y gotten sick once and was acting for apple juice (I made her drink water) and crackers within about an hour). She has fallen asleep on the couch and I'll camp out with her tonight. No school for her tomorrow...we'll be trapped in the house :P

So, the bug has defeated us all and now he needs to get OUT OF MY HOUSE so I can get to everything I need to do before Wednesday! I have been spraying everything I think a sick person may have touched. Tomorrow is a deep...deep...deep cleaning of all bathrooms...guess it's a good thing I'll be trapped in the house anyway!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Mama!

What an adorable couple :)
Happy, Happy Birthday to my awesome mama :)

She has always been there for us and has taught her three girls to be tough and "get it done". She has been friend and confidante and disciplinarian and a rock that we could always count on(and still can and do).

I hope she knows how much she is appreciated and loved. I can only hope and pray that I can be the kind of mom to my kids that she was to my sisters and me (although Mallory got away with so much more since she was the "baby").

She still worries about us even though we are grown and out of the house...a mom's work is never done I guess. Then we go and make her a "Nana" and multiply her worry (8 times!).

She is always thinking of others and how she can make someone feel better (of course she tells her own kids "oh you're fine, shake it off"... :P...Did I say I love you mom?)

She's not really big on confrontation but she is by NO MEANS a pushover! She says no and she means it, "gosh doty soctamolie".

Her grandkids LOVE her to pieces (mostly her stuff turns to pieces but she's okay with it when it happens..."Soooorrrrry Nana!"). I was talking to her the other day on the phone and when I hung up Lucy asked me who was on the phone. I told her I was talking to Nana and Lucy said, "Oh, I love Nana". I said, "Me too Lucy". She said, "I love her mommy, she's a nice girl!"

Oh yeah, she's also been known to give up her snack to her grandkids (they have inhaled a few bags of her Goldfish crackers from time to time!)

Mama, I hope your _ _th birthday is filled with love and peace (the kids and I will wait until this weekend to see you :) and joy. You deserve it.

Love and appreciation always and xoxoxoxoxoxox,

Your oldest baby,

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Have You Thanked a Vet Today?

Happy Veterans Day and a huge thank you to all those who have served or are currently serving our country in any branch of service.

My favorite dad...served 20 years in the Navy. He enlisted in 1968 right after high school. He was a submariner. In fact, he was on a submarine on patrol when I was born. We didn't get to meet until I was about 3 months old.

What a handsome guy! He was about 27 or 28 in this picture.

Being a military "brat" gave my sister Shea and I (Mallory didn't come along until I was 13 and my dad retired 4 years later so she didn't move around like we did) many opportunities that we otherwise probably would not have had. We lived in Charleston quite a bit but also were stationed in Great Lakes, IL (fun for snow), Kittery, Maine (More fun for snow and it was pretty), and Honolulu for 3 1/2 years (AWESOME!). When we left Maine to move to Hawaii we drove cross country and got to see and experience so much. Shea and I still talk about that trip :)

This was before he went out to sea...

Being a military family isn't always easy. I remember my dad going out to sea and how much we missed him. We didn't realize at the time though how hard it was on my parents. Back then we didn't have the internet for Skype so we really didn't get to "see" my dad at all until he came home. My mom, practically a kid herself (she had me when she was 20 and Shea when she was 23), was basically a single mom.

So, to those serving in the military and to those that have served...from the bottom of my heart I thank you.

This was at his commissioning ceremony in Hawaii...
He's an Officer AND a Gentleman :)
To those spouses that have "served" (or still are serving)...from the bottom of my heart I thank you for the support and sacrifices you have made to our country.

Saying goodbye to the Navy after 20 years...
They walked it together...
To the children...thank you so much for allowing your mom or dad to give their time away from you to make sure our country stays safe and free.

Happy Veterans Day!

Monday, November 8, 2010

20 Years...How the Time Does Fly!

This past Saturday I had the opportunity to attend my 20 year high school reunion. It felt so strange to think we graduated 20 years (+5 months) ago! Even being the mom of 4 small kids doesn't make me feel old enough to have graduated 20 years ago. It didn't even feel like it had been 10 years since the last reunion.

To think, at that one John and I had only been dating for 6 months. Since then we got engaged, married, and had 4 kids...whew! Let's hope we can relax a little more during the next 10 years (HA!)

I was on the committee that was planning the reunion and about a month ago we had to cancel our original plans due to lack of ticket sales. Another classmate of ours came in a saved the day!

We met at a club and were given our own DJ and the VIP appetizer and drink prices. We also had two servers assigned to our crowd. We pretty much WERE the "crowd" until about 10:30 or so then the regular crowd started drifting in. The classmate that made the arrangements was telling us that someone from our class had called him to see if there was a dress code for the club. He called the manager of the club and the guy told him that they would be a little more relaxed for us since we were an "older" crowd...ACK!

One of our classmates brought our Senior Class video with her and we got to watch it on one of the big flat screen TVs in the room. It was quite funny looking at all of our "big hair" :)

I recognized many faces and I recognized a lot of names. Unfortunately, none of the faces and names matched!

John and I had a great time...even more so because the kids were spending the night with my parents :) Thanks to the mostest awesome mom and dad on the planet for that!

to the Stratford High Class of 1990...
It was great to see many of you again and ...

Go Knights!
"All hail thee mighty Stratford!
Together we shall stand!
We'll show our pride and spirit
To all throughout the land.
With hopes to last forever
As many years go by.
We'll be forever faithful.
All hail thee,
Stratford High!"
- our Alma Mater
See you at the 30 year!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Happy Halloween and Bananas...

Last Friday Max brought a "friend" home from school. Bananas is the class "pet" in Max's 2nd grade class. Each weekend one student gets to take Bananas home for the weekend. The students are supposed to take pictures and write a small story about what they did with Bananas that weekend. When they return to school they get to read their story to the class. Bananas comes with his own backpack and clothes and a notebook to keep all the stories in.

Below are some pictures of Max and Bananas...

Bananas went with us to Five Guys for Dinner. Max let him "taste" a peanut :)

Bananas taking a nap on Max's bed.

Bananas and Max getting ready to go trick or treating.
This Halloween the Bailey kids transformed into a variety of different characters...

Max (as you can see above) was an "Army guy". We had to go to the Army/Navy surplus store to get the camouflage. He got pants, the t-shirt, a hat, and...probably his personal favorite...a set of dog tags with his name, DOB, and US Army "Sniper" on them. The man at the store asked what branch of the military he wanted and what he wanted to be in that branch. Should I be worried he said "sniper"?

Abby decided she wanted to be a cowgirl this year. We found her costume at Wal-Mart and she borrowed some boots from a friend.
Lucy FINALLY came to a decision after changing her mind for weeks. We got to the store to buy her costume and she chose Snow White. I was so glad when I paid for that costume and we walked out of the store!
Ruby thought about being Minnie Mouse this year but there were no costumes in her size to be found so she settled for being a cute little Ladybug :)
Before we went Trick or treating we went over to a neighbor's house for pizza. We got some pictures of the kids posing outside. Once it started getting dark we headed out. Max, Abby and the neighbor kids moved much faster than my little Snow White in her dress up shoes so about half way through John took Ruby the Lady bug with him to catch up to the big kids and it was just me and Lucy the rest of the way. She really started having a good time with the trick or treating. She about knocked me to the floor when she actually said, "Trick or Treat" to someone! She didn't have her fingers in her mouth or mumble. It was clear as a bell! Then she surprised me even further by telling them "Happy Halloween" as we left their porch. YAY Lucy :) She still isn't talking to her teachers at school yet so this was BIG for her :)

The kids got TONS of candy and will probably have enough to last until Christmas. I can't believe Thanksgiving is already only 3 weeks away...SLOW DOWN! After that I will blink and my sweet baby Ruby will be celebrating her first birthday. I'm having a tough time with that one.

John and the crew before Trick or Treating...notice Bananas on Max's lap.

Me and all of my Bananas!

Max and the neighbor kids playing "dead" in the graveyard.
Lucy and Abby thought they were being silly.

Little Miss Ruby L.O.V.E.S. her some pizza!
Daddy was feeding her little bites and pretty soon he coldn't feed her fast enough :)
Hope you all had a wonderful Halloween!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Letter From Me to the Tooth Fairy...

Dear Tooth Fairy,
Why are you picking on my kid? Would you please cut Abby some slack here? She is the one kid (she is getting Lucy on her bandwagon though) who is adamant about brushing her teeth! She never forgets and if she does then she'll get out of bed and come remind me that she forgot to brush them.

So, since she is such a dedicated tooth brusher, why on earth is she the one that keeps getting cavities, abcesses, root canals, etc. Why didn't you give her a bigger mouth (to fit her teeth, the volume on the "big mouth" is plenty loud thank you vey much) so her teeth wouldn't be too crowded? Her cavities have been between the teeth which of course is harder to keep clean when the teeth are crammed into her mouth.

Would you please let her just lose a tooth naturally for once instead of her having to have it forcibly removed due to an abcess? Give her a break already! If you know what's good for you then you'll let her have an much easier time with her permanent teeth (which are already crowded according to the x-ray...grrrrrr...)! Yes I know that braces are in her don't have to keep rubbing salt into that wound do you?

A Frustrated Mommy

** I took Abby this morning for her teeth cleaning and to replace her spacer that had to be removed last Monday because it was loose and digging into her gums causing a lot of pain. Well, the abcess that she had last Monday is now bigger (but still not bothering her thank goodness), so she is now on anti-biotic for that. She has three teeth (molars) that need to be fixed (filling on 1 and the enamel is chipped on 2 more...teeth grinder). The worst news was that the tooth that has the abcess on it has to come out. She had 2 fillings in that tooth (a front top tooth) and opne had come out. The fillings were on the sides and hidden by the teeth on either side so we had no idea it was out.

Unfortunately, the tooth has become infected and thus the abcess. Her dentist (WONDERFUL MAN! So glad we found him), also said that if we wanted to he could go ahead and pull the other top tooth so it looks more "natural". It would be purely for cosmetic reasons and wouldn't help or hurt the permanent teeth come John and I will talk about it.

The dentist also said that she could wait until January to have the work done so that her insurance will start over again by then. She maxed out her benefits back in January. He said that if it was critical he wouldn't want to wait but she'll be okay since we are so close anyway. If that changes then we will certainly get it done before then and just pay whatever it takes...her health and comfort are our first priority of course.

So as of now she is scheduled for January 5th. Max and Lucy are getting their's cleaned on the 24th. Here's hoping THAT trip is uneventful!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

She's the Coolest Cat in Town

I can't believe I forgot to tell you about Abby's Nursery Rhyme show at school! She made her official acting debut :) Her class had been preparing for awhile and learned several nursery rhymes...which have been repeated by her at a broken record (ha! I told Abby she sounded like one after she had been singing Hey Diddle Diddle about 500 times and she asked me what a broken record was...yes, I felt old). All of her practice has resulted in Lucy learning the rhymes as well. Now when Abby is at school I can still hear them. All Nursery Rhymes...All the time :P

Anyway, the reason she was singing Hey Diddle Diddle so much is because she got to play the role of "The Cat". You know, the one with the fiddle? Please don't make me type out the rhyme because it'll get stuck in...

...too late. Now I'll be singing myself to sleep with it. Sigh.

The class did a great job and Abby actually sang and performed her part beautifully :) The kids had brought in flashlights and sunglasses earlier in the week. The parents were handed the flashlights before the show and were instructed on when to use them. On their third verse of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star the turned off the lights and we got to turn on the flashlights and shine them on the ceiling to make cute!
My favorite part though was their last song. The whole class came to the front of the "stage" (we were in their classroom) and put on their sunglasses. Then they had someone flashing the classroom lights while they rapped Baa Baa Black Sheep. Oh my goodness we were cracking up it was SO STINKING CUTE! I wish I had a real video camera instead of just my digital (I didn't have enough memory left to record it). Their teacher was sitting with the audience facing the class and directing them and she was getting into the dancing as much as the kids were :) It was great to see that.

Our Cool Cat Abby!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Finally...It's Lucy's Turn!

For the past 3+ years of her life (ummmm, since she was a month old), Lucy has always attended Max and Abby's class parties at their school. If I went, Lucy was there too. Of course, it wasn't HER party and the snacks weren't for HER. Don't get me wrong, there was always enough for younger siblings to share as well but it just isn't the same when you aren't a part of the class.

Wednesday was different. It was FINALLY, Lucy's turn to have a "party"! I can't tell you how excited she was when I told her that she was going to get to wear her Halloween costume to school to walk in a parade THEN she was going back to her classroom for a party! Her excitement involved throwing her arms up in the air, dancing around and shouting "Yahoo!"

So I go her dressed in her costume (she has to be THE cutest Snow White I have ever seen) and we headed to school. She almost didn't want me to leave her in the room but I told her I had to go outside and wait on the sidewalk for the parade.

Those 2 year olds (Lucy is the oldest in her class at 3), were SO CUTE! The marched down the sidewalk and the parents were lined up with cameras and video recorders like the paparazzi! The kids got a kick out of it :)

Lucy on the other hand didn't crack a smile. Nope. Not my kid. She had her finger in her mouth most of the time and wouldn't look up at me either. She didn't wave like she said she would on the way to school. Lucy will talk a good game but the moment she's in the spotlight she's like a turtle crawling into her shell.

This is Lucy during the parade. No "Yahoo's" going on here!

Yes, Snow White is sporting green crocs :)

This was the photo op after the parade.
"Now where did those silly dwarfs go off too?"
Immediately after the parade we all headed back to the classroom for their Fall Party. It consisted of Cheez-its, fig newtons, and grapes with juice boxes. By 10am all the parents were heading out so the class could get on with their day. Lucy wasn't too sure she wanted me to leave again. She didn't talk at all except to say "candy corn" when I pointed to her napkin and asked her what was on it.
She has spoken exactly 3 words to her teachers since her first day of school almost 2 months ago. She won't talk to me either when we are in the classroom together. Abby was a lot like this when she was in the 2 year old class so we are hoping she'll snap out of it soon. I keep trying to reassure Lucy that it is okay to talk to her teachers and her classmates. They want to play with her and see how smart she is. I guess it'll come sooner or later. I have told her teachers to watch out once she does start talking because she won't stop! They are looking forward to that day (be careful what you wish for...)

She refused to look at me even after I said her name about 50 times!

I moved to the other side of the table to get her to look at me.
Yes, she is picking Cheez-its out of her teeth...
aaahhh such a classy southern girl we are raising, I know :)
So now Lucy has had her first official "school" party. My baby is growing up so fast. I look at Ruby (another baby that is growing up WAY too fast...don't wanna talk about it :P ) and I think how Lucy was "just" that little.
I'm not ready for all this, but I am excited about it at the same time. I can't wait to see what amazing things these kids of mine are destined for but I don't want it to come too fast. What does God have planned for them? I just pray that John and I are able to do our parts in getting them where God wants them to be.
*** Sorry if this doesn't look very neat. Blogger wouldn't leave the spacing between my paragraphs the way I saved them. Tried ten times to edit and it kept posting the way it looks now..grrrrrrr....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The "Tooth" About Abby...

Alright, me cheesy, corny, lame for the title :) It's tough being creative when you're running on 5 hours of sleep in two days!

While we were in Charlotte this weekend (went up to visit John's parents and brother and my family), Abby developed a toothache. Abby is a very dramatic child (total understatement!) so whenever she gets a mild ache she acts as if 911 should be called. I'm sure there are many starngers out there that have witnessed Abby in "pain" and think I am a horrible parent for not rushing her to the ER at that moment. Because of Abby's flair for the dramatic we have developed the "less (attention) is best" philosophy...once we have determined it isn't serious of course.

Yeah, I know, get back on track...

Abby's toothache progressed to the point where she was in pretty bad shape. We got home Sunday night and by the time she got changed and in the bed it was 9:00. I gave her an ice pack for her cheek and she went to sleep. She was up at midnight in lots of pain and I brought her downstairs and laid her on the couch. I was already up because I was coughing and couldn't breathe. I gave her another ice pack and let her watch some tv to help take her mind off of it and hopefully lull her to sleep. NOPE. She was up the rest of the night and didn't fall asleep until about 5am and that was only for an hour.

Needless to say I kept her home from school and planned to put in a call to her dentist as soon as they opened.

Just so happened her dentist is out of the office for the week and the dentist that was on call for him is a 45 minute drive away. I could have called a different dentist but since Abby has had some extensive dental work done and this problem was either due to the spacer in her mouth (bottom left molar was removed) or one of the teeth next to the spacer. She also had a small "bump" on her gum right above her top front tooth (that she has a filling in). So we got an appointment with the dentist that we knew would be in contact with hers.

She was miserable most of the day and any time she tried to eat something it would start hurting. I was trying to keep Motrin in her to help with the pain. Getting her Halloween costume helped distract her from it for a little while. Her app't was at 3 and although I was able to arrange for Max to go to his friend's house right off the bus I still had Lucy and Ruby with me...;p

God definitely answered our prayers yesterday because as it turned out the spacer was loose and it was rubbing into and therefore irritating her gums. The dentist was able to remove the spacer easily (although Abby cried and wanted her daddy! I know it had to hurt since she was already in pain) and gave it to us to take back to her dentist to have adjusted and put back in. She has to have it until her 6 year molar comes in. We were so happy that it was an easy problem to fix and that it wasn't actually a tooth that needed a root canal. That would be 3 in one year and NOT GOOD!

My relief was almost short-lived however when the dentist told me that the "bump" on Abby's top gum was in fact an abcess on her tooth! The good news is that it is draining on it's own which is why it isn't bothering her :) Because it is taking care of itself we didn't need to get an antibiotic :)

Abby is still in some pain, her gums around the spacer are probably still tender, so I am keepiing her on Motrin for another day but she was able to go back to school today. She really didn't want to miss her class field trip to the Fire Station!

So I'll call her dentist again this morning and make an appointment for next week. It's time for her cleaning anyway. I am just praying that we can have an uneventful cleaning this time (read...NO CAVITIES!). She brushes her teeth like a champ and still has to deal with all this because of her teeth being so crowded in her mouth. I'm not in a hurry for her to start losing teeth though because we have pretty much been told by her dentist that she WILL be needing mother like daughter...sorry Abby ;(

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ball Games and Camping and Play Dates...oh my!

This past weekend was jam packed with stuff to do. John took Max and Abby on their annual camping trip with our neighbor and his son. They don't go far...the KOA on the other side of the highway from our neighborhood :)

They do sleep in tents though and have big campfires and coook out on the grill. The electrical outlet that supplies the power for the portable Sirius satellite radio to hear the college football games? Doesn't exactly qualify as "roughing it" but we'll give them that much :)

Anyway, I took the kids to the campsite to meet John there since he had to come straight from work and get the tent set up before it started getting dark. Once it was up and they started talking about getting dinner going, Lucy and Ruby and I hightailed it out of there and went to get some dinner of our own. Fast food, yes, but it was to help Lucy not feel so bad that she wouldn't be getting to sleep in the tent and the "campsite". Are you kidding? John would get a ticket for her breaking the noise ordinance if she started her scraming in the middle of the night!

Anyway, Saturday morning Abby had a soccer game at 9 and Max had a football game at 10. The "little girls" and I met them at the field. Afterwards we got some Chick-fil-a for lunch and John wanted to eat lunch at home so he could get a shower (once again, a reason they stay just across the street).

When John was ready he took Max and Lucy back to the campsite (Lucy was just hanging out for the afternoon). Abby had been invited to a "Getting to Know the Girls in the Class" playdate from one of the girls in her class from 2-4. I took her to that where she had an AWESOME time on the jump castle, decorating her own little pumpkin, having cupcakes, and just screeching like a girl...and then back to the campground where Ruby and I hung out for about 45 minutes then loaded up with Lucy, picked up dinner, and headed home.

Lucy was really upset that she wasn't staying the night at the campground again so I asked her if she wanted to sleep in my bed with me. She was so excited. We snuggled together and were watching tv when about 20 minutes later she looked at me and said, "Mommy, I'm tired. Will you put me back in my bed?" much for the slumber party :) As I laid her down in her bed she snuggled in and got "cozy" (as she calls it). I gave her a kiss and she looked up and said, "Get a good night's sleep mommy".

The campers made it back home at about 10ish. Tired, happy, and smelling like campfire smoke (not my favorite part of their trips...the stinky laundry). Showers were had, lunch eaten, and a quiet lazy day. John and I had originally planned to hit the pumpkin patch that afternoon but due to the state of exhaustion...there would have been meltdowns for sure!

Unfortunately we didn't get any pictures of any of the events :( I wasn't at the campsite long enough to take any and even if John had the camera...he's just to busy to think about taking any ;p

Lucy swears she's sleeping at the campsite next year...I think John's going to need a much bigger tent :) He promised her he'd do a practice "campout" with her in the backyard soon...

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Great Gum Wars...

I'm sure you've heard of it. Many of you have probably fought in this war yourself or with your child. It's a sticky situation for sure (get it? sticky? gum? Haha! I crack myself up).

Anyway, it wasn't until last year that I even LET my kids chew gum (only sugarless mind you) because their DENTIST (of all people) told front of the kids...that it would actually be a good idea to let them chew sugarless gum. Well then, being the rule follower that I am, and the fact that my kids HEARD him say that (of all times for them to actually listen to someone) I let them chew gum.

I set the ground rules first:
1. Keep it in your mouth.
3. Wrap it in a tissue or piece of paper when you are done.
4. Throw trash in the trash can
5. Refer back to #1 and DO NOT GET IT IN YOUR HAIR!
6. Oh yeah, don't chew it with your mouth open or smack it because that really drives Mommy NUTS!

Fast forward to last Monday. Lucy's treat when I pick her up from school is a piece of gum. She asked for a piece when we got in the van on Monday and was happily chewing a cow mind you...she hasn't quite mastered rule #6 yet ;p #'s 1 & 2 are hit and miss, but she's always been really good about #'s 3 & 4.

Anyway, we had to make a stop and during this time she asked for a snack. I had forgotten about the gum she already had (non-stop repetition of the same 5 Veggie Tales songs on 1 cd kinda makes me lose my marbles a little) so I gave her one...a snack that is.

We got home and I reached back to unbuckle her straps on her car seat. As she is trying to get down she starts fussing that her hair is stuck. It has gotten tangled in the chest buckle before so I reached back and was able to get her loose. When I brought the hair forward however I saw it...the arch nemesis of long hair (second only to lice...PLEASE,PLEASE,PLEASE don't ever make us fight THAT war!)...a big ole wad of bright pink (watermelon flavored if you were wondering) gum all tangled up in her pretty blond tresses! I was horrified and did the only thing I thought I could do at that moment...I whipped out my phone and called my hairdresser! She wasn't working that day and the other hairdresser was booked solid...YIKES! I was told to try rubbing ice on it to get it only made it worse.

I tried combing it out and her hair is so fine and flyaway that it only made matters worse. I broke my heart but the only other thing left was to get out the scissors. The gum had a death grip on a pretty long stretch of hair so I held it in my hand...closed my eyes (no, not really)...and did something I never planned to do (myself anyway) until AT LEAST next year...I cut of a hunk of my baby girl's hair...several inches long. I couldn't let her go for the rest of the day that way (her appointment was set for 10am Tuesday) so I had to go all the way around. She was upset and wouldn't keep her head still so it was just a tiny bit lopsided.

On Tuesday we headed to see Ms. "J" and she "cleaned it up a bit" for us. Lucy wasn't too thrilled t be standing there (she refused to sit down). Ms. "J" even gave her a mini candy bar to eat while she stood there. It completely melted in her hand because she wouldn't eat it.

Does this look like the face of a girl excited to be getting a haircut?

A smile just wasn't gonna happen!

We left and I wanted to get another picture of her hair. She stopped at the van door and finally smiled for me. I think she decided she liked her hair...she just wasn't telling anyone :)

Here's a little smile...
BEFORE (taken on her birthday)


Wanna know something funny? Lucy actually asked me on the way to get her haircut if she could have a piece of gum! I laughed and told her no. She asked why and I said...just look at your hair Lucy. She said, "Oh yeah, I forgot!"

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Happy Birthday Thank You Note...

Dear Jack and Charlotte,
Thirty-nine years ago today you brought into this world an incredible gift...your fourth child, your third son (sometimes the "GOOD" son :) ). I want to thank you for raising and loving that child and creating such an incredible man.
You raised him to love, to laugh, be kind and honest. You raised him to understand the value of hard work and to put no less than his best into it. You raised him to love God and honor Him. You raised him with a good example of how to be a husband and father and how to take care of his family. You raised him to love the outdoors and to LOVE TO EAT (no more rice and jello for him)!!!!!
Long ago, God chose John to be your son. To raise and to love and to cherish and to protect and to teach. Long ago, God also knew that John would grow into a strong, loving man because of the parents He chose for him. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for that. God chose for John to be my husband. I thank God for that everyday.
John is a wonderful husband and a terrific father who strives to teach his children good moral values and character and how to love God...just like he was taught as a boy.
Jack and Charlotte, I wanted to thank you today, on John's birthday for being his parents and helping to shape him into the man he is today.

Love, Staci

Happy Birthday John...You are so loved

The fourth child with his fourth child :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Up, Up, and Away!

ALTERNATELY TITLED... John's Birthday present...

John's birthday is Tuesday. I was trying to come up with a present that I knew he would LOVE, would remember for a very long time, and would be something that would suit his personality.

John's dream job would be to take flying lessons to become a pilot and then own his own air charter service. He LOVES the ocean/beaches, golf, lighthouses, and flying. What better gift than to take him up in a small 4 seater plane for an aerial tour of Charleston?

I found an aerial tour service online called Flying High Over Charleston. For an awesome price I got John and I the 70 minute-70 mile tour which covered about 40 miles of coastline, the historical downtown area, lighthouses, down to Kiawah over the famous Ocean Course, and various other sights.

I was able to keep the secret from him for a whole week :) I had arranged for my parents (you are so awesome mom and dad) to watch the kids for a big chunk of the day and just told John we would do something together to celebrate his birthday.

So my mom and sister Mallory came to Max's football game Saturday morning and then took all 4 kiddos back with them to my parent's house. John and I came home for a few minutes then headed to lunch.

We went to a new pub in the area called, O'Brions Pub. It fit the bill perfectly because they had big flat screen t.v.s covering every wall! One of the employees came over and asked John which game he wanted top watch and changed the channel on the tv above our booth to...what else...the Wolfpack game :) Oh well, it was his birthday lunch...I wasn't going to complain that he had his eyes on the tv the whole time! We had an AWESOME lunch then I told him I had something in mind for us to do but I wasn't going to tell him what it was. We paid the check and headed out. John kept asking where we were going but I wouldn't tell him. At one point he asked if we were going flying and I stuttered to recover, I couldn't believe he asked that!

As I got off the exit to head to the airport he kept asking where we were going and what we were going to do. I told him we were going to watch planes take off...he was actually okay with that. When I turned into the building for the charter service though he started asking questions again. Finally, I pulled into the parking space, turned off the car and looked at him. He had this questioning look and a funny grin on his face and I told him he was going flying. At first I don't think he believed me then he was like, "REALLY?????". We got out of the car and went in the building to check in and as we sat in the lobby area and looked out the huge glass windows at the (incredibly too small) planes I think it started dawning on him that it was real :)

Finally, our pilot, Jim, came over and introduced himself and once we walked outside it finally hit John that this was really happening. Jim was talking to us about the plane and his experience. I got into the back seat (it was a 4 seater) and as I was sitting back there I was looking out the window at John standing next to the plane listening to the pilot. He could not wipe the silly little boy excited grin off his face :)

I told John to sit next to the pilot up front because he was going to get a chance to take the controls during the flight. Part of him wanted to sit in the back with me but the biggest part REALLY wanted to fly the plane...I didn't mind...him taking the controls was one of the selling points of the tour for me.

Jim went over all the dials and gadgets with John and we got our headsets on and were on our way!

John and I in front of the's REALLY that small!

My handsome co-pilot. Can you tell how excited he was :)

I got this shot for Max. The C-17's at the Charleston AFB

John couldn't wipe the silly grin off his face. He was so cute!

Flying over/around/near the Ashley River

Flying over The Citadel...check out the cool red and white checkerboard courtyards!

Johnson Hagood Stadium (The Citadel).

There was a football game going on and we circled the stadium

One of the diamonds of the Arthur Ravenel Bridge
connecting downtown Charleston with Mount Pleasant

Double Diamonds

USS Yorktown

Right over the top of the Yorktown...can you count the jets?

Morris Island Lighthouse

Morris Island Lighthouse again...

John took the controls and was flying the plane at this point.

Flying over Kiawah Island and part of the Ocean Course golf course.

Okay folks, remember when I mentioned the AWESOME lunch John and I had at O'Brion's pub? Yeah, well, this is where I lost it ;p It wasn't my best moment and I really didn't think I'd get motion/air sick but it happened. Thankfully Jim had showed me where the air sickness bag was before we took off!

John was so worried about me and I know he would have told the pilot to head back to the airport if I wanted him to but I was determined to let him have the whole time in the I love my husband or what?... I ended up losing it...literally...throughout the rest of the flight.

Fort Sumter again

John proposed to me on the beach at Sullivan's Island

The Mount Pleasant airport in the middle. Our neighborhood is right there to the left.

Once we left Sullivan's Island I spotted the Mount Pleasant Regional airport, which is next to our neighborhood. Jim asked us if we wanted to fly over our house. We said yes so Jim contacted the airport and requested permission. I handed John the camera because I was a little too queasy to be taking pictures.

Our street. Jim circled our house while John shot some pics of it.

Our street/neighborhood/house.

It was funny because I could see our van parked in the driveway :) Then it made me nauseous to look down so I stopped ;p

Another shot

A final shot before heading back.

Once we got back to the airport we hung out for a few minutes for me to get my bearings. Then we headed back to our house to rest for a little bit (well, for ME to rest). We headed back up to my parent's house at about 4:30 to get the kids and my mom ordered pizza to celebrate John's birthday. They had also made him a chocolate chip cookie cake. Needless to say I DID NOT eat any pizza :) but we had a great day!
From the moment we got off the plane, besides worrying about me, John kept telling me thank you and that he was sorry I got sick and that he felt guilty because he didn't :) I told him that I was sorry I did because that wasn't what I wanted him to remember about the trip. I can't remember how many times he grinned at me and thanked me.

He works so hard to take care of his family and he doesn't have a lot of free time to do things for himself. I am so glad that I was able to do this for him and that I kept the surprise for as long as I did! :) I know he will always remember this birthday and it really made me excited to see that silly grin on his face all day :)