Monday, January 30, 2017

Tommy turns 6

This boy.....he has my heart. We had such a good time celebrating his 6th birthday! He went to bed a 5 year old....
 And woke up a 6 year old! We started off our morning with sprinkle donuts, because those are his fave!

 I let him open a few of his smaller presents in the morning before school. One of them was silly string because him and Tessa are OBSESSED with it and love to have silly string wars.
 He was actually excited to go to school because it was a FAB day and they were going to play bingo. He also got to take cupcakes to school with little airplane whistles on top of them. When I picked him up from school, he said it had been a great day. We headed to Nana's to celebrate with Nana, all the cousins and Aunt Brooke. Nana bought him a red cowboy hat (which I thought looked more like a pimp hat) that he insisted on wearing the whole time! He opened lots of presents....
....and ate some cupcakes and ice cream that he CLEARLY enjoyed.
  He's just the goofiest little boy! These are the poses I get over and over when I ask him if I can take a picture and that's why almost all of my pictures are blurry....
After our party at Nana's, we went home to open a few more presents and pick up dad to go eat dinner. He got all kinds of fun stuff.....a cowboy hat, a hot wheels car carrier, a cowboy belt and buckle and some other things I can't remember.
 We always let the kids choose where they want to eat their birthday dinner and he picked Golden Corral. Nick hates it, but Tommy LOOOOOVES it. And I don't mind it (although the older I get, the more buffets gross me out). He's a kid who really enjoys his carbs, so he eats 3 or 4 rolls every time we go there. He could survive on bread if we'd let him! His favorite part, though, is the dessert buffet with the chocolate fountain!
 We gave him his big gift after dinner while we were in the car. We knew if we gave it to him before dinner, we wouldn't get to talk to him for the rest of the night because he'd be distracted. We aren't really into electronics in our family. I don't like how much time kids spend on them and we live in the country, so I want them to find ways to have fun outside. BUT, Tommy has been really into playing games on our phone and does pretty good about following our time limits. So we decided to buy him a Nintendo DS lite. And he LOVED it! We bought a few games to go with it and he's really enjoyed playing them and having something to mess with while he's in the car or if we're waiting somewhere. And he's been pretty good about setting it down to go have fun doing other things too!

Overall, he had a really great birthday day! The next day, we had his birthday party with our family. He had asked me several times to make him a 6 layer cake, because he's six years old. At one point he told me, "Mom, I really want a 6 layer cake, but I understand if you can only do 5. I know 6 might be really hard." And that's when I knew I would make a 6 layer cake! I love a good challenge.
I'm not one to toot my own horn, but......toot, toot! I followed a recipe I found online and it was SO good. It had peanut butter frosting that was delicious and I poured hot fudge down the sides. YUM.

Tommy wanted a cowboy themed party, so I made some signs for the food and tried to serve what would be served around a campfire (maybe....I've never eaten a cowboy dinner around a campfire, so maybe I was way off).

We had mama's cornbread and Nana's tater salad....
.....and some rootin' tootin' baked beans.....
.....and move along little hot doggies......

After dinner, we opened presents and my little man got everything he hoped and dreamed for! He got a hoover ball, a bunch of camping gear, some star wars clothes and these shoes called S Lights that he had been BEGGING for. He was one happy boy!
After presents, it was time to eat that six layer cake! He was so excited when he saw it!

After he blew out the candles, we cut the cake and I served him a biiiiiiig slice......
And he ate ONE stinkin bite and then got up to play. He said he thought it was "really yummy," but he just wanted to play, not eat. Whatever. At least everyone else enjoyed the cake!

Happy 6th birthday, Thomas James!

Friday, January 20, 2017

To Tommy, on your 6th birthday....

Where has the time gone? It feels like yesterday that I was writing a letter to you for your 1st birthday.....and yet, here we are celebrating your 6th year of life.

Tommy, there are so many things I could say that you've taught me, but the most important thing you've brought to my life is that you challenge me in every way possible. From the time you were born and made me a mom until just this morning as I was waking you up, you have challenged me every. single. day. Sometimes in good ways, sometimes in hard ways (and sometimes in REEEEAALLLY hard ways).

You have challenged me to be more selfless, more kind, more loving, more thoughtful, more patient. You have challenged me to be more active, more social, more involved. You've challenged my time management, my thought processes, my method for disciplining. Every thing I thought I knew or was okay with before you were born has been challenged.

And I'm a better person because of it.

You're an awesome little man! At 6 years old, you are 47 1/2 inches tall and 51 lbs. You are in size 6 slim jeans and size 6/7 or small shirt. You are tall and skinny! You wear a kids size 1 shoe and are currently obsessed with your cowboy boots. You wear them almost every single day. We pick out your clothes the night before and you always tell me if you want to wear a "fancy Chuck Norris shirt" (you're talking about your plaid cowboy shirts) or something else. It's hilarious that you want to dress like Chuck Norris in Walker, Texas Ranger. Nana got you started on that show and you LOVE it. Ever since you started watching it, cowboys are your thing!

You're really into sports. You like playing them, but complain about going to practice all the time. We're gonna have to work on that because you have YEARS of practicing if you want to keep playing sports! Football was your favorite. You're in basketball now and are begging to play soccer, so we'll see how that goes.

You would veg out and watch TV or play your nintendo for HOURS if we let you. You love Alvin and The Chipmunks and ask to watch it constantly. Luckily, after 30 minutes or so, we can get you distracted or send you outside and you're just fine. You really love being outside. You like to help dad feed and water the dogs and you guys ride 4 wheelers all the time to the airport or over to our land. You love being able to run all over and act crazy and be as loud as you want (and I love it too because if you aren't doing those things outside, you're doing them inside!).

You love to spend money. You couldn't save a dollar if your life depended on it. Every time you get money for allowance or birthday or Christmas, you spend it right away. And usually on a light saber or toy gun! Or Hot wheels. You have SO many light sabers and hot wheels that I sometimes think I'll pull my hair out if you get another one. You also love collecting little "treasures." Which means I usually find rocks in your pocket or some random thing you've found outside.

You say you hate school, but I'm not buying it. I think you hate waking up for school, but once you get there, you like seeing your friends and your teacher says you do a great job! At your first conference, the only complaint we got was that you were too quiet. Ha! If only she knew the real Tommy.....but since the start of the year, you've gotten much friendlier with the other students and have made a few really good friends that you like to hang out with. Jace is your best friend right now. You seem to do really good at math and reading, but are struggling just a tiny bit with your spelling tests. You take after your dad in that area (sorry Nick, but you know it's true).
Tommy, I could talk about you all day. But I know you'd just roll your eyes and say, "Stoooooop, mooooooom." So I'll wrap this up. You're not the perfect son by any means, but you are the perfect son for me! I love you so much and even though we butt heads (because we're exactly alike), I couldn't be prouder of the big boy you're becoming. Daddy and I love you!

Happy 6th birthday!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Go Broncos!! And our KC trip...

On Christmas Day, we took off for Kansas City so the boys could go to a Broncos/Chiefs game. They were SO excited! The game started at 7pm, so we were aiming to be there around 5pm. Well, we started driving and we were only about an hour into the drive and it started POURING down rain. Like....torrential rain. We started to get a little concerned because Tommy is not the hardiest boy in the world. He doesn't like being tired and he doesn't like being wet. And we knew if it kept raining, he would be both. We just started praying it would quit by the time the game started! I had bought them both ponchos for the game, so we knew they would have a little protection from the rain, but we also knew Tommy would still probably be whiny. 

It was still raining when we got there. We checked into our hotel and dropped off all of our stuff. The boys were pumped and ready to go!

 However, Nick went to unpack the ponchos and we could only find one of them. Of course. There was no sign that the rain was letting up, so we headed to Walgreens to buy some garbage bags. They weren't wide enough to fit around Nick's shoulders, so he told Tommy he'd have to wear a garbage bag so Nick could wear the poncho. 

Well. That did NOT fly with Tommy (I keep thinking, "Nobody puts Tommy in a trash bag.....nobody."--just a little Dirty Dancing reference there). He did NOT want to put on a "stinkin trash bag." We were able to stave off a meltdown about the garbage bags and redirect his mindset to something else. We got to the stadium and waited in a line of cars a mile long just to drop the boys off. We had NO idea where to go, so we just picked an entrance. They tried to charge me $50 to go through that parking lot, but they finally let us just drop the guys off and leave. As I watched them start running through the rain to the stadium (that seemed SOOOOO far away), I was so worried Tommy was going to be grumpy and ruin Nick's time. Tessa and I headed back to the hotel and I kept praying they'd have fun despite the weather.

Let's just say, "God is good." Nick texted me about an hour later that they had made it to their seats. The rain was slowing down, but it didn't matter, because their seats ended up being under an awning! I know it's silly, but that made me SO happy. I knew Tommy would have more fun if he was dry and warm, which meant Nick would have more fun. They were surrounded by Chiefs fans, but Nick said they were all super nice and even bought some snacks for Tommy. Obviously, he was enjoying himself.....
 I mean, that face is the face of a boy who loves his pretzels! The Broncos ended up losing, but the boys had SO much fun! Tessa and I had a good time at the hotel watching TV and making jewelry with a little kit she got for Christmas. We went to go pick them up when the game was over and let's just say I will NEVER do that again. I don't care if a cab costs $100.....we'll pay it just so I can avoid that parking lot. Nick and I ended up having to text our coordinates to each other. I just parked the car until he was finally able to find me (an hour later). Once we had all met up again, we headed back to the hotel for some rest. Tommy was SO exhausted!
 The next day, we just did some shopping and running around in the morning. We ate at Bob Evans. It was good, but not like the BEST food I've ever had. However, Tommy continues to talk about it two months later and always wants to "eat at that place in Kansas City where we had ice cream." So Bob Evans, head to Wichita, would ya?! My son loves you!

 After finishing our shopping, we headed to our next stop that was another surprise for the kids. We had told them to bring their swimming suits in case we had a pool. They kept asking when we would get to swim and we had to hold them off for a bit. When we finally pulled up to our hotel, we got inside and they were SOOOO excited! We went to Coco Keys, an indoor water park/hotel. They looooooooved it. I was a little leery because of some of the reviews. However, it was really a pretty nice facility and the kids had a blast in the water park. There were all kinds of slides and pools and things to do. And it was nice because Nick and I could swim with the kids, but also eat funnel cake and drink grown up things while they were playing in the kiddie part (that's a win-win in my mind).

These are literally the only two pictures I took while we were there.  The first one I just thought was hilarious. Tessa kept begging to see out the window, so I put her up there and she looked like a gecko!
This was the kiddie pool area where we could relax and they could swim without us worrying they would drown! It was great!

We stayed the night at Coco Keys and then left for home the next morning. This was really our first "vacation" where it was JUST us. We've gone a few places with his family or mine, but never just as our little family of four. It was SUCH a great time of bonding and restoration. The kids were SO good and we all got along really well. I loved it and can't wait for future trips!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Christmas 2016

We had a wonderful Christmas again this year. The older I get, the less I care about gifts and the more I care about quality time with my family. Every year around Christmas, I get several days off and get to really enjoy each of our families and our Christmas traditions.

On Christmas Eve, we went to the Wilhelm's for dinner. It was a great time, but a little bittersweet because we were missing part of our family this year. Nick's sister and her husband moved out of state earlier this year, so it just didn't feel quite the same......BUT, thanks to technology, we got to face time them and that made it a little better!

We had a great time eating our traditional mexican meal--fajitas, beans, cheese dip. We had a good laugh because about three quarters of the way through dinner, Esther shot out of her chair (and maybe let an expletive escape her lips) and said, "THE POTATOES!!" She had a made a HUGE batch of papas con chiles to go with our meal and completely forget to get them out of the oven! We were all reeeeally full by the time they made it to the table, but we managed to stuff some down (because they were delicious).

After dinner, we played the saran wrap game--Isabelle Marie was the winner of that! The kids loved it and had so much fun trying to unwrap the ball to get to the prizes.

Then it was time for presents! The kids were thrilled with all of their stuff (of course). I can't even remember now what all they got, but they were spoiled, that's for sure! I do remember Tessa getting an art set that was literally bigger than her. I totally failed at taking many pictures--which is sometimes a good thing, because it means I was too busy enjoying the moment.

By the time we were done celebrating with the Wilhelm's, the kids were SO tired. I think they both fell asleep in the car, which almost NEVER happens anymore. We got them inside and had to wake them up to write letters to Santa and set some cookies out. After that, we got them all tucked in headed to bed.

I heard some noise in the middle of the night, so I got up and caught Santa in the act of leaving some presents.

We ended up having to wake Tessa up to open presents. She was sleeping in since we got to bed late the night before. Not our Thomas James, though! He was up bright and early. Once we finally got Tessa up, we had to hurry through presents. Since Christmas was on a Sunday this week, we had church at our regular time, so we had to be in Towanda by 10:45am.

The kids were spoiled (again). They both got several pairs of shoes (that they actually needed--so it was a good way to add to the present pile while not getting them useless junk!). They got some clothes. Tessa got quite a few necklaces and bracelets because she's been so into jewelry lately. She got a few art things. Tommy got some Broncos goodies. He also got "the big gift." Nick was SO excited to give it to him (and so was I)!

Nick works with a guy who has season tickets to all of the Chiefs games. It just so happened that the Chiefs were playing the Broncos on Christmas Day and his friend offered to sell him the tickets (for an excellent price). He snapped them up and we planned a short trip to Kansas City during our Christmas vacation. The tickets were one of Tommy's gift. We knew better than to expect a HUGE reaction from him, because he's just not that kind of kid. When he gets something he loves, he's usually pretty quiet about it, but says thank you a million times.

He opened his tickets that were wrapped with a Broncos hat. They tickets were taped down to the box they were in and he ALMOST ripped them in half when he was trying to see what they were! Once he finally figured out they were tickets, he smiled really big and hugged us both and we got our thank you's. After the present opening,we found a note from Santa that said their gift was too big for the living room, so it was downstairs. They hurried down and found a BOUNCY HOUSE! I can't tell you the trouble we Santa went through to get this thing. The kids LOVED it (and have played in it approximately TWICE since Christmas Day). They bounced their hearts out.....

Then it was time to get ready for church! Tessa Grace looked so cute in her outfit and all her jewelry....

We stopped and picked up our nieces (their mom and dad were chillin at home because they had a 3 day old baby to take care of) and we all went to church. It was a lovely service that really brought home why we celebrate Christmas.

After church, we headed to Nana's to eat and open more presents! I spent a looooot of time holding this little fella....

Tommy and Tessa were stoked to finally get to meet him....

And Tommy is thrilled to have another boy in the family FINALLY........

We had SUCH a wonderful time celebrating with our little family. My mom has mentioned several times that she'd love to have a trike with a basket on the back to be able to ride around town. We knew she'd never buy one for herself because they're kind of expensive and she spends her money on everything BUT herself. So WE got her one! We were so excited to give it to her and I was so glad we got it because she really seemed to like it!

We had to head out a little earlier than normal because we had to be in Kansas City by 5pm or so. We were bummed to cut the party short, but were so excited to get to KC for the big game! After we said our goodbyes, we packed up and headed out....but that's for another post. 

It was a wonderful Christmas as usual! I'm already excited for the next one!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Fulton Valley Farms and urgent care

Two days before Christmas, we decided to check out Fulton Valley Farms. We met all of Nick's family for dinner and then headed over to see all of their Christmas activities! It ended up being really cool. The kids were able to see Santa. They had a path lit up with thousands of Christmas lights and it was SO pretty. They had donkeys and sheep for kids to pet and a place where you can take pictures with a real reindeer (Tessa was just SURE it was Vixen).

The coolest part of the night was when they had a live nativity. They acted out the shepherds finding baby Jesus and it was just a really beautiful, poignant moment. It helps to really see what it might have been like for Mary and Joseph.

The next day, we took a little trip to urgent care. Because how else would we want to spend our Christmas Eve?!? Long story short, Tessa had complained three or four weeks ago that her ear hurt. I looked at it and it looked like her earring hold was infected. She cried when I touched it, so I knew it was really hurting her because she doesn't really cry from pain. I noticed that her earring back was missing and assumed it had just fallen off. We cleaned it up really good and I noticed it was kind of hard, but assumed that was pus that just needed to be cleaned out. She was able to keep an earring in without any problems and after a few days, it healed up and looked fine.

BUT.......I went to change her earrings the say before Christmas Eve and noticed her ear lobe was still hard. The hard spot was perfectly round. Like the shape of the little tube like plastic earring back that had gone missing. And I just knew.....her earring back was IN her ear. There's an urgent care in Andover that we decided to take her to. We knew this wasn't ER worthy, but we were going out of town for a few days after Christmas and didn't want to keep it in there any longer than necessary! So I took her in. And the were able to give her some local anesthetic and take it right out! It took less then 10 minutes and she was SUCH a trooper! I felt so bad that it had been in her ear so long. But I was so glad they were able to see her that day and get it taken care of!

She wanted me to take this picture to send to her aunt....clearly she was recovering well.....

It was an eventful few days!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Early Christmas presents

This year, I got a couple of early Christmas presents!

So I've been agonizing for a few years over a KitchenAid mixer. It's one of those things that I don't NEED......but always want. I just couldn't make myself spend the money on it! They're so expensive! But every year around Christmas, I start looking at them and thinking about them and dreaming about them and all of the things I'll never use it to make......

And every year I lament to Nick about how much I want one but that I'm just not going to buy it. But this year, he got tired of listening to me and made me bite the bullet! And I love it!

I got an EXCELLENT deal on it. It was on sale for around $250. Then I had a 30% off coupon code that took it down to around $175. I also had a $30 gift card, so that made it $145. Then there's a $30 mail in rebate, so that made it $115. AND I got $50 Kohl's cash back on my purchase! So essentially, I got it for under $100!! I got white so it'll match any kitchen color scheme I may have throughout the years. And I named her Lucinda......

These cookies were our first recipe that we made together. And I must say, they were pretty dang tasty.....

But even better than the KitchenAid mixer was another early present I got....
Mr. Tyson FINALLY made his appearance! Isn't that the cutest little grumpy face you've ever seen?!? He was a few days overdue, so they induced his mama on December 22. She had to go in around 5am. I worked all day, but was right down the road from the hospital and had given my brother strict orders to call me when it was close to time. He texted that she was dilated to 8cm, so I decided to finish a few things and then head to the hospital. Well, I called my mom to see what floor to go to and Ty was already being born! Once he was ready to come out, he came quick! He's just the most precious little nephew! After 5 nieces, I finally have a little man to spoil!

I'm in love!!

And so are his cousins....
We are so happy he FINALLY decided to make an appearance and came out healthy and cute as a button! Merry Christmas to me!