Monday, June 30, 2014

After a 4 month hiatus we now return to regular programming...

Whew, was that a blogging break or what? It wasn't really intentional, life just kinda got really busy, really quickly and I think we've fallen into a little groove here in Texas. Back in March we had been stateside for about six months and I would say we have definitely settled down. We've met neighbors, made friends, started new hobbies. I started scrapbooking with Project Life so my blogging has lagged as I try to scrap our time in Italy. We also have had a slew of visitors and generally kept really busy. Ron and I are both taking online college courses so that keeps us busy.

Lets see if I can sum it up:

March- Let's see, in March was I post-op from my surgery and finally allowed to resume normal activities. About that same time, the kids had spring break from school. This was the first year in quite a few where we decided to plan nothing. We went nowhere and it was sort of amazing. We relaxed. We played xbox, drew with sidewalk chalk and blew bubbles. We explored thrift shops and playgrounds in our town. The following week B's niece, nephew and nephew's girlfriend came to visit so that of course meant visits to Kemah, crawfish dinners and fun. Frozen came out on digital download so we watched a lot of that and at the end of the month, Ry turned EIGHT years old!
He chose a dinner at Chili's and received the two things he wanted the most: a Kindle Fire and Lord Business Evil Lair lego set.

April- Ron's youngest brother came and stayed with us for a few weeks so it was a different dynamic having seven in the house instead of six. The weather finally started to warm up without so much rain and allergens and we spent most evenings outside. After my surgery I had made it a goal of mine to make some lifestyle changes. I had given up soda back in January and after having my surgery, realized just how much weight I'd put on (roughly 15lbs while overseas and then getting settled here). Ron had already surprised me with a treadmill but it was nice to finally be able to walk in the evenings outside. I started out walking with an end goal being running (but in April I was nowhere near running yet!) We bought the kids a basketball hoop and the boys kept pretty busy ''shooting hoops". Easter came and went. Ron took the kids fishing a few times and discovered new areas around the bay.
Overall the month passed by really quickly!

May- May was a BUSY month! At the beginning of May I pre-enrolled Connor into KINDERGARTEN!

What? This little guy is already going to school? Yeah I can barely believe it. He's also already reading a lot of signs, captions, etc as well as spelling and writing notes up a storm. That first weekend in May we so excited to go to San Antonio to visit Aunt Debbie and Christoper. Chris was graduating from his tech school in the AF and it was our chance to see him before he moved to his first duty assignment: Japan! It was so much fun getting to spend the weekend with them and to see our ''old stomping grounds". We went (of course) down to the Riverwalk and the Alamo as well as the Quarry and the Japanese Tea Gardens.
 
Sidenote...this was the last time my kids were at the Japanese Tea Gardens:
Yeah, that was THREE years ago. Seems insane huh? Anyway, I digress. So we had an amazing Mother's Day weekend with family (yay!) and returned home to a busy week of Mother's Day brunches at school, Field Day, and because we are completely insane and because I have an amazing husband who pretty much lets me get whatever I want no matter how ridiculous....we got a new puppy! I pulled out every card for this one folks. "I'm turning 30 this week" and "We've been married 10 years babe" were said. And he said "Okay, Okay, but we're just looking"  Yes, yes we just got a puppy last year (Can you even believe that Lucca is almost two!?). But we're settled now. We're in a home that we own and we have no intentions of moving EVER, we won't need to worry about an overseas flight and I wanted this puppy. Now I'll be honest, I had asked before, several times throughout our marriage and was always met with a ''are you insane, you want that now? Maybe when the kids are older and can help take care of it". Because you see, I got a puppy but not just any puppy either. I got a Great Dane.
That is Stella, at 8 weeks old meeting Lucca (who weighs 14lbs). Now Stella was nervous and timid and so utterly adorable and tiny when we got her on May 15. She is very smart. She learned her name in less than 2 days, her and Lucca became instant BFF's, she got house training and crate training down quickly. The "issue" of course with Great Danes is their size. And because we've always rented and always moved, we have always had little dogs. Hence why Ron always said that we could get or even rescue a Great Dane once the kids were older. We wanted the kids to be comfortable with a big dog, not afraid. Well little Stella was born into a litter of 12 pups and her owner wanted a re-homing fee but wasn't asking any sort of outrageous price. This was the perfect opportunity to get a Dane; the kids would see her grow day to day and know her without a fear of her size. With summer right around the corner we would have plenty of time to leash train her and play. Well as I sit here and write this, my now 36lb Stella is snoring. Here is a picture from last week:
Why yes, that is my husband carrying/hugging our now 13 week old Great Dane. To say she's found a way into his heart is an understatement.

So anyway, back to May. We got Stella and that same week Logan and I celebrated our Birthday's. We had a small party with friends and a taco bar here at home. The following week Auntie Michelle came to visit! YAY! Of course we went to Kemah and Galveston and downtown Houston and hit up the outlet mall a few times. We went on Dolphin tour boats and ate Tex-Mex and grubbed on s'mores in the evenings. We basically had fun every.single.day for a week.
And immediately following Michelle's visit, we had more visitors. Nanaw and Papa and Grandma Phyllis came down for a week too! They arrived end of May and stayed into the first week of June. We did much of the same activities (Kemah, Galveston, Dolphin boat tour, Outlet Mall) with them as we did with Michelle but we also spent evenings chit-chatting and staying up late with Grandma watching Criminal Minds :) Grandma was diagnosed with Parkinson's while we were overseas so while she gets worn out a little easier these days, she's still a night owl and still keeps up with the kids!
 
It was a lot of fun having them here. While I often wish we lived closer, I love living here and I love having so many visitors (and that we can accommodate them). They stayed until June 8th, then had to head back to Kansas.

June- It's summer break! With suddenly no visitors and Ron back at work, the kids and I found ourselves with entire days needing to be filled with fun. We initially bought a kiddy pool for the backyard but have since grown to love the neighborhood/community pool. I was extremely nervous to take them to a big pool by myself. One mom and four kids who don't know how to swim real well, is totally nervewracking. But we loaded up their arms with floaties and tried it out: so. much. fun! It's a big pool and is never crowded. The kids took to the water like little fishes and the lifeguards are attentive. If it's not raining, we head to the pool every afternoon loaded down with snacks of course.

On rainy days we watch movies. I've made it my mission to show the kids all the good movies from my own childhood. Last week it rained every.single.day but it gave us an opportunity to watch 'Back to the Future' 'The Princess Bride' and even 'The Sandlot'. They also have fallen in love with "Hey Arnold". We bought a family pass to Moody Gardens, which is resort/park in Galveston. It has three Pyramids, one is a Rainforest, one is an Aquarium, and the other is a Museum and has a 3D and 4D movie theater as well as a "Beach" with imported soft sand, a water playground, a zero entry wave pool and a lazy river. The first time we went we did the Rainforest and Aquarium. Last weekend we tried out the Beach. While it started storming two hours in, we had a lot of fun before we got banished from enjoying the beach due to lightning.
Today we took to exploring a nearby Nature Center that has a 1 mile walking trail. We saw lots of rollie-pollies, ladybugs, slugs, birds, two snakes, toads, a slew of butterflies, snails, palms and cacti. It was hot (93 degrees when we started) so there was plenty of whining (both heat and snake induced) but afterward they all admitted that it was a lot of fun.

With the boys all being in school come August, Maggie and I are keeping an eye out for fun things to do just the two of us. I mentioned above that I had started working out and I'm now up to walking/jogging anywhere from 1-6 miles a day (usually treadmill in the morning and outdoors in the evenings but that's dependent on weather). I can even run an entire mile, in 11:22 seconds. I realize that is a jog to most but I am really proud of myself as I have never ran an entire mile without walking until now, at age 30. I just ordered a jogging stroller so that Maggie and I can go on walks/runs in the mornings after dropping the boys off at school this fall. She is really excited to go with me and while I wouldn't have thought I would ever buy a jogging stroller for a 3.5 year old, she is still really petite and I know she isn't in anyway up to walking 4 miles. After a great recommendation from Amy and prior knowledge with them from Hollie, we went with a BOB. I'm stalking the FedEx man I'm so eager for it to arrive!

My doctor gave me the okay to workout the second week of March and since then, I have. I walk at least 10,000 steps everyday (love the fitbit) and then mix in yoga, the shread dvd and using the stability ball as well at least 3 times a week. I've never been one who likes exercising but I really do find myself enjoying it and I love that ''me'' time. I love being outside more, I feel myself getting stronger and I've lost 11lbs without using any pills, shakes, vitamins, etc. I don't want to diet, I want to have a healthy lifestyle, be here for my kids and set a good example.  So the evenings that I used to spend sitting at the computer eating oreos, surfing pinterest and blogging...I no longer have time for. I'm usually exhausted by 10pm! So while there has a been a significant lack of blogging, that's only because we're busy living life (don't worry I'm still busy eating oreo's too!).