Saturday, August 30

Winding down our summer

Friday, very early, we made a test run through our start of school schedule. Other than forgetting to allow time to make and pack lunch and a healthy snack, we did fine. I just *know* I'll forget that!!

Later in the afternoon, we went for a game of bowling. Lots of fun! I won with a massive score of 89! And yes, that's with bumpers. Amazing folks, just amazing.

Today, Saturday, my inlaws came to town. While Gene watched the boys, Dot & I went to Great Lakes Crossing to enjoy about 5 hours of shopping! We tried on coats that neither of us bought, looked in tons of stores where we bought nothing and just plain enjoyed each other's company. Good times.

For dinner, Gene brought the boys up to GLC for dinner at The Rainforest Cafe. We even ran into my bestest friend Tiffany and her family there! The boys really enjoyed the place and Payton loved his Papa Gene for allowing him to have a 32oz ICEE and a HUGE dessert. God bless the grandparents.

After a nice dinner, Tiffany and I and our familes went to the MPA (that's Mall Play Area for you non-parents) and let the kids run out what energy they had left before heading home to put everyone to bed.

(If you look you can see Maxwell trying to get in the picture to the right of Nate.)

It's been a good weekend so far. I hope tomorrow is just as great and Monday too. Tuesday is the start of a whole new world for us.

Thursday, August 28

Too Grown Up

Today, was the last day for playgroup as we've known it for the last 4 years.

Back in May of 2004, a few moms got together for a one time playdate. Or so we thought. Little did we know that we would soon become a group of moms who met on a weekly basis to hang out and talk while our kids played.

We've met just about once a week for every week for the last four years. We've watched the kids grow into little people and big siblings. We've talked preschool, temper tantrums, eating issues, sleeping issues, pooping issues...everything! We've watched these little ones become friends and at time enemies.

Now our little babes are starting kindergarten. Our groups will have to meet in the evening when the kiddos are home from school. It won't be weekly. Maybe not even bi-weekly. I'm sure the kids will miss their times together. But what a great four years it's been for them!!

Tuesday, August 26

K-K-K...Kindergarten *sob*

O.k., so I'm not sobbing, but it is hard to believe that in one week, my little baby boy will be starting kindergarten. So hard to believe.

Tonight we had his school orientation. He'll be attending a National Heritage Academy about 3.5 miles from our house. It's a charter school that focuses strongly on morals, values and pillars of good citizenship. He'll be attending full day, which is a BIG change for us. We've been afternoon preschooler for two years.

The school put on a great program tonight. It started with a "scavenger hunt" to find the music, art and media rooms. The final stop was his teacher's room where Payton finally got to meet her; Ms. McCoy. She's a second year teacher who seems to really "get" kindergarten. She has a lot of great ideas and I think that she will be a great match for Payton.

After that, we spent about 10 minutes in her class before the parents left the kids in her care and we headed out to have a meeting about school procedures and the arrival/dismissal parking situation. Wow. That will be a challenge!!!

Finally, we completed our evening with dinner. The students ate pizza with their teachers while the parents ate burgers and hot dogs with the rest of the staff. It really was a great night. We got to see the staff that knows us by name and were so happy to see us. I think we have a GREAT year ahead of us.

Payton & Ms. McCoy, his teacher ------------------------------- Payton & Ms. Dowker, his principal

Monday, August 25

Pictures from our travels

Maxwell didn't like the water
Maxwell & cousin, Sarah

Payton & cousins, Sarah & Brittney

The boys & their cousins; Spencer, Brittney & Sarah

My mom & Payton

Uncle Damon holding Max, Stephanie holding Payton & Uncle Jason

Papa Bear & Gmaw, Payton & Max

Tales of Travel Time

My last post descriped the first half of my week away, the last half was more of the same. More shopping (gosh, I love to shop) and spending time with family.

We went to a Cleveland Indians game with my parents, two of my three brothers and my little brother's girlfriend, Stephanie. Thankfully, the game was fast moving and over fairly quickly. The boys did well and we changed them into pjs in the parking garage before heading home. It was a good adventure for them.

More shopping, more eating, more fun and family.

Friday, I packed up the boys and dropped them in Toledo with my inlaws before driving the rest of the way back home. I had a great night Friday with two of my dearest friends. Nothing can compare to time with people who really "GET" you!

Saturday, Matt and worked long and hard at repairing the fence that our dog has been trying to get under. It was a feat, but with great results. We need to put a new gate on it, but the fence itself looks 100% better! And we did it without arguing or complaining (too much).

We rewarded ourselves by heading into Mt. Clemens for the "Bath City Festival" where we had dinner at Luigi's Downtown. It was alright. I've had better food and service, so I don't think we'll be going back. After, we shared an ice cream cone and watched the fireworks. When that was over, we decided to wander around for awhile until it started to rain and we found a place called "Fritti's" to seek cover. Upstairs in the loft, was a great local acoustic band that we listened to for a couple of hours while waiting for the rain to pass.

It didn't pass. When we were finally really ready to leave, we got caught in another downpour and I ended up running through the streets barefoot to our car. My sandals were not made to get wet and were very slippery. It was a fun end to our night.

Sunday, we went to Great Lakes Crossing to finish up Payton's school uniform (which I ended up returning most of it today..ugh. This kid is so hard to fit!). Matt decided to make a big purchase and bought me a ring to replace the engagement ring I lost (twice) before we got married. I love it and it means a lot to me that he wanted to do it, not just because I asked him to.

From there, we went to meet Matt's parents to get the boys.

Today, we hung out with friends for a "back to school" playdate. Probably our last until October. It's so sad that our kids are going to be at school full really changes my social schedule.

The rest of this week is more of the same....

I'm still here

I'm here and I'm around, I've just been incredibly busy since my last post.
Berea, Ohio; Toledo, Ohio; back to Michigan.
Great times with family, friends and loved ones.
I'll update soon and post pictures of our travels.
It might be a bit starts a week from Tuesday and we're finishing up getting ready...

Tuesday, August 19

Ohio Again

We're back in Ohio. We spent the weekend with my inlaws in Toledo and then came to Berea to my parents' home yesterday.

Saturday, we went straight to my father-in-law's family cottage. It's a great home on Lake Erie with a beach and a great little beach house that is all glass and sits on the beach. The boys had a GREAT time playing with their cousins, closer and more extended family both, while I enjoy Matt's cousins and aunts and uncles. We went to Dot & Gene's home on Saturday night.

Sunday, we met some of the family from the day before at the Toledo Zoo. It is BY FAR my favorite zoo. Everything is so well landscaped and beautiful. We had a fabulous day, albeit hot, before heading to Payton's favorite restaurant for dinner; Bob Evans.

Monday, I did some shopping and then picked up the boys and decided to take them to mine and Matt's Alma Mater; University of Toledo. It was very cool to show the boys around and let them see where we went to school. Payton was very interested in the college and what happened in each building. He asked tons of questions. I showed him all around campus, my dorms and in the student union.

Payton told me that he wants to go there to "be taught". I told him that would be fine. I suggested he may be able to live with Papa Gene and Grandma when he went to college. He told me that he wanted to live on campus his first year. I told him we'll see, but after that he may have to live with his grandparents. He then told me,

"I don't think so mommy. I think I'll find an apartment off campus."
Why am I discussing college living situations with my five-year-old??
After a few pictures by the fountain and college seal, we loaded up and got underway to Berea. We arrived around 4pm and settled in for a bit before heading to Red Lobster for my birthday dinner.
Today, we've been running to Lowe's and Home Depot making decisions for my parents' bathroom remodel. It will be started next week, so by our next trip out, we'll have a new bath to use!!! WOOHOO!!
This afternoon, we'll be doing so shopping for school clothes for Payton (God bless the person who deemed uniforms necessary! so much less to worry about!). Then we'll be having dinner with my parents and spending another relaxing night watching well built men and women do amazing athletic activities (aka, the Olympics).
I can't post pictures from here, so I'll do one post when we get home. Sorry! Use your imaginations!

Saturday, August 16

Date Night!!!!!!!

Matt and I haven't had a date in a L O N G time. I think it's been almost a year since we've been out without friends or someone else along. Tonight was finally OUR night. I'm so very glad that we did it. And that we did it alone. It forced us to have time just the two of us. I even did a special hairdo for Matt. He really likes it when I straighten my hair, so I surprised him.

First, we had a GREAT dinner at Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant. Matt had never been there, but really enjoyed the experience. AND, they offer a 1/2 price military discount! GREAT deal! Here are a few pictures I took tonight. (Yes, it's my version of Matt Logelin. No, my camera's not as great as his.)

Then we went to see the new Batman movie. We really both liked it. Then we met Rachel and Bob for drinks.

Definitely the best night we've had in a really long time. I think it renewed some interest and some connection with each other that we haven't had in a long time. Definitely a much needed and VERY much appreciated night!!!

Thursday, August 14

My Birthday

Today, I turned 29 years old. I spent it with my two greatest loves and biggest accomplishments, MY BOYS! Payton gave me this:

It's the Polish Birthday Song

Matt had to work today and left early this morning. The boys and I played most of the morning away and tried to figure out if we should keep the dog or kill her. She made her own doggie door last night while I was at the gym.

We decided to give her one more chance. She better not blow this!!

Anyway, back to MY day. Max ate like a big at lunch and then napped for 3.5 hours!!! In the mean time, I made a few phone calls and then I played Mario Kart on the Wii for 1.5 hours with my kid. We did some coloring afterwards and played with the dog.

I had an appointment with a GREAT sales rep at Verizon who let me trade in my phone early. He said it was because it was my birthday. I think he really just wanted me to leave him alone. LOL But whatever it was, I got my new phone and we headed up to a friend's house.

My very good friend, Angie, offered to make me and my boys dinner for my birthday. So very sweet of her! She made a delicious meal of sausages, potatoes and carrots in this foil packet with lots of butter and spices. So yummy! Then for dessert she made a cherry crumb cake. She even got me a little package of stationary. We had a great night talking about our kids and our lives.

Now I'm home, the kids are in bed, I'm beat and I'm heading to bed. Thank you to everyone who called or texted me on my birthday to with me a happy day and sing to me. It means so much.

Wednesday, August 13

Let That Be Enough

I'm not one to quote lyrics. And I'm not one to talk religion much, but this song, by Switchfoot and Jars of Clay, speaks very strongly to me right now. Coincidentally, it IS the day before my birthday and my birthday DOES fall on a Thursday this year, but 29, not 22.

Click here to hear the song
Let That Be Enough
I wish I had what I needed
To be on my own
'Cause I feel so defeated
And I'm feeling alone

And it all seems so helpless
And I have no plans
I'm a plane in the sunset
With nowhere to land

And all I see
It could never make me happy
And all my sand castles
Spend their time collapsing

Let me know that
You hear me
Let me know Your touch
Let me know that You love me
Let that be enough

It's my birthday tomorrow
No one here could know
I was born this Thursday
22 years ago

And I feel stuck watching history repeating
Yeah, who am I? Just a kid who knows he's needy

Let me know that You hear me
Let me know Your touch
Let me know that You love me
And let that be enough

Let me know that You hear me
Let me know Your touch
Let me know that You love me
And let that be enough

Tuesday, August 12

Reflecting on Summer Beauty

In the spring, I planted some "wildflower seed mix", "sunflower seed mix" and some "cut bouquet flower seeds" behind all my marigolds and zinnias in our front beds. I wasn't sure what was weed and what was flower when they were coming up, but now, there's no doubt. This lil' beauty is one of two blooming and I have about a dozen more that will bloom soon!

I'm always amazed at what can come from such little work and effort with just the right amount of sun and water. It's kind of like my kids. I'm never sure if I'm messing them up or helping them. It's not until Maxwell uses a new sign that I've been teaching him or until Payton finally GETS how to read that I see the results of my labor. The "sun" and "water" I provide will hopefully give them deep roots to help them get through life.

Monday, August 11

Family Time

Matt brought the boys home from Ohio last night around 7pm. Payton was so happy to see me that he couldn't stop telling me he loved me and he'd missed me. All night long. It was great. When we put him to bed, he even asked me to lay with him for five minutes so he could cuddle. He never does that. It's so nice to have him home.

This morning when we all got up, we decided to take a family zoo trip. Our first this year. Family time was needed. And more is still needed. Here are the pictures from today.

Sunday, August 10

Gone to the dogs

Ya'll know that Payton's at my parents. To see what he's been up to, see my dad's blog. (Feel free to comment there.) He's been having a great time. Matt had military in Toledo, OH this weekend and he took Maxwell there to see his parents. So I've been virtually alone this weekend, sans our newest family member, Missy.

She's doing pretty good around here. She has had a few potty accidents, but for the most part, is pretty well potty trained. She LOVES people and even the boys. They climb and play all over her. She loves to be run, but I just can't run her as fast as she likes to go, so we take long walks almost everyday.

Today, I decided to be brave. I took her to Mt. Clemens Dog Park. I was a bit hesitant and it probably showed. I just wasn't sure she'd ever been around other dogs or how she would react.

We stood outside the fence and watched the fifteen or so other dogs for about five minutes. It was a bit intimidating. She sniffed at a few dogs through the fence and seemed ok. Maybe she could do this. Maybe I could do this. "Be assertive calm. Act like this is your yard." I can hear Cesar Millan in my head. I led her in on her leash. "Calm. Assertive. This is your yard. Be the pack leader."

Missy seemed to be doing fine. A lil' pup came up and sniffed her and she was fine with that. Then a larger dog. Ok. She seems cool with this whole thing. I take the leash off. It's like the other dogs could smell fresh meat. Within five minutes she was being barked at and chased down. Kind of scary to see eight large dogs chasing your dog around in circles.

The novelty wore of after a few minutes. I could tell she didn't like being the chase-ee. We took a walk around the fence while she calmed down. I got her a bowl of water and she rested a bit. Her lil' pup friend, who I learned is "Peanut", came back to see how she was. The two sniffed awhile and Missy decided she was alright enough.

That didn't last long. Soon it wasn't just "Peanut". No, it became "Jack", "Sam", "Betty", "Brutus", "Mark" and "Snowcone". That was too much for my Missy. Turns out that the brute of the bunch really is Brutus. He takes a snap at her and before I know it Missy's pinned to the ground and can't get up because there are too many dogs around her. They smell her fear.

Luckily, a few other owners and I all stepped in at the same time and saved poor Missy from certain demise. I took her back to our corner and got her calmed down again. I could tell she wanted to stay and play, but she was really scared of Brutus. Brutus' owner was embarrassed by his snapping and behaviour, apologized and left the park.

Maybe this would work after all. A very kind lady came and introduced her dogs to us and we made friends with Lucky and Maggie. Both were very large dogs, but had calm demeanors and Missy seemed ok with them. It started to rain and we headed into the shelter.

The park cleared out in the rain and only a few of us remained. It was nice to talk and get to know the other pet owners a bit. I realize now that I don't know their names, only those of their pets. And they knew each other, but only their pets' names. Very odd. But the owners of "Lucky", "Maggie", "Missy", "Sash", "Blondie", "Spirit", "Sam" and "Rusty" sat and talked about our pets, about "Bark at the Park" and about other dog owners who had left. Turns out, Missy hasn't been Brutus' only victim.

While we owners talked, the pups formed a nice bond. They chased each other, balls and climbed on picnic tables and HUGE tires. I think she really likes "Rusty", "Blondie" and "Maggie" the best.

The park was great. Lots of places to run and play. Tons of toys there. VERY clean and everyone picks up after their pups. And very nice people. And some pretty cool dogs too. I think we'll go back very soon.