Saturday, August 30, 2008

Growing by Leaps and Bounds!

Today was yet another milestone in our household. My little boy caught some air as he jumped off the high dive at our neighborhood pool for the first time tonight. There were very few people there, as a matter of fact, as soon as we got there, Monkey no sooner jumped into the pool than the manager called everyone out of the water due to lightning. Monkey was none too happy. Thankfully we had the bike in the back of the van. We practiced riding around the parking lot of the church next door.

When the half hour was up the Monkster went straight to the low dive and jumped off several times. After about his 6th time it was suggested that he jump off the high dive. After making a quick trip to the bathroom to tinkle - i'm guessing it was nerves - he came right back to the high dive, climbed the ladder, and without even looking back he jumped straight off, came back up to the top, and with the biggest grin I've seen on his face exclaimed, "That was totally Awesome." Thankfully, I took the camera up there tonight to capture some end of summer memories. So I'd love to share - if you'd like to take a look.

At the end of the night the Monkey decided he wanted to ride his bike home. Jeremy pulled Chopsy in the wagon while the Monkeyman rode his bike all the way home. He's getting so big. What a fun night!

My luggage found me.

It's clear that school has started for me. I haven't had the energy to post in a few days, trying to get back into the routine of waking up before the sun, having quiet time, getting showered and ready and heading off to school to start my first job. It's funny that the only time I notice the bags under my eyes is when I'm in school. My eyes looked fresh and young up until Thursday morning when I woke up and found an extra set of luggage right there above my cheekbones. I don't even know how they got there. Apparently I had lost my luggage for the summer, which in this case is not a bad thing at all.

The first week is now over and the family is looking forward to a long weekend. We already have plans to go to the pool for one last summer day. Monkey has been begging to go every day this week. It just hasn't happened with trying to ready my classroom for Tuesday, and Jeremy's work schedule. So this will be a wet weekend, going to the pool, having fun, and spending those last few carefree days off making summer memories that will hopefully hold us until May.

From here May seems like a lifetime away. I know that it will be here before you know it, but for one who adores summer.... one who can't get enough of it... the days will pass with anticipation until April's spring days blossom into the longer, warmer, lazy days of summer. (I know that May doesn't really count a summer month, but when you're a teacher - it's close enough!)

Okay enough blogging - I need to go mow the lawn. That's one thing I'm actually looking forward to... not having to mow. Here's to a cool winter!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Breather

Today was a much better day than yesterday. I feel like I can breathe again... praise the LORD. Day two of morning prayer and Bible study over my day, year, family, children, and friends was completed again. I am really enjoying my quiet time with just me and Jesus. It reminds me how rushed I am during the day having to run to work, accomplish things there, run home, make dinner, settle disputes, go back to making dinner, fix toys, finish making dinner, make sure hands are washed, get everyone to sit down for dinner, make sure they eat dinner, give baths, clear dishes, clean up dishes, read stories, brush teeth, change diapers, say prayers, put kids to bed, and then I might get some time to relax if I don't have any work from school to accomplish. Whoo! I like starting my day with my Lord. It's quiet. I can sit and listen. When I am so busy running around doing stuff I can't listen. It's impossible. I'm not focused on what He wants to say to me. I'm too busy. Too hurried. Too rushed.

After dinner tonight, we took the boys to practice bike riding skills. This is not something that has come easy to Monkey at all. He has problems with motor planning. When his body has to make certain movements that are unfamiliar he either shuts down or has a real hard time accomplishing the task. Tonight we rode into a cul de sac down the street to practice. HE DID GREAT! I was so proud of him. We were out for almost 1/2 hour, just riding. We had to ride home because it was getting dark. I, of course, took the camera to document the monumentous occasion.

If you didn't notice I added an HTML to the blog. It's for the movie Fireproof. I hadn't ever heard about it until today. Kirk Cameron is in it. It looks really good. Check out the trailer. You can view it here.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Last real day of summer

Okay - the count down is over. This is the last official day of summer for me. So with every ounce of gusto we had we packed the boys, the cooler, the sunscreen, the towels, the swimsuits, and of course several snacks and headed out for Ocean Breeze Water Park. At the big Monkey's request we made a family day of it. Jeremy took off work and we left as soon as we dropped our furry beast off for a day of pampering at the local doggie spa.

We came home waterlogged. Chopsy was exhausted and was falling asleep in the stroller. The only thing that kept him from falling asleep in the car was the desire for food. He loved the pirate ship and water slides. He was not so keen on the wave pool, but tried to do it on his own terms.

The big Monkey, on the other hand, went on everything that his height would allow. He wore a life jacket just like his younger brother, but went on slides with innertubes. Big slides. He even went on slides that I wouldn't have imagined going on at 10 or 12 let alone 4. One of the slides was called the coconut drop. Basically it was a short slide about 10 feet off the water that allowed you to drop into the water from the height of a high dive. Jeremy went down before him and watched his face as he went in. Jeremy described his eyes as wide as saucers - a panic stricken look. His body popped into the water and as soon as his head came up he had a grin as wide as Texas. The first words out of his mouth were "Can we do that again?" " I wanna do that four more times, cuz I'm four years old."
It made for a great family day. We were definitely blessed today by the great time that the Lord provided. All to His glory.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My days are numbered & Happy Birthday Buglips

We are missing a very special occasion in our family. It's our cousin (Buglips's) birthday. He turns four today.... Happy birthday, Bug! We wish we could be there! We love you.

The thought of going back to school/work is looming over my head like a bad dream from which I can't wake up. So to displace the evil thoughts of another school year yesterday we went to have some fun at the zoo. I packed the boys in the car wearing their swim suits so that they could run in the fountains after we saw our sights. We stopped and saw the meerkats, lions, and elephants being fed lunch. Monkeyman laughed at the prairie dog sitting on the bubble in our "Wordless Wednesday" post. Chopsy got to pet a piglet just born a few weeks ago. The little piglet loved the smells on our Chops.

Once we did all of our walking the boys had some fun in the fountains. For a while they were both running all the way around the perimeter of the fountains - running straight through the water. It was really a sight to see.

Thankfully - yesterday and today were much better than Monday and Tuesday. Today we went to the pool for one of the last times this season. It was a picture perfect day... low humidity, sunny, with a bit of a breeze out of the NE. The breeze got to us after being in the water. Monkeyman got a kick out of mom jumping off the diving board. When he went to jump off the board I was holding Chopsy who dropped one of our diving torpedoes into the diving area. I handed Chops off to a friend and told the Monkey to stay in the shallows so I could retrieve our toy. He thought it was the neatest thing to see his mom dive off the board.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Ah... the life of a prairie dog...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Jesus with Skin on

Today was another challenging day... I'm wondering if we are just in a challenging season right now. I awoke early to have a practice ride into work on my bike to see how long it would take. When I returned home an hour later I had the beginnings of a headache. Unfortunately, it grew into a "send me to bed for the remainder of the day" event. I was able to shower and get breakfast into my kids before Jeremy left for work. I laid low while the boys played and antagonized each other. Every time I had to get up from my reclined position my head pounded all the more. I finally relented and turned the tv on for an hour or so of mindless watching until Jeremy could come home, feed them lunch, and put them down for a nap. I was back in bed by 12:30 praying for the pain to subside.

Even though the morning was ugly God was in it. Listen to what He did through a very special person... my husband is very busy at work right now trying to finish deadlines and projects. He didn't have the luxury of dropping his day to come home and care for our kids. He called his mom. She came in while the boys were sleeping. When they woke up she played with them, gave them snacks, read to them, AND brought over dinner so that I wouldn't have to worry about feeding my family in my condition. What's even more amazing is that she wasn't working today. She works at a botanical garden. Because the college kids are going back to school all hands were supposed to be working. They called her out of the blue today and told her to take a day off, that they wouldn't need her. Instead she came over and took care of me by taking care of my boys. This is NO SMALL THING to me. It was huge! What a blessing she is to me. She is definitely Jesus with skin on. Thanks mom. I am blessed to have you in my life.

Monday, August 18, 2008

My Reward

Today has been challenging. I would be remiss to just publish all of our fun exciting times at our house without adding some days that are just down right lousy. Today is one of those days. I am bummed out with the thought of the last week of summer with my boys on my mind. I got Monkeyman's letter about the beginning of preschool today. All of the pre-school meetings are in the morning, open house, Christmas program... they are all at times when I am at work. It really bums me out. My desire has always been to stay home.

To add to the stress of being faced with going back to work my children were less than pleasant when going to the pool today... usually a really fun place for us. The big one had a really difficult time listening and following directions - causing me to make the decision to leave earlier than planned. After this decision I was forced to deal with a temper tantrum and a fight to get him out of the water to the chair where our towels sat waiting. All the while Chopsy was screaming and crying and adding to the general chaos and embarrassment. Oh- how I wanted to spank the living daylights out of my older one, and then curl up in a hole by myself just to get away. The joys of motherhood.

As all of this was going on I was trying to stay composed, praying under my breath for strength from the LORD. I have learned not to pray for patience... that's a certain request for a lesson in it. Now as I sit typing and expressing my frustrations and feelings, the Lord whispers to me and gently reminds me about how many times I regularly disobey Him. How frustrated does He feel after telling me time and time again to do or not do something? Does He weep over my disobedience? My only consolation is that I know that I'm forgiven and have been made a daughter of the King because of Jesus blood and righteousness. So remembering what amazing graces and mercies that have been bestowed on me I will love my precious sons showing them the same mercy and grace. I will press on to attain the prize in Christ Jesus - not looking behind, but striving to reach toward the goal. That goal is to raise children who love the Lord, who are totally devoted to Him while walking in a manner worthy of Christ. I am holding on to that promise. I AM A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE! YOU CAN'T HAVE MY WORD!!!! IT'S MINE!!! I WILL have my 100 fold harvest!!!!

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them." Psalm 127:3-4

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Eight for Eight

History was made tonight. Michael Phelps won his eighth gold medal with help from teammates in the 4x100 Medley Relay (I'm not sure I typed that correctly.) It was truly a race for the history books. Wow!

So what, exactly, do you do after you win 8 Olympic Gold Medals? I guess we'll have to watch and find out.

Congrats Michael Phelps... we are all really proud that you achieved your dream and did so with such grace and sportsmanship!

Now I can finally go back to bed at a normal time! Whew! I've been exhausted!

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Big Cheese & Connections of Olympic Proportions

I did something today that I initially vowed I'd never do upon having kids... we went to Chuckee Cheese. We actually went for a birthday party. Who would have thought eating pizza with a giant rat would have been so much fun for a group of 4 year old kids and their younger siblings.

Of course the boys wanted to play and ride all of the stuff. They also had a giant maze to crawl through, much like the ones you see at chick-fil-a. All I know is that my kids got to play in a safe environment, ate lunch, played some more and came home tired. They had fun with their friends too.
A good time was had by all and Monkeyman got a really sweet gift from the birthday girl. She hand painted frames for all of her friends and Shannon glued the word friendship along with some shapes (ours were dinosaurs) to the frame. It was really sweet. Thanks Shannon. My boys had a blast.

Now to my personal Olympics news ....
I got an email from a friend I grew up with during my teen years yesterday. He and I were lifeguards together back in the day. After we both graduated from college he went into business and was very successful. A few years later he left his lucrative business career to become a teacher of sorts. He went to OSU (GO BUCKS!) to get a degree in sports management while on the side he helped coach a cross country team of a smaller college. He also was very involved in running himself, participating in many triathlons and competitions. After school he moved out to California to coach other distance teams. Along the way having opportunities to compete in Australia and having a life threatening accident due to being hit by a truck while cycling in California during training.

Back to the email... he dropped a line to me and many others to tell us that his job has changed again... he is currently in Beijing coaching the USA Triathletes. He went to the opening ceremonies and got many cool pictures attached below.

How cool is that? My mouth dropped after hearing this. So all of these pictures are from a friend of mine who attended the Opening of the Olympic Games and has a real room and is staying in Olympic village and will do all of the other things that coaches of Olympic teams do. I still can't believe it. You think I should ask him to try to get an autograph from our favorite swimmer????

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Fly

Today has been kind of quiet. I tried once again to wake up at 5:30am to run and pushed the snooze alarm without even realizing it. I slept until 7. Running didn't happen today.

I did have plans, however, to go into school to set up my classroom so that I wouldn't have to worry about set up the first week... there is so much paperwork to do that I will be up to my ears if I don't prepare. I asked one of our babysitters to watch the boys for a few hours (which included naptime) and went to work. When I came home, before I took the sitter home, she put her sunglasses on Chopsy. I had to get a picture.

In other news Cox turned of our internet access. I called them yesterday to find out what was wrong. The guy I talked to said that the company disconnected us. He couldn't tell us why, but gave us a reference number and a new number to call. We called and after 20 minutes of waiting the new guy at the other end said that our computer had a virus and they shut us down to prevent us infecting other computers. The odd thing about this is that we have a Mac. There are very few hackers that create viruses for Mac because the amount of Macs being used compared to PCs are minimal.

Anyway - my hubby had to download a new antivirus software to clean the machine. We still don't know if it's completely fixed. Here's hoping. So if you don't see us around - you can figure that it's due to further computer sickness.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Addictions & Mr. Mischief

Hi, my name is Gretchen and I'm addicted to watching the Olympics. Is there any 12 step program for those of us out there? I'm starting out by admitting that I have a problem. I don't think that our television has ever been on so much. Any time I have a quiet moment I am plugged in to see what's up with any one of many athletes. It doesn't really matter what sport it is, although I have my favorites (swimming, diving, gymnastics, kayaking, etc). I love to watch all of those sports that you don't really get to see on tv much -kayaking, rowing, water polo and a host of others. I could sit for hours, however, my family wouldn't think of it. They need food, clothes, and general mom time.

I figured it would be a good idea to admit my weakness and try to get into a recovery program before I go through the ugly withdrawal period at the end of the 12 days.

There is no reason to wonder why my sister bought Chops a shirt that said Mr. Mischief on the front. He wears it proudly. Here is a example of his brand of mischief. After an adventure of meeting up with friends at a local garden with sprinklers to play in and lunch on the hill to watch planes take off we came home exhausted, and mom, especially, was ready for a good nap. I awoke to the normal call of "MOMMY ......MOMMY" when the little one awakes from his nap. What I found when I opened his door was a total surprise. His crib was empty except for him- which is no unusual thing. He typically throws all of his special things out of the crib when he wakes up. However, on this occasion, he was totally naked. He had taken off his diaper and left a puddle in the crib with a few little drips on the floor and on some special friends. Thankfully, that was all that had happened. I could only imagine the effects if something else had left his system. Oh dear.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Just like dad

This past weekend was a busy one. I spent Saturday trying to pick up around the house and Jeremy mowed. Our grass had grown quite long because of a malfunction with our lawn mower. It wouldn't start. It still hasn't been to the mower doctor. My handy husband was going to attempt to fix it himself with all of his spare time. LOL. So in the mean time friends of ours let us use their mower since they are moving to a place where they don't need to mow.

After nap our Monkey man decided that Dad needed some help. So in his jammies and rain boots he took his mower out to help his dad. It was a good thing to because rain came the very next day. I don't think that Jeremy would've been able to get it done without him.

On a different note, I'm paying the price for staying up past my bedtime last night to watch Michael Phelps and company take the gold medal that was anticipated to go to the French in the 4x100 M relay. Oh - was it sweet. As my best friend said - "if you went to bed before the race you went to early!" (hope I didn't misquote you Heath...). Phelps is swimming again tonight to try for his 3rd gold. Yes, I'll be watching - and probably screaming at our tv thinking that Team USA will hear me cheering all the way over in Beijing. Hopefully it won't wake up my boys!

Sunday, August 10, 2008



So I'm not going to regularly post on Sundays, but I just had to tonight with the Gold Medal win of the US men's 4 X 100M freestyle race. GO USA!!! What a race! Just earlier France decided to talk trash and say that they were going to "smash the Americans". Well Phelps, Lezak, Weber-Gale, and Jones smashed the world record and more importantly beat the French coming from behind for the win. Way to go guys. We are proud of you!!!!

Friday, August 8, 2008


Today is the day we've been waiting for for sometime. It is the beginning of the Summer Olympics held in Beijing. The last time we had a summer Olympics our oldest was just an infant. How I remember that. I was able to watch some during the day while he slept. Now he'll be old enough to watch too and maybe dream big dreams of being a star athlete... doesn't almost every little boy?

This is the only time in our household I wish that we had more than one tv. I could watch the games for hours on end. There is not sport that I don't love to watch, with maybe the exception of boxing. There is nothing like the competition of hard working athletes and the cinderella stories of so many who back in their own countries are poor or have some amazing story of adversity. I love it! GO WORLD!

On a different note, last night we had dinner with the couple who are leaving in a few days to start a new adventure. We had a great time of fellowship and discussion before Mike, Shannon, and the girls go off to start their new adventure at a large university on the other side of the state. What is a Hokie anyway?

Lastly, today our big Monkey, who should be nicknamed Tadpole instead of Monkey for all of the swimming he does(you'd think he had gills) got his haircut on the back stoop. I'm always amazed at how grown he looks after a buzz cut. Here are a few photos to document an inexpensive buzz cut on the back stoop. It's the 3rd one we've given him. I love to rub on it after it's been cut - just like I used to do to my dad after he got his hair cut.

Happy Weekend! Enjoy the Games.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Only A Bit More Grace

Today we had one last day of summer fun with our friends. Sadly for us, they are moving on the 17th of August so that Mike can go to school far away on the other side of the state. Unfortunately for us, he's decided to take his family with him. Shannon and the girls came over for a quick lunch and then we were off to the pool. We spent a few hours splashing around and having fun before the reality of their move sets in on all of us. They will be greatly missed.

On a lighter note - I was away this weekend for a great retreat with my best friend (the one who got me started on this crazy blogging fad) and her mom. I stayed at one of my most favorite places on Earth. I am convinced that God helped in the design and location of this place because it is truly heaven on Earth...the company is great, too. I was surrounded by trees and flowers, fresh air and wildlife of all kinds. I even saw a few deer (young and old) a few feet away FROM THE HOUSE. How many people can say that they have deer at their back window. The location is affectionately called CAMP GRANDMOM. It was a great getaway for the weekend where a girl can breathe and slow down enough to hear the Lord speaking AND be able to process the message. It's harder to do when you have a house to keep up, dinner to make, and two kids wanting your undivided attention. What a blessing.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Hi. Today is the first day of my feeble attempt at blogging. I was strongly urged by my best friend to start (thanks Heather) - to use it as a scrapbook of sorts to keep track of what's going on in our lives, and to be able to share it with other family members and friends. Hopefully it will not only keep others up to date with what's happening with us, but will also remind me of how God has richly blessed our family. May our lives be a testimony of His goodness and faithfulness. All to His glory.