Home from the never ending vacation!

Part 1!

Our whirlwind summer is halfway over! We managed to move out of the condo and in to our house without too much craziness. We got the keys on a Thursday, and we got a U-Haul that Saturday. Joe and I dropped the kids off at Lin’s house, and picked up the truck and met the movers at our condo. They were super fast! We had the truck loaded, driven over to the new house, and unpacked in about an hour and a half. Joe and I had to make another trip to the condo on our own to load up another truck full, but the movers had taken care of all the big furniture (even having to lower our sofa over the balcony with nothing but their hands). We unloaded the truck, returned the U-Haul, and had a lot of our furniture assembled before we picked up the kids at dinner time. We couldn’t have done it without Lin and Brennan’s help, the kids had so much fun with them and we didn’t have to worry about them.

Our first night in the house went really well! Luke cried for a while because he wasn’t used to having his own room, but Virginia was so excited! When I tucked her in, she told me, “My room is so cool Mom!” I was determined to have the house as settled as possible before we went on vacation, and I managed to empty all the boxes by Tuesday! The kitchen was pretty tricky to organize, we have less cabinets than I was used to, but I made it work! Luckily the garage had extra cabinets for storing all my random gadgets! Everything else was pretty easy to set up!

Our trip to Nashville wasn’t too bad. We didn’t have to leave for the airport until about 10 am, so we didn’t have to rush. The kids were great getting through the airport, the lines moved pretty quick checking our bags and getting through security. Virginia was perfect on the flight, but Luke threw a few fits because he didn’t want to stay in our aisle. He didn’t sleep very long, but we made it! We got to the farm and got settled, but the next morning we got up and hit the road to Charlotte! The kids were awesome on the drive, Luke slept a good part of the way and Virginia was happy. She’s definitely our star traveler! We got to see Cindy, Rick, Nana B., Tim, Jean, Gracie, and Matt and a bunch of other people right after we got to our hotel.

The hotel was really nice, and the first night we had a king suite. Joe and I had our own bedroom and the kids slept in the living room, so that was nice! On Friday Virginia and I went to the bridal luncheon at the Duke mansion. Virginia was so happy that she was included, and she was really well behaved. During lunch, everyone went around and told how they met Gracie, and everyone had such sweet stories. I felt lucky that I was included! The rehearsal was at the church that afternoon, and the dinner was later in a happening part of town. The kids and I couldn’t stay long at the dinner, it started at 7 and we left at about 7:50 to go pick up my dad. Luckily we were able to eat some food before we left, and Joe stayed to hang out with everyone. The kids were super excited to see their Granddaddy!

Saturday morning it was fun to see everyone down getting breakfast together at the hotel. Virginia was so excited for the wedding! I had to shower and eat quick, because I had the first time slot to get my hair done. The makeup/hair lady was really nice, she did a great job on my hair! I was pretty impressed with how calm Gracie and Cindy were, everyone was so excited and didn’t seem stressed! I spent the day going in and out of the bridal suite, watching the girls get their hair and make up done. Joe and I took my dad and the kids to lunch, but we were all just kind of hanging out around the hotel visiting with people. The kids took a pretty good nap, and then we had to get ready to go the church. Joe went with all the groomsman to get ready, so my dad kept Luke to take him to the church closer to the wedding. Virginia and I went to the bridal suite and watched Gracie and Cindy finish getting ready.

A limo bus took us all to the church. The ride over was so fun, Virginia was on cloud nine being with all of us. Gracie was so happy and so excited, and she looked so beautiful! We got Virginia dressed at the church, and she looked adorable. At the church we took a few pictures, and then it was time for the ceremony! I was the third bridesmaid in line, I was so nervous walking down the aisle! It was so long, and there were so many people! Virginia walked down the aisle holding hands with Jordis and Audrey, they looked so pretty!

When Gracie and Rick walked down the aisle I almost cried! Gracie was so pretty, and when I looked at Matt he looked so happy! The ceremony was beautiful, not too long. Virginia was a little fidgety, but nothing noticeable. My dad was in the back of the church with Luke, and I could hear him make a few little peeps, but he was quiet enough to stay for the whole service. After the ceremony, Joe and I got to walk down the aisle together, so that was really sweet! We took some family photos, and then my dad took the kids over to the country club. Joe and I rode with the bridal party in the limo bus. They had drinks on the bus, and Matt’s little brother was playing music. It was so much fun, everyone was so happy!

We took some group photos at the club, and then we were stuck in a little room during cocktail hour so the guests couldn’t get to us. After Gracie and Matt took their photos, the bridal party was announced and we went into the reception. Gracie and Matt had their first dance, which was amazing. They’d taken lessons, and it was so impressive! Rick gave a beautiful speech which made me tear up. Joe and I sat at a table with my dad, the kids, Tim, Jean, and the girls. The buffet dinner was amazing, the kids even ate a bunch! After they’d eaten, Cindy took Virginia around to visit with some people, but it was getting late so my dad took the kids back to the hotel. I wish they could have stayed longer and danced, but it was already past 8 and they were exhausted.

Joe and I visited with people, the place was packed! There was a very loud live band, so we spent a lot of time outside. We almost missed them cutting the cake, but got inside just in time. We did a little dancing, but my feet were killing me in the stupid new heels I was wearing. Gracie got on stage and sang a song, she was pretty good! It went by really fast, and all of a sudden it was time for their big send off. Everyone waved them off as they got into a super cute old timey car with a drive to take them away. Joe and I didn’t get back to our hotel until about midnight! Poor Joe had to leave at about 5 the next morning to get to their airport. He took a flight with two layovers to get back to Seattle so he could make it work on Monday. My dad was a great help driving back from Charlotte. The kids were great during the car ride, but it’s always nice to have another adult for an extra pair of hands!

We made it to the farm in the afternoon and the kids were so happy to be able to run free! I’ll finish this extremely long post at another time, because it is 10 pm and I’m sleepy!

 

So busy!

We’ve had a lot of good news lately, mixed with some sad! We got our rental house, and Mike found a new tenant to move in right after we leave in June. Since he already has a new tenant lined up, we don’t owe him rent for July (which is when our lease is up) and he might actually prorate our rent for June, which would mean we get some money back.

Virginia was on a wait list for a preschool slot at the Elementary school by our house, but it was going to be a long shot that she would actually get a morning slot. I called around, and we were able to tour St. John’s Preschool in Kirkland. We loved it, and they had a spot for Virginia in the Fall! So we signed her up, and are so glad that she has a place to go in September! It’s a little church preschool, with three classrooms. They have a nice playground, and the rooms were full of fun activity centers. They go on four field trips during the year. I think she is really going to love it! When it was time to go home after our tour, Virginia told me, “I’ll miss you Mom, but I’m going to stay and make new friends!” I told her she will make friends in September!

Joe and I paid off my Scion early! That way we have an extra $250 a month from the car payment, and we’ll save a little on insurance as well. I’m excited to only have one small car payment from now on! I’m interested to see what our budget looks like after a few months in the new house. I know electricity and water will be more than we’re used to, and I think we also have to pay for trash/sewage. Plus the rent is almost $900 more than what we currently pay!

I went to Newport last weekend to see Molly graduate from Salve Regina. I couldn’t believe how beautiful Newport and her campus are! Molly lived in a big house with views of the water, right near campus and walking distance to a ton of cool shops and restaurants. She had five roommates, and they all graduated together on Sunday. It was nice to see my parents, and Rebecca, Carol, Jeri, Jack, Lisa, and Neil were also there. Uncle Rick and Phil came to Molly’s graduation party after the ceremony on Sunday. We had a ton of food, and two of Molly’s roommates families also came to the house. It was a really busy weekend, and I didn’t sleep much, but it was really fun. It was so nice to spend time with Molly in the place that she has lived for the past four years.

We get the keys in a few days, and will have two days to move over little things before we rent our U-haul. I have about 1/3 of the house packed up, and plan to get more done over the long weekend. I’m so ready to be in a big house, the kids are going to love playing in the backyard whenever they want!

While we have been very busy, but very fortunate in the past few weeks, both Cindy and Rick’s fathers health has been declining. We were pretty worried about both of them, and Papa Charlie passed away yesterday morning. Rick called me and I made sure Joe got a hold of him. I feel so bad for Rick, and for Nana, and their whole family. Charles had been going downhill for a while though, so hopefully they will have a little peace knowing he isn’t in pain anymore. It’s just a stressful time for all of them, with Gracie’s wedding only two weeks away! Everyone has a lot on their plates right now!

My dad called me this morning to let me know that my great aunt Jean passed away. She was 88 and had been declining as well recently. She’d lived in a nursing home that past two years, but we used to visit her at her house in Columbia over the years and we always thought it was so neat! She had a ton of old games like Battleship in the basement, and we loved looking around her old house. She always made chili and sweat tea when we visited, even though me and the girls were too picky to appreciate it! She made a lemon pound cake that my mom always loved! I hadn’t seen her in a few years, but she got to meet Virginia on a trip home once and thought she was very sweet!

Joe isn’t going to fly home for Papa Charlie’s funeral, seeing as it’s a holiday weekend it would be really expensive, and we’ll all be home in two weeks to see everyone. Rick, Cindy, Gracie, and Tim and his family are all with Nana right now, I hope she is doing as best as she can be.

We’ve got a busy few weeks ahead, but I’m looking forward to getting settled into our house and getting back to Tennessee. Virginia has really amazed me lately with how smart she is! She has my entire phone number memorized, and can spell Mickey Mouse (because they spell it during the show’s theme song). She stopped wearing Pull Up’s at night a few weeks ago, she’s a real big girl now! Luke says “yeah” or “nah” if you ask him a question. He climbs on everything!

We got a house!!!

(We didn’t buy a house, if that had happened, there would have been a previous entry about us winning the lottery). We were incredibly lucky/in the right place at the right time, and are signing a lease on an amazing home! We went to the open house on Sunday, and we loved it so much that we turned the application in right then and there! We weren’t sure what our chances were to actually get it, I’ve heard horror stories about people putting in tons of applications to get a rental! The agent called us Monday evening and said that they’d started running our application and that we were the first choice to get the house! After being stressed out and waiting anxiously, the agent called us back Wednesday evening to tell us we got it! We get the keys on June 1st!

The house is on a cute cul-de-sac, with a two car garage! There is a play room, living room, dining room, and the kitchen is open with views to the living room and has windows that look on to the big back yard! There is a half bath and a full sized washer and dryer downstairs as well. Upstairs there are three bedrooms, a full sized hall bathroom for the kids, and the master has a walk in closet and master bathroom!

The backyard is a really great size, with room for a play set and the kids to run around. There is a really big deck, I’ve already picked out a patio table so we can eat outside when it is nice out! (I’ve also picked out a little pool and a water table for the kids, but Joe thinks I’m going overboard seeing as we haven’t even moved in).

I’ve been de-cluttering the house, giving things to friends and Goodwill. I’m trying to use up all the food in our fridge/freezer and pantry. The less we have to move the better! I’m going to pack as much as I can as soon as possible. Next week Joe is going to LA for a few days for a Destiny 2 event, and then I’m flying to Newport for Molly’s graduation from Salve Regina next weekend, so I won’t get anything done then. It’s going to be a busy few weeks, getting the condo ready, moving to the new house, and then we’re all going to Nashville!

I’m so excited to not have neighbors all around us. As I type this, our upstairs neighbors are watching an action movie very loudly. Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. Joe brought home flowers last night for me, and I think he has something to give me tomorrow! He spoils me!

 

Perfect Banana Bread!

I’ve made a few different versions of banana bread since being married to Joe. The kids love bananas, so we have them on hand frequently. They also love to say they want bananas, only to decide they only want to eat blueberries instead. I love that I don’t have to waste bananas when they get too ripe! Sometimes I make a cinnamon streusel topping, but I found a recipe the other day and it was pretty great!

It was a sour cream banana bread recipe I found on Pinterest. I’m usually wary of altering baking recipes before I’ve tried them, but I made some changes and was so happy with how it turned out! Instead of a loaf, I decided to make muffins (the kids love muffins). I’m saving this so I know to make it again!

SOUR CREAM BANANA BREAD

YIELD: 1 loave or 18-20 muffins

PREP TIME: 10 minutes

COOK TIME: 50 minutes or 25 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup), softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 3)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9 inch loaf pan or line/grease muffin tins.
  2. In a large bowl (or stand mixer), cream the butter with both sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix well.
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in another bowl. Combine with the butter mixture.
  4. Add the sour cream, bananas, and vanilla, stir well.
  5. Pour into pans and bake for 50 minutes (for the loaf) or about 25 minutes (for the muffins).

*I sprinkled cinnamon sugar on top of some of the muffins, which the kids and I think make them extra delicious!

The muffins were a big hit! Luke can eat two in one sitting if I let him (or if Virginia licks the sugar off her muffin and hands it to Luke to finish…)

Weekend in Phoenix!

I went to Phoenix last weekend for Gracie’s bachelorette weekend, and I had a blast! I was flying standby, so of course I missed the non-stop flight I had hoped to catch. I got to the airport at the crack of dawn and missed the flight I wanted by one seat. So it goes! I got the next flight out and had to change planes in Oakland, CA. I wasn’t expecting it, but at least I got to see the Golden Gate Bridge from the sky! (It was smaller than I expected.) I landed in Phoenix and took a $70 cab ride to the spa that the rest of the girls were at.

The spa was amazing. I got into my bikini and put on a fancy robe and found the girls at the rooftop pool. They had saved me my lunch, which was great because I’d only eaten a Fiber One bar since about 4 am and was starving. We hung out at the pool and tried out some of the hot tubs. All the girls were super friendly. Of the 9, Gracie is engaged, 2 are single, and the rest of us were married. All of the married girls had kids, except one that was pregnant. So it was a fun group to talk to!

After the spa we hung out at the house. We had snacked all afternoon, and before we knew it, it was super late! We decided to get ready and go to a nearby casino, and we had a late dinner once we got there. One of the girls won $100 on a slot machine, but everyone else lost everything. I was smart and only lost $20!

On Saturday we hung out in the morning, and Brittany made bacon and eggs for everyone. Seven of us went on a hike, while Gracie and Beth stayed at the house because a friend from college that lived in Tucson was driving down for the day. The hike we took was supposed to be easy, but we took the “extremely difficult” trail instead and it about killed all of us! It took two hours to do the whole thing, and I wanted to give up a few times. Once we got to the top we all felt like superhero’s though! It was pretty amazing. After the hike we went back to the house and Gracie brought us all In and Out burgers. Nothing tastes better after a crazy workout than a burger and fries!

We hung out by the pool until late that afternoon when everyone started getting ready for the night. We had Gracie’s lingerie shower at the house and then went to dinner at a fancy Mexican place for dinner. Gracie was wearing a “Bride to Be” sash and we got a lot of attention. The bartender brought us out free drinks, and after dinner they brought out another drink and desserts on the house. After dinner we went to the “hip” part of town to a club/bar called Bottled Blonde. I wasn’t expecting much, and then we pulled up to this insanely crowded huge place! There was a line at the door, but Brittany walked us right up to the front to the bouncer, and he let us right in! It was pretty awesome.

Once inside, we had to hang on to each other so we wouldn’t get split up. There were people everywhere! It’s what I imagined a club at Panama City Beach to look like during Spring Break. We found a group of guys that had a corner to themselves with table service and they let us hang out with them! We could dance and hang out without being attacked by creepy people. We didn’t get home until 1 am, and I had to get up at 5 to go to the airport.

I rode to the airport with Becca, but we were on different airlines and went separate ways. My first flight was to Vegas, and it was wide open. I had two seats to myself and tried to sleep during the short flight. Once in Vegas I realized all the flights were oversold, and I started to panic that I was going to get stuck there. I was tired and crabby and just wanted to get home to Joe and the kids! At the last minute, they realized a seat was open and I literally ran onto the flight to Seattle. When I finally got to the house, Virginia and Luke were sitting in their window waving down at me!

I was so glad that I got to have a weekend away, and that I could meet all of Gracie’s friends before the wedding. They were all so sweet to me! It made me a little sad/jealous that I didn’t make friends like that in college. But I met Joe, so that is all that matters! Joe was amazing with the kids and they had a great time. Will was in town for the weekend to go to a Seattle Film Festival and stayed at the house. He wasn’t around the whole time, but I think the kids managed to wear him out when he was at the house!

As usual, it was nice to get away, but I missed my family! After I’d been home a bit, Virginia looked at me said (in an angry voice) “You left me! I missed you!!” I tried not to laugh and told her I missed her too, but kids weren’t invited on the trip. She’s a cute kid.

Spring is here!

A lot has happened this month, and we’re only going to be busier in the next few months! I had Lasik done on April 5th. Joe was with me for the appointment, and was able to actually watch the procedure. It was over pretty quick, and it didn’t hurt, but it was a really weird thing to go through! The surgeon explained everything as it was happening. First he put the laser over my left eye, my vision went dark for a few seconds, the laser did it’s thing for like 15 seconds, and then he did my right eye. Then he slid my head over and the laser sliced both eyes again for another few seconds. They had me sit up and even though things were blurry, I could open my eyes right away.

They gave me drops to keep my eyes numb for the rest of the night, to help with any pain. We picked up McDonald’s on the way home, and after the nanny left we all sat at the table and ate dinner. My eyes were red and watery, but Virginia didn’t seem alarmed at all! After we ate I got in bed with a cool washcloth on my eyes and tried to go to sleep. At first I didn’t feel too bad, but my eyes started to burn and water. I had a headache from the pressure in my eyes, and it felt like there was sand in my eyes. I spent about two hours tossing around in bed trying to get comfortable to fall asleep. When I woke up in the morning, I could see and the pain was gone! It was pretty amazing.

Having Lasik done was the best thing I’ve done for myself in a long time. I’m still putting drops in my eyes every few hours, but in the next few weeks I’ll be able to use them sporadically. It feels amazing to just wake up and be able to see what time the alarm clock says. I don’t have to deal with contacts, or with the kids hitting my glasses or smudging the lenses. Virginia thinks it’s cool that I can see all the time now. I told her a robot fixed my eyes, and the morning after it was done she asked if she could meet the robot. I told her he wasn’t a talking robot, and she told me, “I’m going to sneak up to him and talk to him!” She’s funny.

Easter weekend was so much fun with the kids! That Friday afternoon we went to Bungie and saw the Easter bunny for pictures. The kids got little Easter baskets and had fun walking around Joe’s office. On Saturday morning the kids and I made blackberry muffins from scratch before Joe woke up. They were a little time consuming (I even made a streusel topping) but they turned out really good! We had our ECM egg hunt at a playground in Kirkland. The weather was perfect, it was sunny and almost warm out! The kids had fun playing on the playground and hunting eggs. Saturday afternoon we dyed eggs with shaving cream and food coloring, which was messy and not as vibrant as I’d hoped, but Virginia had fun. We made a brownie bunny cake, which turned out kind of creepy but still tasted good!

Sunday morning we “found” our Easter baskets that the bunny had hidden after Joe woke up. Virginia loved her musical jewelry box, and the barrel of monkeys. Luke was most interested in the Batmobile hot wheels car in his basket. They both immediately went for the chocolate in their baskets. We went to Heather’s house for an Easter brunch and egg hunt. Denae, Jason, and Xander were also there. Heather hid a ton of eggs in their backyard, and luckily it was still sunny and warm! After the hunt we had waffles, bacon, sausage, quiche, and I’d made hashbrown cups and a fruit salad. Denae brought champagne so we had mimosas! It was really nice to have somewhere to go! The kids all had fun and played well together, and there weren’t a bunch of people so it was fun to hang out!

Luke managed to climb out of his crib a few mornings ago, so we had to turn the crib around to make it harder for him to escape. Luckily he didn’t get hurt, but I think he surprised himself when he fell out! We’ve been looking at rental houses, and I’ve been explaining to Virginia that when we move she will have her own room. I told her that Luke would sleep in his own room at night, and Virginia told me, “…but then I’ll be lonely!” She’s so sweet! They get on each other’s nerves, but they also love each other so much already!

Luke understands so much, and he’s getting so big! He says Momma, Dadda, please, that, done, ta-da, and if you ask him how old he is he holds up one finger and smiles. He eats constantly, and so far isn’t picky at all. Virginia on the other hand has to be bribed to try everything on her plate at dinner. They both have big sweet tooths like their parents! Luckily they like brushing their teeth, fingers crossed for no cavities.

One of the cutest things that Virginia does right now, is when we all are sitting down eating dinner she says to Joe, “I want to hear about your game daddy!” Every night she likes to hear about his day. She loves playing Nintendo Switch games with him before bed! Once they are tucked in at night, Virginia likes me to tell her a story (I usually just tell her about the fun things we did that day) and we sing a song. Most nights we sing “You are my Sunshine,” the ABC’s, or “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” Luke hums along with us. Before I leave their room, I tell them “sweet dreams,” and Virginia has started saying “sweet dreams to you too mommy!” I love our sweet babies!

I’m getting bionic eyes!

I’m having Lasik done! After ten years of dealing with contacts and glasses, I’ve decided I deserve to have working eyes. I’m going to a place that is well reviewed and hopefully by Easter I’ll be seeing with great vision! I’m having it done on April 12th, so I’ll be done with contacts and everything before my trip to Phoenix for Gracie’s bachelorette weekend, and Molly’s graduation in May, and our big summer trip back home in July! Joe is a little nervous about it, but I’ve heard so many great things about the doctor who is doing it that I’m just excited!

Virginia and I saw Beauty and the Beast at the theatre the weekend it came out. We saw it at an Imax theatre, and I was so surprised that it was mostly empty! It was great because I wasn’t worried when Virginia talked to me or sang along. The movie was way better than I was expecting! Everything about it was beautiful, and they added some really neat scenes that gave more background on both Belle and the Beast! I was so glad that Virginia and I got to see it together! After the movie we went to Lot 3 and had lunch. She was so sweet!

The weather is getting nicer, so we are trying to get outside more. The other day Virginia asked to ride her bike (she has a balance bike) so we went out to the sidewalk. She insisted on wearing her helmet, even though her speed is barely a crawl on the bike! She hasn’t really gotten the hang of it, she is supposed to push with her feet and the hold her feet up. She is too afraid to put her feet up unless Joe is holding the bike up for her. I think we may be looking at getting her a regular tricycle soon! Luke even tried to get on the bike, but he is still a little small for it.

Lately, Luke has been trying to jump out of his highchair at dinner. We decided he’d be happier in a booster chair like Virginia! We bought him one over the weekend, and the first time we had dinner with both kids sitting in booster seats Joe and I just looked at each other and smiled! They are so big!

Yesterday it was kind of drizzly, so we went to the arcade in Lincoln Square. We played a bunch of games, and Virginia asked if we could take pictures in a photo booth! We won a ton of tickets, and Virginia played the claw game and actually won a stuffed unicorn completely on her own! Joe and I were so surprised that she did it! Afterwards we went to lunch at Tavern Hall. We’re so lucky that the kids like going out to restaurants! I have friends who cannot take their kids to sit down restaurants, but Joe and I love it and would be so bummed if we couldn’t go out!

 

 

Almost Spring!

Callie and Lillian left earlier this week, we had a great visit! The weather did not cooperate as I’d hoped, it rained pretty much the whole time. There was one afternoon that was nice enough for us to go to our favorite playground, but it was cold and muddy. The kids didn’t mind and had a good time! We went to Wiggle Works in Crossroads Mall, met Joe for lunch in Bellevue, went to the new Children’s Museum in Bellevue, went to Seattle to the Children’s Museum, and went to Snoqualmie Falls!

The Seattle Children’s Museum was awesome, and even though we went on a rainy Saturday morning it wasn’t too busy. The kids ran free and had a great time! Snoqualmie Falls was also really neat, Joe hadn’t been before and when the kids and I went with Gracie and Matt back in August it hadn’t rained much, so it was much more powerful now! The kids all played really well together, and slept pretty good for us at night. Lillian didn’t want to nap while she was here, but Virginia and Luke weren’t bothered by that and still took their naps.

Lillian definitely has more energy than my kids, she doesn’t ever sit still! I take it for granted that my kids like to cuddle on the couch and watch movies with me! I was afraid our neighbors would come yell at us because Lillian jumps around and makes a lot more noise than Virginia and Luke. She’s definitely used to living in a big house! She said the cutest thing though, she was looking out the kids window and said, “No cows?” Most kids don’t grow up with cows out their bedroom window! Ha. I was really impressed with how well spoken she was, it was great because Virginia loves having someone else to talk to!

I was so proud of Callie for bringing Lillian out here alone. I know it isn’t fun traveling with little kids, but Lillian did pretty well on both legs of the trip, even with layovers. I think the sooner you get kids out and traveling, the easier it gets. Callie and I were able to go out one night after the kids had gone to bed to do some shopping, and another night Joe made us margarita’s after the kids went down. It was really great to be able to visit and hang out!

The condo felt very small with Callie and Lillian here, I can’t wait to be in a house and have more room to spread out! Joe got another raise at his last review, and a really nice bonus, but we’re back to thinking that we need to rent another year before we’re really able to buy a house. I think we’ll be able to find a great rental house with three bedrooms and a back yard (hopefully without going broke!) It’s amazing how much stuff we have accumulated over the past two years here. I’ve been donating old clothes and getting rid of a lot of stuff that we just don’t need anymore. Luke is almost ready to be in a booster seat at the table instead of a high chair, and soon he’ll be ready for a bed instead of his crib.

We mentioned to Virginia that Luke was almost too big for his crib, and she told us, “You can put his big bed next to mine!” It was so sweet. I think they’ll both be a little sad when they aren’t sharing a room anymore, but hopefully they’ll adjust to it quickly! It’s St. Patrick’s Day, and I told Virginia we would do a craft. Time to get covered in green paint!

Getting back in the habit!

I was surprised to find out that it has been almost a year since I last wrote! I miss writing, and if my handwriting wasn’t so horrible I would love to write in a real book. This is pretty convenient though, and will hopefully be easier for Virginia or Luke to read when they are older! I would love to know what my parents were like before they had me and my sisters, what it was like while we were growing up. I’m lucky that my mom took so many pictures, Cindy was also great at keeping photos. Even if Virginia and Luke have no interest in these posts, at least I’ll be able to look back when they are older. Virginia says the funniest things every day, and they both grow so fast. I take pictures and videos, but I want to remember everything.

The other week, Joe was working late one night so I made grilled cheese sandwiches and soup for dinner (the kids and I love it!) I was multitasking and kind of burnt Virginia’s sandwich. I figured she wouldn’t notice, so we all sat down with our food. Virginia picked up a triangle, looked at it for a minute, and said to me, “You didn’t make this very well.” It was the most honest, hilarious thing she’d ever said to me! After that I decided I need to start writing these things down!

Cindy came in last weekend and watched the kids so that Joe and I could go to Vancouver for two nights. We are so lucky that our parents are physically and mentally able to take care of the kids, and that they want to! Cindy has been so busy taking care of Papa Joe and planning the wedding with Gracie, we were so glad she wanted to come spend some time here! Virginia and Luke had a great time with Cindy, and Joe and I were able to get away! We drove to Vancouver on Saturday morning and came back Monday afternoon.

I love Seattle and think it is the prettiest place I have ever lived in (aside from Germany), but Vancouver was amazing. It was beautiful, the food was awesome, and there was so much to do! We walked around downtown, went to Granville Island, drove around Stanley Park, walked across the Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge, saw a movie, and ate a ton of good food. Our hotel was in a great location, and we spent a lot of great time relaxing! It was a perfect 5 year anniversary trip!

Cindy left on Tuesday morning super early, so Monday night at bedtime Cindy said goodbye to Virginia. That poor girl loves her Mimi so much, after we put them to bed I could hear Virginia making noise in their room. I went to check on her, and she was crying and saying “I don’t want Mimi to go!” So we let her sit with Mimi on the couch a little later than usual! When Luke woke up in the morning, he was fussing in his crib. Virginia came up to him and said, “I know you miss Mimi, but I miss her more.” I laughed so hard! She’s a hoot.

Virginia is in her second session of Ballet/Tap/Gymnastics, and Luke is in a gymnastics class for toddlers. Yesterday I snuck upstairs to peek at Virginia and help her get her tap shoes on. There are seven girls in her class, and when they put their tap shoes on and run into the classroom it is deafening! The shoes must be slippery, I just happened to be taking a video and she wiped out! It was so cute, she just bounced right back up and gave me a thumbs up! She’s a trooper.

Luke is so big, I feel like he is much more mobile than Virginia was at his age. He just had his first real hair cut last week and is such a handsome little guy! He had his 15 month check up, he is three pounds heavier and two inches taller than Virginia was at that age! Pretty impressive! He doesn’t say much aside from “Mama” and “Dada”, but he tries to say “Please” when eating! He loves to play with Virginia, loves Sesame Street, loves to dance, and wants to eat all the time. Luckily for me, he still likes to cuddle with me! He’s big on hugs and kisses, and waves at strangers.

I am so grateful for my family. Joe is an amazing husband and father, and having kids has made us love each other more and work together even better. Virginia is very much like me (control freak, has to be clean, but very sweet and thoughtful) and Luke is just like Joe (loves to sleep, super laid back, also very sweet.) All in all, we have it pretty good! I’ll try and update this as funny things happen! Hopefully not in another year from now…

 

Almost Spring!

We had a great trip to Tennessee at the end of January! We bought non-stop tickets on Alaska Air instead of trying to go on buddy passes, and it was amazing! We got to the airport and didn’t have the added stress of wondering if we were going to make the flight! Virginia was so excited to go on a plane, we boarded the flight and she was so good! I figured out that Luke was almost exactly the same as Virginia was for her first flight. The flight was about 4 hours, and both kids were perfect! No tears from either of them at all. We landed at BNA and Rick was waiting for us right outside our gate! Virginia was so happy to see Pops! Cindy picked us up and we headed to their house.

Gracie and Matt were already at the house, we were pretty excited to meet him. Virginia was happy to be at Mimi and Pops’ house and see Missy and all of her toys there! She immediately made Matt have a tea party with her. The Mayo’s and Henson’s came over for dinner and we had a party for Gracie and Joe. Virginia was super well behaved even after the long flight and no nap (she literally didn’t sleep at all on the flight like I’d hoped). Luke was also very sweet and just happy to hang out. After dinner and presents, we started getting Luke and Virginia ready for bed. The time change had us all a little out of whack.

I had bought tickets for Joe, Gracie, Matt and I to do the Escape Game in Nashville, so we left to do that around 9:30. We did the Nashville room and were paired with one other couple. Joe and I were the only ones that had done an Escape room before, so it was fun to kind of have the upper hand! We all worked great together and the room was so much fun! We made it out with almost 15 minutes to spare!

Sunday morning we all hung out a bit, but Matt and Gracie had to drive back to Charlotte and we had to get to Lebanon for Joe’s party at the farm. Mom was amazing and picked up Joe’s cake and all the sides, and we just had to pick up the bbq. The usual people came over, and everyone was super excited to meet Luke! Virginia had fun seeing Lillian and Christian. I couldn’t believe how big they both are, especially Christian! He was so much bigger than I was expecting! It was so great to finally be in the farmhouse, it looks amazing! I’m so glad it is finally done and they are all settled! There was so much room to move around and hang out.

Sunday night Joe and I had reservations for The Mad Platter, so we got dressed up and went out. Something wasn’t sitting right with me though, and I started feeling super sick at the restaurant. I had ordered mushroom risotto, but I couldn’t even eat it. Joe ate his dinner really quick and we rushed back to the farm. I felt fine by the morning, and felt horrible for making us rush through a date (especially a pricey one!) We hung out Monday in Lebanon, and Tuesday we drove to Maryville.

The kids were both great on the way to Maryville, sleeping most of the way there. Nana Blackburn made tacos for lunch and we ate with Papa Charlie. He seemed to be doing as well as expected, but he didn’t say much during lunch. Virginia had fun running around their house, and Luke was in a good mood. Tim, Jean, and the girls came over when the girls got out of school so we got to visit with them. We stayed until about 6 and then headed out. We stopped at Sonic to get dinner, and it was packed because they had some special running that night. It took a while to get our food and eat (the weather was so nice we were able to sit at a table on the patio!) We got on the road and Virginia was kind of crabby, she wanted me to sit in the backseat with her and Luke but I didn’t want to be squished. Halfway home we stopped to get gas and feed Luke and change his diaper, and Joe spilled diesel gas all over his pants and shoes. He had to take off his pants and shoes and leave them in the trunk because it smelled so strongly! Both kids were upset most of the way home so it made for a very long two hour drive!

We hung out in Lebanon on Wednesday, and then went to Thompson’s Station Thursday. Rick got home from his trip Friday, so it was nice that he got to see the kids again! On Saturday we went out to lunch and went to a playground for Virginia. My parents and grandma Carol drove out Saturday night for dinner, we tried to go to Mellow Mushroom but it was crazy packed so we just got Papa Murphy’s and ate at Rick and Cindy’s house. It was easier that way, we got to hang out and not worry about entertaining the kids. We got to go to Chuy’s for lunch on Sunday before heading to the airport.

The flight home was about an hour longer, but the kids still managed to be really well behaved. We landed just before 8 our time and got our bags, got the shuttle to our car, and were home around 9. It was such a great trip, we spent our time in Lebanon just hanging out with my family. Virginia loved seeing her cousins, and Joe and I managed to see a movie and go out to eat without the kids a few times. At the farm Virginia gets to play with Willow, and she loves giving the dogs treats every day with mom.

We’ve been busy with our playdates, gymnastics, and other fun stuff since we got home. Luke is such an easy baby that we’ve been getting out on the weekends to do errands and explore different areas. It is so nice that Joe has his own car again, he has been working late the past few weeks and it is always great when he can grab dinner on his way home!

Virginia has started to show a lot of my traits, like being a bit of a control freak. If we don’t do things her way, she throws a fit. We’re working on getting her to be more easy going but she is very independent and stubborn. She is so smart though, so we have to be careful what we say in front of her! She is so sweet to Luke though, she really is a great big sister! The other weekend I asked Virginia if she wanted to go to the grocery store with me, and she asked if baby Luke was coming with us. I told her he was staying home with daddy, and she started crying and said she needed to stay with Luke. It was adorable, and great for me because I got to grocery shop alone!

Virginia has learned me and Joe’s names, and that our last name is Blackburn. So we do role call every day, but she calls Luke “baby Luke Blackburn.” Luke is almost four months old, and really is just the sweetest little boy. He smiles if you smile at him, giggles if you tickle his sides, and loves to sit up and watch Virginia play. He has pretty good control of his head, and we have started letting him sit in the Bumbo.

I’ve been really lucky the past few weeks to get to go out and have breaks with my girlfriends. A few weeks ago I did Bunco, then a dinner out, then a baby shower brunch, and last weekend I walked a 5K race in Seattle. Joe is amazing and doesn’t make me feel bad for taking time to myself! He has been working really hard, and it has paid off! He just had a review and got the highest score he could. Because of the great review he gets a big bonus, and a promotion with a pay raise! I was pretty sure he would get a great review, but we were both surprised by the promotion! I’m so proud of him!