Saturday, July 25, 2009

It's summer & we have been BUSY!!! Surprised?!

The last time I updated our blog was at the end of May...since then we have had a pretty busy summer.

The month of June was pretty much spent doing wedding related activities! Actually, on May 30th, was the wedding shower for my cousin, Dan, and his wife-to-be, Robin. It was at my Aunt Betsy & Uncle Bob's home and there was a lot of fun and laughter that afternoon!

Up next on the wedding activity list, on June 12th, was the bridal shower for my future sister-in-law, Marketa.

It was a girls' night, which was so fun, and it was the second shower at my Aunt Betsy & Uncle Bob's home. Lydia, my cousin Jessica's daughter, was so helpful in bringing the gifts to Marketa and helping her open was so cute! We were also supposed to wear some of our sexy or cute shoes to the shower. I think that we all did a great job at that!

The following night, June 13th, was Marketa's bachelorette party. We ate at Swinger's and then headed to downtown Bloomington for an evening of fun.

On June 20th, my mom & I went to the Sheldon Concert Hall in St. Louis, MO for Dan & Robin's wedding. The building was a beautiful location for their wedding & reception!

The last weekend of June was my brother's wedding. Neal & Marketa got married on June 27th, outside in a gazebo at her parent's house. It was a beautiful wedding, but it was 94 degrees outside, so everyone was a bit warm & sweaty. After the ceremony, the wedding party went to a covered bridge between Sheffield and Princeton to have pictures taken. Neal & Marketa's photographer had them do a few poses at the bridge as well.
Here are a couple pictures of me, Jason, and the boys (who were being goofy, of course)...

After the wedding, my mom, the boys, and I went to the Lake of the Ozarks for our annual week of vacation before the 4th of July. We were definitely ready to relax!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Time to update this very LONELY blog of ours!

Ok, I'll admit it...I am apparently a horrible blogger!! The last time I wrote anything here was in March of 2008! That's obviously over a year ago, so it's time for me to catch y'all up on what's been going on in our lives since then.

So, we had Spring Break in Fort Morgan/Gulf Shores, Alabama at the end of March. The boys and I had a great time with Cota, Kelsey, Sydney, and A.J. Even to this day, the boys still talk about how much fun they had on that trip!

The next adventure to happen was that Jason & I went on a belated honeymoon to Tulum, Mexico (Riveria Maya area) at the end of was WONDERFUL!! The resort was pretty secluded, the beach was beautiful, and it was so nice for the two of us to get away for a few days together!

The month of May had my dad's and Jason's birthdays, was busy with end-of-year school activities, and then we kicked off the beginning of summer with our annual trip to the Lake of the Ozarks for Memorial Day weekend. We always love being at the Lake!

I don't remember if there was a lot happening in June, but the boys definitely enjoyed being out of school and living a more relaxed life. Oh, wait! I just remembered that at the end of June we went on our vacation to the Lake of the Ozarks for 12 days. We usually start our annual vacation there on the last full weekend of June and go through the 4th of July holiday weekend.

In July, we celebrated Grant's 14th birthday a bit early with a bunch of friends from our little Lake neighborhood. The rest of the month was spent getting the boys' 4-H projects ready to exhibit at the McLean County Fair.

August started off with the McLean County Fair and the boys both did really well with their exhibits! Luke's photography exhibit and Grant's electricity exhibit were nominated to be judged at the Illinois State Fair and they both received Superior Awards (the highest award possible) for their exhibits. We were quite proud of their accomplishments! My birthday was on the 8th...made it another year! At the end of the month we went back to the Lake of the Ozarks for the Labor Day weekend holiday and were able to have a fun, yet relaxing, time before the boys headed back to school.

On September 2nd, Grant started his 8th grade year and Luke started his 7th grade year. They were both in the same classroom with Mrs. Bacon. I was a bit nervous about them being in the same class, but they did well together.

October 20th was my mom's birthday and it was nice to enjoy the fall weather and beautiful colored leaves on the trees.

Thanksgiving was great and we had a wonderful time spending it with our family! The day after Thanksgiving, we got about 8 inches of SNOW!!! Welcome to the cold!! Did I ever say how much I dislike the cold?!

Of course, December brings Christmas and all of the wonderful sights, sounds, and traditions associated with it. This year, Jason and I gave the boys a surprise Christmas gift of a family trip to Mexico!! They were pretty excited and couldn't wait to be there! We enjoyed the two weeks of Christmas break as well.

The boys went back to school on January 5th and by that time I was relieved to have a quiet house during the day again! :o) We celebrated Luke's 13th birthday on January 30th and that made us offically the parents of TWO teenage boys! Oh the joys of puberty!!

Jason and I were supposed to go on an anniversary trip to the Dominican Republic to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary, but his bosses had other plans and scheduled meetings for the week were supposed to be gone. Great! Thank goodness for travel insurance! We quickly made plans to take a substitute trip to Florida to go wakeboarding in April.

March brought Spring Break and the boys and I were ready for it! We didn't go anywhere due to the upcoming trip to Mexico at the end of April, so we just relaxed for the week.

Ahhh, April!!! This month started off with Jason & I heading to Orlando, Florida with a group of fellow wakeboarders and waterskiiers from the Liquid Edge family for some fun on and off the water! Thursday, April 2nd, we got off the plane in Orlando and were immediately on our way to the Orlando Watersports Complex where we got to wakeboard using a cable pulling us around the lake. It was an interesting experience. On Friday, April 3rd, Jason had a slalom ski lesson with Wade Cox and I had a wakeboard lesson with Will Christien (LOVE HER!). We went to dinner Friday night at a restaurant that was owned & operated by a friend of Will's. Jason and I ate some of the best tasting food that we'd had in a long time. Saturday, April 4th, we were both at Will's house and lake to get in a couple of wakeboarding sets. I learned 4 new types of 180s and was exhausted by the end of the day. Jason was sore from slalom skiing on Friday, so he only got one set in during the morning run. We were up early on Sunday to head back to the airport to go back to the cold weather of Illinois. The very next snowed!

We only had three weeks at home before we were packing up to go on our family trip to Puerto Aventuras, Mexico! This was Grant and Luke's first trip out of the country and they loved it! We were at our resort for about an hour and they'd already declared that, "this is the best vacation EVER!" It was nice to spend time together relaxing, having fun, and trying new things. The only thing that I didn't enjoy while we were gone was the whole "Swine Flu" reared it's ugly head while we were in Mexico. We had to be examined upon our arrival at the Cancun airport to make sure we didn't have any symptoms before we were cleared to even check-in for our flight home.

We arrived back home from our trip to Mexico on May 1st. On May 3rd I received a call from the boys' Principal and she told me that due to us being in Mexico, the IL State Board of Health & the IL Board of Education were recommending that we all be symptom-free from the Swine Flu before the boys could return to school! Well, boys...looks like you have a few more days of vacation & doing your schoolwork at home! They returned in time to participate in their school's annual Race for Education and they had a great time doing that.

My dad's birthday was on May 12th...he turned 56.

On May 15th, the boys' had a Science Fair at school. Luke's entry was about growing a crystal garden. Grant entered a robotic crane that he'd designed, built, and programmed. Both of the boys did a great job with their presentations! Later we found out that Grant was one of the few students to receive Best of Show for his project and presentation...way to go, GRANT!!!

Jason celebrated his 35th birthday on May 17th....Happy Birthday, sweetie!!! We had a good day of hanging out at home and enjoyed being together. Jason said that it was his best birthday yet!

We went to the Lake of the Ozarks for Memorial Day weekend '09 and had an awesome time with our family and friends that joined us at the Lake for the first time! We did a lot of wakeboarding and other water activities.

On the evening of Friday, May 29th, Grant and Luke participated in their school's end of the year program. Luke played in a handbell choir and did very well with the rest of the ensemble! Grant played "Amazing Grace" as a solo piano piece and it sounded great! We were also very excited to see Grant go up on stage to receive an award for having the 3rd highest GPA in the entire school! His average was 96.3% for the entire school year! We are very proud of his accomplishment!

WHEW!!! I am now current and up-to-date with this blog!! That was a lot of updating! I hope to be more timely with our family news and happenings from here on out. We're looking forward to Summer and I'm sure that we'll have some interesting things to tell about on our blog.

Catch y'all later!!!

(Amber....I finally updated our blog!!! Are you happy now?!)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spring Break - Fort Morgan, Alabama - Tuesday, March 25, 2008

It's the end of our first full 24 hours at our Spring Break location in Fort Morgan, AL and we had a fun day!

We arrived around 7:30 or so on Monday evening, unloaded the truck, and then ordered pizza since we were too tired from traveling to go to the grocery store. The pizza was good, but since we didn't go to the store, we didn't have any paper towels, so we improvised and used toilet paper to wipe our faces and hands...

Luke and I took a walk on the beach first thing this morning. It was a bit chilly, but we had a good walk together. Luke picked up a lot of shells and enjoyed being next to the water and in the sand...

When we got back from our walk, we got some breakfast and the rest of the family got up and ate as well...Grant was the last one to get up...he slept in the longest. We all took our time getting showers and ready for the day and by the time we were done it was time to look for a place to eat for lunch.

After reading some reviews online, Cota and I decided on eating at a place called Bahama Bob's. The food there was great! I ordered a Soft Shell Crab Po' Boy sandwich and when it arrived at the table it freaked me out a bit because the LEGS were still ON the crab! They were fried right along with the rest of the crab...I was expecting more of a "soft shell crab MEAT" sandwich...not the WHOLE THING! I ate the sandwich and it was good...the french fries were very tasty as well. I did leave one set of legs uneaten because I ran out of bread and didn't want to eat them on their own. Here are a couple pictures of the family before our food arrived...

When we were done with lunch we all took a short walk on the beach before we got back in the truck to head to Wal-Mart for a food/beach toys/other miscellaneous items trip. After all of our shopping items were loaded into the truck we headed back to our "home away from home", unloaded & put away the groceries, and then went out to the beach for a bit.

As I walked out to the beach, I saw A.J. walking back to the house and he was soaking wet! He had fallen in the water and was on his way back to the house to get his swim trunks to put on. When I got to the edge of the water, I saw the older kids still in the water playing and could hardly believe it....that water was COLD!After a bit, A.J. was back to join the rest of the kids playing in the water...It didn't take long before the water (with the aid of the wind) got too cold for A.J. and he needed to be warmed up by Kelsey (and Sydney, too)...doesn't Cota look warm and dry in her towel?

Grant and Luke decided that they were cold also and gave up playing in the water to go inside to get a warm shower...

After another round of showers and baths, we all settled down for the evening and had a small dinner here.

We have a busy day tomorrow, so I need to be getting to bed. I'll be sure to post about our Wednesday adventures tomorrow evening. Good night!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Well update's not good.

The update is that WE NEED WHOLE A NEW WELL!!!! I am not happy about this because it will be at least a week before it can be dug & put in and maybe even longer than that. We have to get a permit to do it from the Health Department & we can't do that until Monday morning which will be 1 week of not having our well working. We do have a temporary setup that allows us to have some water to flush toilets, wash our hands, the occasional shower, and other things that don't require a lot of water, but Jason has to fill the water tank that supplies us with the water, so that's a bit time-consuming for him. My parents are staying at my father-in-law's cabin so that they can have water and the boys, Jason, and I go out in the evenings to get our showers.

The good news in all of this is that Grant, Luke, and I will be leaving on Sunday afternoon to go to Gulf Shores, Alabama (actually, we'll be staying in Fort Morgan) for a Spring Break trip with my sister-in-law, Cota, and her 3 kids, Kelsey, Sydney, and A.J. Unfortunately, Jason and Matt (Cota's husband) have to work next week, so they are unable to join us. Not only are we getting to take a trip for Spring Break, but there will be RUNNING WATER there! I am so excited about that! Neither the boys or I have been to Alabama before and this will be their first time to see the Gulf of Mexico. We will be renting 1/2 of a house/duplex for the week while we are there and we are right on the beach! It sleeps 12 people and there are only 7 of us, so we'll have plenty of room. Here's a picture of the place we'll be staying (it's on the right side in this picture):

The boys are getting excited about the trip. When I told them, Grant was so thrilled he said that, "I am so happy and excited I feel like I have bubbles inside of me!" He cracks me up sometimes! I am taking my computer with me, so I'll be able to blog about our trip while we're there. Ahhh, just thinking about being on the beach and hearing the waves crashing on the shore is relaxing me right now.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Still no water here...

Jason said that hopefully the well-guy will be here today. As of right now, he is not here....I'm starting to wonder if we'll be going another day without running water...2 full days with no water and we're about 1/2 way through our 3rd day. Ugh!

I'm going to be taking our clothes to a laundromat so that we have clean clothes to wear and so that I don't get further behind on laundry.

I would really, really like to have water soon, please.

**Update as of this evening...we still don't have running water, but the well-repair guy did eventually make it to our house this afternoon around 2:30. They started working on the well, but it isn't fixed...they guy was gone by 4:30 or 5:00, I think. Hopefully we'll have a working well tomorrow sometime!

Monday, March 17, 2008

How frustrating...

We haven't had any water at our house today! Jason realized this when he got up to take a shower this morning before he went to work. Thankfully, the boys had taken showers before they went to bed last night, so they were okay for school today. Jason told me that he called the well-repair guy around 7:45 this morning to get him to come & look at our well to see what was wrong with it. He showed up sometime in the early afternoon & told Jason that the pump had come loose & fell to the bottom of the well. Not good. Hopefully, we will get the old pump removed/fished out from the bottom & then have a new one installed tomorrow (3/18).

I never realized how much I use water throughout the day.....that was until I couldn't use it! I would reach for the faucet to turn on the water and then be so frustrated because it wasn't there when I needed it! We had to pump off the water from the pool cover to put into a bucket to use when we needed to flush. I even went and bought 10 - 1 gallon jugs of water (10 for $ lucky day!) to be able to wash our hands, brush our teeth, and prepare dinner for tonight.

In the midst of my frustration, God brought me a moment of blessed are we that we can have water at the flick of a wrist by turning on a faucet? Sure, my brief time of not having water is an inconvenience to me and my family, but once the well is fixed, it will be there again whenever we need it. My frustrations turned to thankfulness as I realized how blessed we were to have clean, fresh water...there are so many people in poor, impoverished countries that don't have that luxury whenever they want it.

Tonight, we were able to go out to Jason's dad's cabin and get showers after dinner. I can't remember the last time that I was so thankful to have a shower!

The newest addition to our family...

Last Sunday (3/9/08), it seemed to me that Jason was acting pretty weird around me. I kept asking him if something was wrong and he finally ended up blurting out to me, "You know how sometimes it's better if you don't ask a lot of questions?"...I was shocked by this! I barely knew how to respond to him because he doesn't ever talk to me that way, so I didn't say anything, but my mind was just spinning now.

I tried to go about the rest of my day the best that I could, but I still thought that Jason was acting weird, so I asked him if I had done something to upset him. He told me that I hadn't, but he needed to tell me something, so we went into our room & he closed the door. I was really starting to wonder what was going on. The first words out of Jason's mouth were, "I lied to you." I started to panic and feel sick to my stomach...tears were starting to form in my eyes. He started to tell me, "You know when I said that I had to go to Decatur on Friday (3/7) for work? Well, I didn't go there...". Tears were nearly ready to come out of my eyes & I wanted to throw up. He then said, "I went to Farmer City to The Liquid Edge to see Doug and give him a down payment for a boat!" I thought in my head, "OK! This is a good thing!" I was so relieved and I cried happy tears, but I still smacked Jason on the arm (he says that I punched him in the arm and almost knocked his drink out of his hand) for "lying" to me and making me worry.

So, this past Thursday afternoon (3/13), Jason went to Farmer City to pick up our new boat! Grant & Luke didn't know about the boat, so we decided to surprise them when we got home from their gymnastic lessons. When we got close to home, I had the boys close their eyes and put their heads on their laps. I pulled up behind the house where Jason had parked the boat and had the boys get out of the car while keeping their eyes closed. I counted to three and then had them open their eyes....they were so surprised! They could hardly believe their eyes that we had a boat sitting at our house! We hadn't told my dad either, so he was surprised too when he saw the boat pulling into the driveway.

Here's our 2008 MasterCraft X-45....

We've been trying to think of a name for the boat and Jason came up with H.M.S. for Her (or His) Majesty's Ship, but I think that I like my version better....Huge Money Sucker (due to all of the gas it'll take to make her go!).

We're all very happy and we can hardly wait to get out on the water for the first time! You can be sure that I'll blog about that day!