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Rain Is A Good Thing!

Dear Grandma,

IT'S RAINING!!!  We have been here over a month and the day we moved in was the last time it rained.  And that day it didn't rain enough to make much difference in the brown, dying grass.  So today it is raining.  It's a nice, gentle rain that will soak in, not just run off.  I wish it would rain like this for 3 days.  Lets hope this is the beginning of a new, wetter, pattern.

Aiden started flag football last night.  (THUNDER!!!! YAY!!!)  I wasn't sure what to expect but they actually had them practice hiking the ball (playing center I guess), running and catching the ball, and at the beginning stretching.  I wish I had taken my camera!  They are having 3 practices before their first game next week so I'll try to get some good shots and post them for you to see.  They have to wear mouth guards, which cracks me up to see little Aiden with that mouth full of plastic!  All the little boys thought they were big and bad with those mouth guards. 

Enjoy the rainy afternoon!

Sick :(

Dear Grandma,

Do you remember how often I used to get colds when I was a kid?  I walked around looking like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer half of the winter at least 3 times every summer.  Since having Aiden I seem to get colds less and less often, and they seem to get shorter and shorter each time.  Last week when Aiden started school he had a cold -- it didn't seem to be too bad and honestly, with kids it doesn't seem like being sick affects them at all.  Thursday I woke up with the sniffles and by Thursday night I was SICK.  Friday I didn't do much but take Aiden to school and run Brennan back and forth to the bathroom.  This cold really knocked me for a loop.  Finally Saturday morning I started to feel like myself again and have some energy to clean that pit that once was our house.  Then my husband and Brennan got it, but they were both able function with theirs.  Eck, I hate colds!  My nose was bright red for 3 days and I went through 2 boxes of Kleenex by myself.  I'm glad I lived through this virus to tell the tale.

Because half of us were fighting colds this weekend we didn't do too much.  Saturday we went to church and supper, Sunday we worked on prepping the deck to stain and water seal it.  We are going to rent a big belt sander used to refinish hardwood floors because the previous owners hadn't stained or sealed it in years and it is really showing some weather damage.  So hopefully by sanding the top layer off it'll get rid of that gray weathered look and it'll accept the stain and hold it better.  With the football games starting this weekend (and Andy having season tickets) who knows when we'll find time to get this job done.  This time of year the weekends really fill up for us.

Mom gave me some starts to plants at lunch today so I need to go get them planted. 

First Day Report

Dear Grandma,

Aiden's first day of Kindergarten was a success -- I know because he chattered non-stop for 10 minutes about his day (I usually have to drag it out of him) and he told me this morning he was excited to go back.  He told me he liked the lunch but that he didn't get to finish it because they were told lunch was over.  He learned the word 'the' but I'm guessing just to recognize it by sight, not how to spell it.  He played with one boy, then another boy and girl at recess, but doesn't remember their names.  They walked, them jumped, then walked again in PE.  Their classroom is HUGE.  Hmm, what else did he tell me?  To sum it up, he had a busy but wonderful day!

It is one of those picture perfect days today.  Bright blue sky, temps in the 70's, very low humidity and a soft, gentle breeze.  If the ground wasn't so darn dry I'd go out and dig in the flowerbeds while Brennan naps.  But the cracks are so deep and the dirt so hard.  I'm sure you went through a few droughts in your life, how did you cope with everything turning brown and the corn baking out in the fields?

I need to wash up the lunch dishes, I'll talk to you soon.

First Day of Kindergarten

Dear Grandma,

Today Aiden started Kindergarten.  :(  The sad face is for me.  I was ready for Aiden to be around kids again (he's been so bored this summer) but you know how emotional I am, I can't stand the thought of me or the boys growing up so this huge milestone was a doozie!  But, he was so excited this mornng (and for the entire summer) that it didn't take me long to get past the crying and think about all the fun he is having. 

Brennan has had a great time by himself today -- he hasn't had to share one single thing, not even me!  No fighting, no "Mom! Brennan took my toy!", no hollering to stop running in the house.  It's been fairly quiet around here, I think I like it.  Shhh, don't tell anyone!  Honestly, that makes me feel very guilty.  But I guess I could look at it like Aiden is having this great adventure that we don't get to go on with him so we shouldn't have to sit at home and be sad, lonely and miserable.  So we'll contine to have fun, just me and Brennan, and do fun things with Aiden on the weekends to spoil him then.

Better take Brennan to use the potty before we go get Aiden. 

Potty Training - Ugh!

Dear Grandma,

Well, I decided to take the plunge and work on potty training Brennan.  He'll be 2 1/2 next month, which is how old Aiden was when I trained him.  Aiden was EASY!  He never had an accident and had it down-pat within a week.  I just knew with Aiden he was ready.  Brennan, I'm not so sure.  About a month ago he went on the potty about 6 times, then through a fit and I didn't want to push it so let it go and didn't try again.  Now with Aiden starting school I decided it was time. 

We started yesterday, and he did pretty good, just one accident.  He went on the potty before bed last night and woke up dry today (yay!!).  He went this morning a couple of times, then got busy playing with play dough and had a double accident (BM and potty).  He went in the potty, then had another accident.  I don't think the wet undies are bothering him, either.  Not a good thing when you're training.  And every time I tell him it's time to try going he throws a fit.  So before nap time I tried a different approach -- he was to teach his doll how to go potty in the toilet.  He loved that!  So I'm hoping this helps him want to go on the potty instead of throwing a fit every time I tell him it's time to try.

Aiden's been a big help with this, too. Every time Brennan goes in the potty Aiden cheers and gives him a big high-five! Aiden's a great big brother.

Wish us luck and send us prayers over the next couple of weeks!

Weekends Go Too Fast

Dear Grandma,

How was your weekend?  Ours went by way too fast.  Ever since I quit my job to stay home with the boys (a year now!!) I've had nice, long weekends.  Probably because I'm home during the week so it doesn't feel like I have to jam so much into those 2 short days.  But this weekend just flew by!  Nicole (my sister) and Nora (her daughter/my niece) came by Saturday morning to stay for the day so Nicole and I could get some scrapbooking done.  We always have a good time when we do this but we never get more than 2 or 3 pages done because we have to chase after Nora and Brennan the whole time.  Now that they're 2 1/2 they're a little easier to have around for this because they don't require as much attention, they pretty much entertain themselves.  Then her husband and son, Pat and Charley, came over for supper and to hang out so we didn't scrap at all in the evening.  But it was a fun day.

Sunday we went to our hometown to visit my in-laws, have lunch with them and run to the awesome grocery store garden center to get some end of season bargains.  I bought 4 perennials for $8 to plant in the flower bed Mom and I were cleaning out.  They all attract butterflies and hummingbirds and bloom at different times throughout the spring, summer and fall, so I'll have a lot of color in that bed.  Then my husband's brother and his family came over late afternoon for supper and to visit.  My sister in law and nieces had not seen the house yet so they were anxious to come visit.

Speaking of the new house, we've been here for a month already!  Where did that month go??  I don't feel like we've accomplished anything we wanted to get done in here yet.  It all takes money and time, so eventually it'll all get done, but in the meantime we're living with someone else's curtains, wall colors and taste.  We did get some of the window treatments down yesterday, they just did not fit our style.  It really opened up the formal living room, I think I like the window without any curtains.

After today there is one more day of 'freedom' for Aiden before he starts 13 years of school (plus 4 more for college).  I keep thinking of all the 'lasts' we're having together -- last time he goes with me to get groceries, last time he goes with me to meet Daddy for lunch, etc.  I should think of all his 'firsts'.  I keep thinking of your story about Dad, how he didn't want to go to school because he'd miss you and then when he came home the first day he said school was okay but "I really missed you!"  That story breaks my heart and is exactly how I will feel about Aiden on Wednesday. But! He will have a great time and get to make new friends and get to learn so many neat things!  I really am happy and excited for him, but feel sad and sorry for me.  :( 

Time to put laundry away!

No Respect

Dear Grandma,
It's starting already, Aiden is saying hurtful things to me.  Yesterday we walked down to the mailbox to get the mail and he was mad at me for letting Brennan get the bag of ads out of the bottom holder.  He started complaining to me about how unfair it was and I told him to quiet down, he was embarrassing me.  Brennan and I started back to the house without Aiden and that just made him madder.  I asked him to ride his bike back to the house and go to his room for being disrespectful in public.  He rode off, then turned his head around to yell back at me "I don't like you anymore!"  Because I knew he was mad I didn't let it bother me.  But when we told Andy about it last night Andy told Aiden he needed to tell me he was sorry, and he wouldn't do it.  Where did we go wrong with this boy?  He's forgotten all about being respectful and treating people kindly.  And then this morning he accused me of lying about whether or not his TV show was on.  That one bothered me.  I asked him where he came up with the idea that I would ever lie to him.  He didn't answer.  I honestly do not know what to do about this.  I wish you were here to give me advice.  Aiden was always such a sweet, kind little boy, he never gave us any trouble.  Then this crazy summer hit and all heck broke loose.  I pray that with school starting next week he'll snap back to his sweet little self.

I had to bring 'Mean Mommy' out today.  I asked the boys to pick up their toys in the living room so I could vacuum but they just laid there.  So I grabbed all the toys, put them in a box and went about my business.  After lunch, same thing - I asked them to pick up their toys and they didn't, so into the box they went. This time Aiden realized what I was doing and asked me if I was giving those toys to another little boy since he didn't pick them up.  I told him I didn't know what I was doing with them but since they didn't care enough about the toys to pick them up I was going to take them away.  The contents of the box includes their favorite tractors and wagon, their Nerf gun and a bunch of random 'junk' that they don't care too much about.  We'll see if this makes any difference next time I ask them to pick up.

Have a great weekend, Grandma!

Playground Fun

Dear Grandma,
Today I took the boys to a new playground.  Every time we drive over to get groceries we go by this playground and Brennan yells "There it is!", like we were looking for it. :)  Anyway, today we had to run to town to get a couple of things at the store so we stopped at the playground on the way.  This playground was put in with money raised at a Memorial Golf Tournament.  In 2006 or 07 a couple lost their baby shortly after he was born, so to keep his memory alive they started up an annual golf tournament and the money raised goes back to their small town. From those funds they built this playset.  It's a really neat set, the boys just loved it!

One of the neat things about this playset is it's location -- it's right next to Dad's elementary school!  I remember playing on the old playground equipment when I was a kid (the jungle gym, monkey bars, swing set) so it's neat to come full circle with the boys.  I think we're going to meet Mom and Dad there for a picnic lunch or supper sometime so the boys can play, it'll be a fun time to listen to Dad reminisce.

I hope you're enjoying this beautiful day, the weather is almost perfect today!

Clothesline, Anniversary and Lunch

Dear Grandma,
I finally have my clothesline!  I've waited 5 long years to have another one since moving out of our first house, and now I have one!  Dad made it for me, told me it was my housewarming gift. So today I was finally able to hang the boys' sheets out to dry -- this will be the first time in their lives that they've had line dried sheets and clothes, isn't that a crazy thought?  It surprises me how many people do not have a clothesline.  But in our new neighborhood almost all of the houses have a line in their backyard and about half of them use them.  I am so excited to bring Aiden's comforter in this afternoon and put it on his bed!  It's the little things for me. :)

We went to meet Andy for lunch today.  It's been hard to not get to see him a few times during the week for lunch so it was a nice treat for all of us.  We went to a restaurant that is a lot like one of our favorite restaurants in our hometown.  The pizza was really good!  And they have sandwiches and steaks, too.  That town has such a cute downtown area, I hope they have a committee to keep it looking nice and moving forward.

Met another neighbor today, although this gal lives a few blocks away.  Her mother-in-law lives across the street from us but is currently in a long term care unit.  They found she has cancer and are treating it.  She is 90 years old and up until she went to LTC she push mowed her own lawn!  This gal said her MIL is a spunky gal, I hope I get to meet her and that she gets to move back home.

Today is my 1 year anniversary of staying home with the boys.  I can't believe it's been a year already!  It's been challenging, for sure, but I am so happy that I have been given this opportunity.  I love spending time with the boys and I love that we can go do whatever we want to now (visit family, go to the park, get groceries, etc).  I wish I could ask you how it was for you when you raised your boys.

I'd better go get the kitchen cleaned up.  Talk to you tomorrow,

Making New Friends

Today we met up with an old classmate of mine who's little boy will be in Kindergarten with Aiden.  The boys hit it off and seemed to really get along well.  They both love to be outside so it was a match made in heaven.  My classmate, Brooke, brought along her sister-in-law, Jill, and her 2 little girls.  All 6 kids played and played and played.  And I was able to have some adult conversation without one of the boys begging to leave.  Jill grew up here and Brooke has lived here for quite a few years so they both have a lot of knowledge about the town and people here.  It's nice to finally know some 'locals.'

Yesterday my mom came over to help me in my overgrown flower beds.  The previous homeowners didn't have a lot of time to garden -- they had 4 year old triples and a 2 year old.  Needless to say all the flower beds are overgrown and just need to be redone. So my mom came over while Brennan napped and we dug and dug and dug....and dug some more.  The one bed we worked in is about 15'x8'.  It has 3 big spirea bushes in a row planted from the back to the front, which seemed really strange to us. And it had hostas overtaking the rest of the bed.  So we decided after we finally get some rain to soften the ground we'll dig up 2 of the spireas and plant them next to the other one forming a back border along the house.  We dug up most of the hostas and while doing this found 2 little rose bushes that were hidden among the hostas and being eaten alive by them.  One is about to bloom so after that has happened I'll transplant it to a better spot within the bed.  We moved a birdbath to this bed to give it a centerpiece and in the spring I'll go to our Master Gardener's annual sale and buy up a bunch of beautiful plants to complete this bed.  For right now it looks a little empty, but give it a year and it'll be amazing! 

State Fair Fun!

We had a fabulous day at the State Fair Saturday! The weather was beautiful, the crowd wasn't so big that you couldn't walk down Main Street, the boys were really good and had a lot of fun and the food, as always, was delicious!  I had my hot beef sundae so I can live through another year.

This year, for the first time, we went down "The Big Slide".  It was FAST!  First my husband and oldest son went.  They held hands on the way down.  (They are the 2 on the left hand side of picture, right in the middle.)

Then I took our youngest.  When we finally made it to the top I looked down and thought "Is he going to scream from terror or laugh the whole way down?"  My husband said he had a big smile on his face the whole way down, but you'd never know it from the pictures Andy took.  He's not the best photographer. :)

All four of us climbed on all the John Deere equipment and the boys got funny foam J.D. visors (you can't see it in these pics but the back has a deer tail sticking up, pretty cute!).  Brennan wasn't happy that we made him sit for a picture, he wanted to sit up in that big 'ol Deere!

We arrived at 9 and left at 2, same as every year.  And we even thought we walked slower and added a couple new buildings to walk thru.  One of my favorite buildings to walk through is the 4-H building, it always gets me motivated to make a quilt or refinish some furniture.  But I have set a goal for myself first -- I have to finish all of my unfinished sewing projects first.  Now I know what I'll be doing during Brennan's nap when Aiden starts school next week! 

All in all, another successful year at the fair.

What's for supper?

Does anyone else struggle with coming up with supper ideas?  I have found making a weekly menu before I go to the grocery store helps me quite a bit (it also saves me money because then I just buy what I need for these meals and not random ingredients hoping they'll turn into something amazing to feed my family).  But this week I ran out of ideas so I didn't make a menu.  And now it's almost 1 in the afternoon and I have nothing thawed or even imagined for supper.  I always seem to have a harder time coming up with meal ideas in the summer because I just don't feel like cooking.  It's so much easier in the fall and winter when you want to fix something hearty to warm you up from the inside out. 

Tomorrow we are going to our state fair.  There is a chance of spotty showers in the morning but there are so many buildings to go in and explore that I don't think that will be a problem.  I am excited to watch the boys experience the fair.  Aiden remembers some things from last year but now that he is 5 I think he will really hold on to his memories of our day and look back on it for years to come.  I remember going with my parents and sister as a kid.  We didn't go every year but when we did it was always the same -- we always ate at the same booth, always walked the same route, always ran into my grandpa picking up as many pens and pencils as he could from the different booths.  Aww, memories. They keep you warm at night. :)

Old Friends and New Friends

Another perk of living so close to home is getting to see old friends again.  Only now we have kids and they get to form a friendship.  This morning an old friend of mine, Lexie, and her two kids, Hannah and Eli, stopped by with a plate full of delicious brownies.  Our kids had never met before so it was fun to see how quickly they took to each other.  Hannah is the oldest of the group, she is one year older than Aiden.  And Eli is a few months older than Brennan.  I think they'll be good buddies for years to come. 

The weather here this week has been amazing!  70's and sunny, no humidity.  We've had a very hot, humid summer so this has been a nice reprieve.  The boys and I ran to town today to run a couple of errands after our friends left and stopped by the park to play.  They had a great time running and going down the slides.  It's been so nice to be able to stay outside as long as we want and not feel like we're melting.  We haven't been for a walk since we've moved, I think tonight would be a perfect night to get that started again.

Rectory Down!

Today the boys and I went to watch our church's rectory be torn down.  Our church is going through a growing phase where they have added a hall onto the church, connecting it to the school next to it, which provided office and gathering space for our congregation and church employees.  Now they are tearing down the old rectory that sits next to the church to create more parking space.  I don't have any emotional attachment to the building but it was still a little hard watching it be torn down. My husband and I had our pre-marriage counseling there and also took our baptism class there for our oldest son.  It was built in the early 1900's so it had a lot of beautiful woodwork in it.  A couple in our parish who are building a house were able to salvage the old staircase and some of the wood trim from the house to put into their new house - I would love to see how that all comes together!  Another parish member salvaged all of the bathroom fixtures (toilet and all).  It's neat to think that some parts of this old house will live on.

I wish I had taken my camera, my boys and their cousin had a lot of fun while they were tearing that old house down by.... playing with their tractors!  I thought they would have thought it really neat to see that excavator tearing into that house but no, they were more interested in planting their fields and hauling their grain. Boys. :)

Moved In

For the last 5 years we have lived an hour away from our family, and for the last 5 years all I wanted was to move back home.  It's finally happend ... almost!  We are about 20 minutes away from our hometown now and are all adjusting very well to living in a small town again.  This small town, though, is SMALL.  There are 1000 residents in this town, compared to about 7500 in our hometown, and over 100,000 in the city we moved from.  There is a small grocery store, but it seems to only have the essentials.  There is a gas station, a post office, a school and an auto body shop.  But there is not a Target or WalMart, well known grocery store or restaurant.  Everyone in town is used to driving the 20 minutes to our hometown for groceries, eating out, etc so we will get used to it as well.  That has been the hardest adjustment for me.  I make a list for everything so when I do make the weekly trip to twon I don't forget anything.  I do love a small town, though, and won't have any trouble fitting in. 

One of the funniest things about moving to a small town is that everyone knows who we are already, but of course we know none of them.  Everyone is very friendly and I am sure it won't take long to get to know people.  The hardest thing will be to remember both their names -- yes, I said both.  Everyone here seems to have a nickname (will they give me, my husband and my kids one?). 

On a different note, my mom came yesterday to pick up my oldest son, Aiden, for a sleep over and some Grandma spoiling.  (That's one of the many exciting things about being so close to family again, they can drop in and visit or pick up the grandbabies whenever they want!)  She also picked up my nephew, Charley, so I'm sure the boys have been playing outside on the farm since they got there.  It's been nice and quiet around here -- I haven't had to break up any fights between Aiden and my youngest son, Brennan.  This has also been a nice trial run for me and Brennan for when Aiden starts kindergarten in 2 weeks.  We have had fun playing outside, cleaning the house (Brennan LOVES to help clean) and breaking down boxes from our move.  My folks will bring Aiden back tonight around supper time.  My dad made me some clothesline poles so him and my husband are going to 'plant' them tonight.  I can't wait!  I've begged for a clothesline for Mother's Day for the last 3 years but instead I was given them by my dad for a housewarming gift! Thanks, Dad!

While Brennan is napping I'd better get a few more boxes unloaded.