Rob and I have been married for eight years today. The time has gone by so fast, it's hard to believe. He actually joked this afternoon and said, "it feels like it's been 20 years Jen." Ha ha honey!
We met at the Residence Inn in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. If it hadn't been for some rash decisions on both of our parts, we wouldn't have ended up there at the same time, in the same training class.
But we did, and the rest seems to be history from there. :) Well, almost. Rob had to leave training after being there for just a few days. His mother had passed away in Germany, and needed to go there for a month. He left my roomate and I a note, said good-bye, and even called us from Germany. I don't think he did any of it for "us" though. I think he was secretly wanting to talk to me alone. ;) Well, I'll just keep telling myself that any way.
US Airways truly brought us together and I thank them everyday for that!
We are now living just a block away from the small church in this small town where we got married.
I am so blessed and thank God everyday for how my life , our life, has turned out.
God has called us to be blessings, and we are. We bless many people in big ways as well as little ones that seem insignificant. However, no blessing is insignificant. No blessing goes unnoticed by our Father. How have you been a blessing this week? I look forward to reading all about it on your blog. :-)
I would like to share this Meme that my great friend Dawn has come up with. It is all her own, she came up with this idea herself, and I want to be the first to say that I think it is a FABULOUS idea! I am excited to participate in this every week, and I pray that others will follow soon after as well. Thank you dear Dawn for sharing this idea, and may it be a blessing to all of you who participate. I know it will be for myself. My post is below.
This past week has been emotionally rough for Rob's parents. John, Rob's dad, was diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphoma 8 years ago. It has been in remission for 7 years now, but after an X-ray that showed a spot in his left lung, emotions and nerves have run high for the two of them for the past couple of weeks. This past week on Friday, he was to have a C.T. scan done on that lung to find out more about the spot on his lung. Right before John and Donna left for the appointment , I went to each of them individually and gave them a big hug and reassured them that everything would be alright, now matter what happens. Donna is just trying to stay strong on the outside even though on the inside she may be screaming and crying for everything to be alright. I just can't imagine. I feel that showing them how much I care through my words and actions, that maybe I was a blessing to them at that moment. I'd like to think I was any way. ;)
This meme has gotten me to look at everything I do, big or small, in a different way. Let's just say, it is changing my perspective a little bit. I hope and pray that God gives me the strength, power, and willingness to be a blessing in my family's life everyday that he gives me the chance to be.
My oh my, I used to be so good at updating my blog and making sure I announce or write about those special moments or momentous occasions. Well, I am not so great at keeping up anymore. I forgot to write a post about something very special that happened yesterday. Somethingremarkable, unbelievable, and quite frankly,unbearable.
What are you talking about you say? Well, I am talking about our little munchkin Ariana turning FIVE YEARS OLD!! AHHHH! Talk about scary! Where did the time go? I am not quite sure, but the three words I used above (ya know the ones highlighted in yellow) say it all, my feelings wrapped up into those three words.
It seems here lately time has just flown by, like a book off of a bookshelf thrown by a mysterious force. Scary!!! Scary how time is doing just that.
I had her on a Friday, one night after trick-or-treating in our neighborhood. They had it early that year. High school football is on Friday nights, and in Western Pennsylvania, you don't skip High School football, not even for trick-or-treating. So instead of having it Saturday the 30th they had it on the 28th. Rob took Ella and Gabriel out to collect candy while I stayed home and passed it out. At that time Gabriel was 2 and Ella was just 13 months old. So hard to believe. I felt fine that evening and even that night. I even had Rob take a couple of pictures of my pregnant belly that night. After 9 months I realized we hadn't gotten a picture of me pregnant with Ariana. Well, it's just a good thing we did because the next morning, while Rob was working 2 hours away, I started to have contractions. At the time, I didn't think I was going into labor. I denied it all day to my friends and family, telling them I was just in pre-labor and that the contractions weren't "the real thing". If it wouldn't have been for some local friends, I don't know if I would've made it to the hospital on time. Rob had to drive in traffic 2 hours to get home. When he arrived, I was in a chair, kids running wild, with our friends waiting for Rob to get home. I could barely breathe I was having so many contractions. When we got to the hospital, I was 3 or 4 centimeters dilated.
I had her just before midnight. She came quicker than her brother and sister, and she is still just as quick now a days.
Ariana, like our other children, has her own unique traits that make her who she is . I wouldn't take any of them away or add a bit. She is our youngest little princess!
She had a great birthday-day though. :) She celebrated her big day at school with cupcakes, juice boxes, and games. She also got to visit daddy and Maw Maw at work, and went to McDonald's two times! It was quite a busy day for her.
She will have her official birthday party on Sunday, which she has themed Dora. It should be a blast for her and I will post pictures next week.
So we had our yearly visit to a pumpkin patch this year. It was our first time going to one here in Illinois! We went to a place called Bandy's Pumpkin Patch. It was a blast for the kids. They have the works; A playbarn with a big slide, tubs of corn to play in, and bouncy house. They also have a corn maze , hayride, and snack stand filled with delicious food and drink. We also went with their cousins Brittany and Landon, Uncle Brian and Aunt Sheila, and Maw Maw. We look forward to doing this every year and making it a new tradition! Enjoy the pictures!
The picture above is Ella with her cousin Brittany and Maw Maw peeking through!
Here are all four kids playing in the corn. Landon on the left, Ariana on her belly in the black jacket, Ella , And Gabriel on the right.
Gabriel's turn for the slide!
Ariana in the corn.
Ariana's turn on the slide. They had a blast!
I just had to take a picture of the pumpkins that seemed to go on forever. They just kept going, and going, and going, and going....
One last phot- op on our way out of the pumpkin patch. One thing we didn't do-get a picture of Rob and I with the kids. That's a tradition and we forgot to do it! Oh well, next time!
The kids showing off their pumpkins. They each got to pick one for their Mr. and Mrs. Potato head pumpkin kits. I will post pics of that too. :)
Inside the hayride and all the corn we were surrounded by. The kids kept trying to reach out and grab an ear or two! I quess they were hungry!
Here is the crew: Rob, myself, Ella (drinking hot cocoa), Ariana (behind me), Gabriel, Aunt Sheila, Uncle Brian and Landon. Their Paw Paw was working and Maw Maw was the one taking the picture.
Ella on the amazing slide they had. They loved that thing!
Me with Ella and Ariana. Rob had a hard time getting this cause he was sitting close to me. If only Ariana would've looked at the camera...Could you tell it was a little bright?
This a picture of Gabriel's badge he won doing the corn shooter. It was pretty neat. You stick an ear of corn in this shooter, aim and fire. He hit the target on the first try , and that target was pretty far. He was so proud.
Here is the proud little man!
Inside the playbarn they had huge tubs filled with corn for kids to play in (adults optional). Here is a picture of Ella in one of them. She doesn't look thrilled, but she was having a great time in the corn. They kept burying themselves in it.
So, it's that time of year again. Fall comes, winter soon after, and we look in our closets and think, "I need something different". Whether it's a new shirt for the new season, a pair of shoes, maybe spurlge and get a new handbag. I myself, am very practical though. Being a stay-at-home mother has made me that way. Jeans and a sweater with a pair of cute boots in the cooler seasons, tee shirt and jeans or capris in the summer and spring. Well, I have changed a bit this season. Maybe it's because we have just moved and Rob and I are getting out a little more since we have free sitters. I don't know. What I do know is I want, want, want! I was on MSN just a little bit ago and I saw a headline that said, Voque's 20 under $100 fall essentials. Like I said, it's not that I don't like fashion, I love it! I wish I could just go shopping for clothes with no spending limit! My job just doesn't demand me to have the latest trends on hand. ;) So let me get to it. I love these two things that you see below. They look great together! The scarf is from target, which I could do. The boots are priced at $90 though, but I love the look! I don't know when or where I would wear them, but I would make a date with my husband so I could wear it! I don't even know how to put on a scarf like that, but heck, I would figure it out! So now I want to go buy these things. Even though I want or can't , I have officially been suckered in!
So as you can see by these most bee-utiful pictures, our little Ella has lost her first tooth! I blogged about it a few days ago, but I didn't have any pictures. So to recap, she lost her first tooth on her 6th birthday, which was last Friday the 18th. The tooth itself was dying, and had been looser than loose for a good two months, so we decided to do it the old fashioned way and just pull it out. Now, after seeing it bleed the day before from my first attempt to pull it, and hearing the squeals coming from Ella, I decided to ask for help this time. Her cousin Brittany gladly helped out and Ella was thrilled she lost her first tooth! She came running in the room yelling, " I lost my first tooth! I lost my first tooth! Finally!" She was thrilled and so were we. Her "big girl tooth" was already growing in behind it and had been doing so for a while. These milestones in our children's lives, they never get old, never seem to repeat, with each child that goes through these milestones. They are always new and special, and it is amazing to watch. Now Ella is such a big girl. Turned six, lost a tooth, learned to ride a bike with no training wheels a couple of months ago, and on top of those things, she learned how to tie her shoes. She had been practicing at school she said, during movies and times like that. As of yesterday, she got it down pat. I can't believe what I see before my eyes. Our children are growing up so fast...too fast. God bless 'em though. They seem to already know where they want to go and where they want to be. Lord watch over them everyday, always.
So starts one of my favorite times of the year, but my favorite season by far. Today is the first day of fall, and although I am not sure who may be reading this, I want to wish you the many joys that this season has to offer. Go for a walk and collect leaves with your children. Head out to a local orchard or pumpkin patch and pick an apple or two. Or simply look around at everything fall. Or do what I love to do. Take a drive during the peak season, and take it all in. All the wonder of this lovely season. Who would think that the leaves are dying in the fall. They are so beautiful. It is truly a gift from God. Enjoy all..enjoy fall. I know I will.
Well, this weekend has been a very busy weekend! It started off on Friday, which was Ella's birthday. The kids didn't have school, so that made it extra special. We started the morning with Ella's choice of breakfast, which was cinnamon rolls. She got a blue candle (her favorite color) in one of her cinnamon rolls, and I lit it and we all sang Happy Birthday. Who says you have to wait for the birthday party?
Later in the morning, I asked Ella to open her mouth so I could check out her loose teeth. She had four loose teeth at the time. Well, the really loose tooth on the bottom of her mouth had turned black. I am assuming that it died, probably from the pull I gave it the day before. It didn't budge but it made a popping sound. It was ready to come out but it started bleeding so I stopped. I am a weak mommy! Any way, I went to her cousin Brittany and told her about the situation. I also told Rob and he agreed that it needed to come out. Well, I couldn't bring myself to pull at it anymore, so Brittany agreed to pull it out. She left the room with Ella, and they both came back with a huge grin. Ella looked at us and said, "My loose tooth is gone! I lost my first tooth!" Brittany had pulled it out with no pain felt by Ella! And it didn't bleed! I quess the pull I had given it the day before knocked it out just about. It took someone other than mommy to finish the job though!
So after a playful, eventful daytime on Friday with their cousin Landon (and little rest time), Maw Maw treated the kids to their favorite indoor play place called Extreme Sports. They had a ball, literally. Ella was very happy about her special day, and that's what counted most.
Saturday morning we were all bracing for a busy day. It started with an early wake up to get ready to go to the Apple Festival Parade in Murphysboro, Il. It is considered the biggest parade in Southern Illinois, and is a joy for both children and adults. We parked at Rob's cousin's house and were set to walk about a block. Well, we ended up needing to walk a little further that, about 8 blocks further I believe. It was a perfect day for it though. The sun was beating down at one point and it was already beginning to feel unbearable out. Then the clouds rolled in and allowed everyone to march and watch in comfort. It was great. Apples were handed to the kids, one at a time. Flags were passed out, tee shirts were thrown, as well as candy of course. It was simply great. It lasted almost 2 hours! It was sooo worth it though.
After the parade we headed for pizza hut for lunch. With full bellies and tired bodies, we headed home. One adult (myself) and two children slept on the drive home. What beautiful countryside we drove through! All of this is still new to me, you know, the corn fields and all. And the flat land. :)
With about an hour of rest after returning home, Rob, me and the kids got ready to head out again. This time, we were headed to a company picnic, brought to you by Rob's friend Jeff. Rob isn't with Jeff's company, but friends were invited as well. They rented out Rent One Park for the night, home of the Southern Illinois Miners minor leaque baseball team. About 150 people were there. There were toys and games for the kids in one area, and softball and kickball as well. The kids got to go out on the field for a game of kickball, and they didn't really know how to play but they had a blast! I think they were thrilled to just be out on the field. They were getting hot there, so God threw them a dose of rain. It rained pretty good for about 5 minutes and then stopped. Pretty soon after they were running through the stands to say they were done and ready to go home. :) It was a fun evening though, for both kids and adults. Rob and I got some time together and with other couples, just mingling and chatting. It was pretty nice, and a good end to a great day.
So we all got some rest Saturday night for Ella's party on Sunday. What a packed weekend, huh? Maw Maw cooked a great big breakfast for all of us. Their cousin Landon was over so the kids played while the adults enjoyed coffee and conversation. After we rounded up presents and decorations, we got the ball rolling for her party to start.
Ella picked a princess cake, so thanks to Wal-Mart, she had a beautiful cake with a light Cinderellla and two other princesses as well. Oh, what a great party she had! She dressed to the 9's and Brittany did her hair for her, just the way she wanted it; in pig tails! She looked absolutely beautiful! She is truly a girly girl! I will post pictures of all this later on this week.
After getting a quick preview of her cake, the present opening began! She got presents ranging from money, to headbands, a jewelery kit, and a make-your-own handbag kit. Rob and I plan to take her shopping with her birthday money next weekend. I would also like to put some aside into a savings account.
Her birthday was a blast for her though. She was pampered and spoiled, and it was truly her day. Well, her weekend! She enjoyed every bit of it and she was so enthusiastic about every present she opened. She is so sweet. She is our sweet little Ella, but not so little anymore. It is so sad to see them grow up, but so wonderful too. I still can't believe she is 6 years old already, with one less tooth.
On this day, 8 years ago, Rob and I woke up to a phone call to see if we were ok. Turned on the T.V., and we were both in shock...didn't think it was real, as we saw smoke coming from the first tower. Then we headed for the Doctor to find out ...that we were going to be parents in a few short months. Then it sank in some more. So sad to hear the commotion on the radio. Soon after, we saw a plane strike the 2nd tower. I think all of our loved ones called us at one time that day, not knowing if we were in the sky, on the ground, or where we were. I remember feeling so happy about our news, but I was in tears for what I was witnessing on the television. God bless all of those lost and the ones that lived. God is watching over you always, and he is comforting you and those that perished. We will never forget.
My family and I took our yearly trip down to see my sister. We went in June, I know, I am a little behind on posting pictures of things we have been doing. My mind has been a bit occupied, but I am trying to make an effort to get back into blogging. :) We had a great time, as always, and the hosts weren't bad either! We were able to stay for about 3 days, and it was worth it. My kids are getting to know their little cousins more and more each time they see each other. It is an awesome thing to see! Anna, my niece, is 5 and Ethan, my nephew, is 3. They are precious and I already miss them so much! Thank you all for being so hospitable, and we love you very much!
Here are just a few of the pictures I took while we were there. The kids were constantly outside running and playing. I wish they would do that at our house! They were worn out by the end of the night!
We also took a trip to the local pool, which I think was the hit of the trip. It was kind of cool out by the time we got there, but the kids could care less. We stayed for about 2 hours and they loved it! Gabriel practiced his swimming, Ella was introduced to the deeper end (4 ft.), and Ariana felt what it's like to be able to stand in the big pool! (3 ft.) The water came right up to her bottom lip, but bless her heart she walked around, spitting water out of her mouth and then swimming over to daddy!
Oh, and I forgot to mention, my sister and her husband have their own restaurant. Yeah and it's right in their back yard! 0 My brother-n-law grilled out 2 times while we there! Rob and I joked that it was their restaurant. :) Thanks again you guys!
Well enjoy the pictures!
All of cousins dancing around with their popsicles. They were waving to me from outside. From the left: Gabriel, Ella, Ethan, Ariana and Anna. Aren't they too cute?!
My niece Anna hanging out on the hammock. Good thing we don't have one, I think I'd be stuck on it all day. ; )
The girls with money Grandma gave them
Grandma gave the kids these squirt guns, but they weren't guns. They were like pumps. Anyway, you suck water up in them and push the opposite end, and here she is filling one up. Bad idea Grandma! What did they do then? Refer to the picture below this one.
Then there was also this: I love it!
Here is my sister icing Ethan's cake for his 3rd birthday party the next day. She did this late in the evening and I wanted to help out or watch, but I was resting in their chair with strep. I felt worse than earlier in the day and I felt so bad that I couldn't help more. She did an awesome job and I think I would like to start decorating cakes for our kids' b-days. It was awesome seeing Ethan's reaction to it and seeing how yummy it was to him! And she made it, she didn't buy it from Wal-mart like I usually do :) Thank you Wal-mart, but I really don't want you to make my kids' birthday cakes anymore. I want to!
Chowing down at the Birthday party.
Ethan opening his birthday presents at his party. I am so glad we were able to be there for it!
Peering into the pond below
Aunt Lori with the kids. Where? The hammock! I think she was half asleep ; )
Ella going through the "water park" at the pool. Jets, sprinklers, arches, water coming from everywhere in there! And I must say, I stepped in it for a second, and that water was freezing! Did they care? No, not really, especially my dear Ella. ;)
The kids minus Ethan. Right at this point they are watching my brother-n-law, Matt, do a dive off the board. He has a very unique dive if I do say so myself!
Rob with our kids in the three-foot side of the pool. You see how Ariana is holding on to him? She could barely stand in that depth. She felt insecure and scared so she kept going back to daddy. It was precious to watch. She'll get there though, that's what we kept telling her. Just don't grow up too quick sweety!
My sister and I at the end of the trip. Love you Lori!
Here I am outside with my girls, enjoying this beautiful day God has given us. As soon as I step out here I can feel my stresses, worries, and all the bad things in life melt away. This is what I need. It becomes a time to reflect without me realizing it. Just what I need. I know I need this time because I need to turn to God in times of worry and feeling weary. That is what he wants us to do and Lord, I am so sorry I haven't as much, but here I am. Please continue to keep your grip on me and hold it tight. I need you Lord and thank you for always staying right behind me.
Ella's last day of school! Here is the card that Rob and I gave her at Applebees after graduation. It was so bittersweet, we loved the teacher as well as the pre-school program itself. Ella spent 3 years there, repeating the 4 year old program because of her birthdate. Now, she's ready for kindergarten, and I mean ready!! She is already writing and even reading! She is beginning to recognize so many letters. We are so proud of her. She is ONE of our little princesses! Enjoy the pictures of Ella's graduation!Ariana and Ella with Mrs. Fairley after the graduation.
Ella on the far right with all of the girls of the class! These were her best friends, and a couple of them she's known for 3 years now! She will miss them so much!
Ella recieving her diploma. She was so proud!
On stage being introduced.
Putting on a show!
Singing and dancing!!
Ella being introduced. Mrs. Fairley introduced Ella as "Joy". She gave one word to each child to describe them in the classroom. That word fits her perfectly!
These two pictures were taken at Applebees also. She loved the attention, although her little sister was with us also. She knew it was her special day though! Oh, our little Ella!
Ariana's last day of school! They had a playdate at the park with all of the classmates. They had a blast! After the park we headed back to the classroom to say good bye to the teachers and they gave goody bags to all of the students. Ariana was in the 3 year old class and just loved every minute of it. She still asks when she's going to school. She says, " Mommy when am I going to go to stool." (school) I tell her it's over and that she will be going to a new school. That makes her a bit sad, but I reassure she will make new friends and have a new, wonderful school! Here are some pics of her last day!
Mrs. Fairley giving Ariana a good bye kiss, along with her goody bag. She is such a great teacher and we will truely miss her :( Ariana loved her class! Mrs. Fairley and others provided so much food, it was like a feast of snacks! Here are Ariana and Ella munching and feeling the heat! Boy was it hot outside. Ella striking a pose, of course! :) Ariana getting some assistance rock climbing! At the school picnic the last day school. There's Gabriel and Sam talking to Mrs. Mineard. She is wearing the pink sweater. He loved having her as a teacher!
With his friend Tabitha at the end of school. He is such a goof ball!
Gabriel going into school on his last day. :( I walked him into his class but I had to get a picture of him right outside the school. It was so bittersweet, more for me than him.
Another shot of Gabriel right outside the school. The bag he's holding is a gift for his teacher. He gave her a mini teacher plaque and a willow tree angel. The willow tree angel was holding a gift, symbolizing his teachers gift of teaching. He also made a card for her and we gave her one as well. It's the least I could do for her. She was wonderful with Gabriel, and the entire class as well. What more could you ask for!
I am the luckiest and most blessed woman that I know. I have a wonderful husband that I've been married to for 7 years, and we are raising three healthy, beautiful children here in Southern Illinois. I get to stay home with them and have been doing so since I was pregnant with our oldest child. It is so wonderful but the most challenging thing I've ever done.
I am ready for everything this life has to offer. I'm looking forward to traveling with the kids more as they get older. I want to show them everything, including countries abroad. My husband is half German, so introducing them to that is very important. I also look forward to spending more time with Rob. That time will come some day, I just know it will!
With all of the crazy times in this household, God is the center of our family and keeps us going through it all.
So to all who are reading, I hope you enjoy my blog, and thanks for visiting!