Friday, December 14, 2012

My Boy is Nine

Nine years ago, we welcomed a tiny baby boy into our lives.

Nine years ago, our lives were changed forever.

I wrote last year on his birthday about all of the things I love about Owen.  You can read that post here.

Last year, he was settling into second grade in Tennessee.  This year, he's settling into third grade in Ohio.  Moving can be hard on some kids, but Owen has adjusted well.  He's playing basketball again this year, and is finally starting to get the hang of it!
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I'd have to say that his favorite part of living in a new place would be discovering all new kinds of insects!  Owen really doesn't like to be in the house.  Most days you can find him digging in the dirt for bugs, or creating new trails in the woods behind our house with the other kids.

If you haven't played Owen in chess yet, you should!  He is very good, and even beats most adults he plays.  He'll even throw a bit of trash talk into the game, to frustrate you even more!  And books?  I can't keep enough books around here to satisfy him!  He reads before bed, in the car, at school, and I've even caught him waking up early to read before school!

Owen is a very smart kid, able to recite facts about bugs and animals that he reads about in books or learns in school.  The things he remembers amaze me!    Currently in our house we have three turtles, a bean plant (grown from seed by Owen), a meal worm (that we feed small pieces of apple-also an experiment by Owen) and two avocado pits that we're trying to grow (thanks to Papa).  It's kind of like our own little laboratory here! 

He continues to be a fabulous big brother.  Just a couple of weeks ago, he helped welcome his fourth sibling!

These last nine years have flown by, but they've been fun-filled.  He's got a joke for every situation, and often a scientific fact to accompany it.  He's quiet and polite when he needs to be and rowdy and loud from time to time, too. 

Owen is destined for greatness-I just know it. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

All the Way to Five

Last year, when I posted about Greyson's fourth birthday, I talked about how he had gone from the toddler stage to the boy stage.  Well, this past year has been full of changes as well.  Sure, he's grown physically, but I think the experiences he's had have really changed him the most.

We went to Michigan to celebrate his birthday last year.  You can read all about it here.  Looking back, he seems so little.

For Halloween, this little monkey went trick-or-treating in Tennessee with some new friends.

Greyson attended school at The Red Barn in Tennessee, and he loved showing his little sister off whenever he could...

 ...but he always made sure to tell Mom goodbye through the window.

We headed back to Michigan for Thanksgiving, and Greyson got to meet his newest little cousin, Greer.

Another boy to play with is always welcome, even though he has tons of fun with his big brother, Owen.

 At Christmas, Grey helped decorate our tree in Tennessee...

...and went bowling for the first time ever in Michigan.

In January, he went roller skating for the first time-NO FEAR!

And then, in March, we headed to Florida to play in the ocean...

...followed by a trip up to the cabin to play in the deep snow.

After celebrating Easter in Tennessee, we learned that we'd soon be moving to Ohio.

So, we decided to cram in all the fun we could while we were still in Tennessee.  There were trips to the honky-tonks in Nashville:

Trips to our favorite little beach and lake:

Trips to our favorite local parks:

And a final trip to Jazz on the Lawn:

And just like that, our time in Tennessee was over.  We packed up and headed north to Ohio, spent a few days unpacking and getting settled, and then headed to Michigan.  Memorial Weekend on the lake is a MUST.  Besides, it's too cold up there in the winter to do this:

We spent a lot of time on the lake this year, staying on the beach every day until the sun went down.

But we also spent some time in Ohio, finding new favorite places.  There's a park less than two minutes from our house:

There's a great little place to fish nearby, too:

And the zoo is close enough to visit whenever we're in the mood:

Greyson also started preschool at a new school this year.  He's fitting in nicely and making lots of friends.

And that Spiderman birthday party that didn't happen last year?  Well, this year it was ON, full-force.

He's still the wild and crazy and loud kid he was last year-maybe even more so.  He still hits the ground running every morning, not stopping until bedtime.  He's still giving me grey hair-I'm sure that will never change.  But he's also smart and funny and kind and loving.  It's been a busy year, and I'm sure there's more of that in store for us.  If anyone loves to be busy, it's Greyson.  It's hard to hold a good man down, you know?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Time Moves On

A year ago, we were downtown Nashville, taking Nana and Grandpa around to all of our favorite little places.

Five years ago, we were awaiting the arrival of our third child, Greyson.

Seven years ago, we were enjoying the everyday life with two young children.

Eight years ago, we were parents to one, and were taking our first trip on our Harley.

Nine years ago, we were anxiously anticipating becoming a family of three.

Eleven years ago, we were newlyweds. Jason was busy building houses, and I was teaching Spanish at an elementary school in Flint.

To be specific, I was teaching Spanish to a second grade class, when the principal ducked his head into the room and whispered something to the homeroom teacher.  She quickly shared the news with me.  All we knew was that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.  Within minutes, parents began arriving at the school to pick up their children, and school was dismissed early.  I remember as I was driving home, that all the gas stations were overflowing with cars.  People were panicking.  No one knew what was happening.  It wasn't until I got home that I learned the entirety of what had happened.  It wasn't one plane-it was four.  It wasn't a tragic accident-this had been a planned attack.  New words, new people: Taliban.  Osama Bin Laden.  And then there were the stories.  I sat in front of the television for three days, listening to stories from sole survivors of entire floors of buildings; stories from wives who had lost husbands; stories from parents who had lost children; stories from people who hadn't yet learned the fates of their loved ones; stories of courage, defeat, despair.

Time has moved on from that fateful day eleven years ago, but life has been changed forever.  My children didn't live through the events of September 11, 2001.  They can never compare life before that day to life after that day, but they do know what happened on that day.  They don't understand why they have to take their shoes off to go through airport security.  They don't have stories of where they were at the exact moment they learned what had happened.  They don't know that those of us who lived through the attacks will never be the same.

The attacks changed our lives forever, but we will never forget.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New Arrivals

In March, on our trip to Florida, we took the kids to the local flea market.  I told the kids they could each pick ONE thing as a souvenir.  So, after wandering through the shops, thoroughly examining EVERY item, the kids made their choices: Alayna, a necklace; Greyson, a seashell-filled dolphin bottle opener; Emerson, a women's silk nightie (yes, she wears it ALL the time); and Owen, a turtle.

A real, live, yellow-bellied slider turtle, about the size of a half dollar.  His first real pet, named Slippy. 


Slippy traveled from Florida to Tennessee, Tennessee to Michigan, Michigan to Tennessee, Tennessee to Ohio, Ohio to Michigan and Michigan back to Ohio.  I'm pretty sure that Slippy was the most well-traveled turtle EVER. 

He was also the most-loved turtle ever.  Owen was so good with him.  He'd play with him every day, taking him outside to give him some sunshine and exercise; he'd dig up worms from around the house to feed him; he'd even catch flies inside the house and incapacitate them just enough so they couldn't fly, but would still be appealing to Slippy. 

In July, after a week in Michigan, we returned to Ohio with Slippy, but he wasn't the same.  He didn't want to eat and he barely moved.  On a Sunday afternoon, sweet Slippy passed away.  We chose a spot in the backyard to bury him, with all of his favorite rocks surrounding him.  I'm here to tell you, there's never been four more-distraught children than mine that day.  Slippy was a part of our family and they didn't understand why he died.

After QUITE a few sleepless, tear-filled nights by Owen, and occasionally the other three kids, we looked into getting a new turtle.  It turns out, you can purchase turtles online and have them shipped to you.  WHO KNEW?!  So, I placed the order this past Saturday, and received confirmation yesterday that our turtles, yes, turtles with an "S", were on their way to us. 

You would have thought last night at our house was CHRISTMAS EVE.  Owen was SO excited, he couldn't sleep.  He was up very late, almost in tears with anticipation.

This morning, before 10am, our doorbell rang.  THEY WERE HERE.


I held my breath as I slowly opened the package, PRAYING that I would find the three turtles ALIVE...


We opened the tiny container, and lo and behold, three living turtles were waiting to meet us.  We pulled the purple fuzz off of them and set them carefully into their new home.  They looked quite dry, so we added some water and they were happy.


As they swam, the kids quickly named them.

May I introduce:





and Brownie:


The new additions seem pretty happy in their new home, and my kids are elated to have some new little pets to call friends.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012


It's the middle of July.  In another month, the kids will be heading back to school.  We've been hard at work here in Ohio, making this place our own, but that doesn't mean we haven't had fun, too.  Actually, a lot of our time has been spent in Michigan.  We have gotten TONS of time up at the cabin, where days are filled with all sorts of fun.

This summer has been unbelievably hot-even in Northern Michigan.  On the hottest days, we go right from our pajamas to our bathing suits and spend all of our time in the lake.

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We even snuck back into the water a few nights after dinner and swam until dark! IMG_0830 IMG_1093 IMG_0856 IMG_1061 IMG_1072
Of course, I got some fishing in with Owen... IMG_4663
And on his last cast of the night, he hit the jackpot!
We did manage to have a couple of bonfires, but it was SO hot, we couldn't really enjoy them!
The nights are always late ones, and most mornings are pretty lazy, but we always work our way back to the beach.
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When the beach gets too hot, we pile in the boat and cruise around the lake... IMG_0866 IMG_0992 IMG_0909
And we usually make a pit-stop to jump in! IMG_0891 IMG_0887 IMG_0881
 We also celebrated the Fourth of July with a late-night boat ride to watch the fireworks!
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We had a ton of fun spending time with family! The kids got so much time with some of their favorite cousins!
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 And when you're completely exhausted and need cuddles or just a quick catnap, there's always time for that, too. IMG_0827 IMG_0941 IMG_4650 IMG_4637 IMG_0905
 Mostly, it's just good to be together, having fun. IMG_1037 IMG_1087 IMG_0955 IMG_0805 IMG_0859
 It's always sad to leave, but we know we won't be able to stay away too long. After all, who can resist sunsets like this every night?