Monday, September 17, 2012

My Little Girl Turned 5

Well, it's been about 6  weeks, but on August 1st my little girl turned 5. I mentioned we celebrated her birthday in Florida at the Magic Kingdom. That was just our family celebration, and she really wanted to have a party with friends. Since we had done the big Disney celebration, I told Emmaline that we could do a small celebration at the park in our neighborhood with a few friends. After just getting back from vacation I knew I wouldn't feel like having my house trashed by a bunch of kids or feel like making a ton of food. We had the party the weekend after we got back, and ended up doing it on a Friday evening. She was fine with having it at the park and it ended up working out perfectly!

We went with the Minnie Mouse theme this year since just returning from Disney. I really wanted to do cupcakes and keep it real simple at the park, but I ran across a cake on Pinterest (don't you just love Pinterest?) that I fell in love with and Emmaline loved too. So I knew my little girl had to have it for her party. I had the teacher that made Evan's Tigers cake last year make Emme's cake. It really turned out fabulous. I was very pleased, and it tasted delicious too! Here's the Minnie Mouse cake!

Isn't it fabulous? I loved it and so did my little "Minnie Mouse." Emmaline had 7 friends come and they played at the park first, then we had a few light snacks, and presents and cake time. It was a nice little celebration, and I was so glad we decided to do it at the park. It was nice and close to home, and after the party we came home to a clean house and no mess to clean up. I joked that Evan might have to wait and celebrate his birthday in the summer so we can go to the park too. Haha! Here's a few pics from the "Minnie" celebration at our neighborhood park.

My little Minnie Mouse and her birthday cake. (We had a bit of a wind issue at the park and the box caught the top of the ears so they started to fall.)
The kids piling up on the slide!
 Emmaline and her best bud Chloe
 Opening presents with friends!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Florida Family Vacation

As I mentioned in my previous post. We took a family vacation over the summer that I wanted to share a little bit about with you. We went back and forth about when and where we were going to go on our summer vacation. We thought about going to Hershey, Pennsylvania or Orlando and doing the whole Disney thing. Since both kids had baseball/t-ball the whole month of June, we knew we couldn't go until late July or sometime in August. After finally figuring out when we would go, we decided on where to go. As most of you already know from seeing all my pics on Facebook, we ended up doing the whole Disney trip.

We planned to drive down to Florida and knew it would take us two days. We left on July 28th (Saturday) at about 6:30am. Greg and I have driven to Florida many times and always go down through Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and into Florida. This time though we decided to go a different way. I ran across a new route while on Google Maps and discovered we could go through Ohio, the Virginia's, Carolina's, Georgia, and into Florida that way, and it took about the same amount of time. We've never been to many of those states so we figured, why not head that way and check it out. It ended up being a beautiful drive through the mountains and we absolutely loved it! We made out first day the long day and drove until about 9pm that Saturday night. We stayed in South Carolina. On day two we stopped in Jacksonville Beaches to see my dad and step-mom. They were on vacation there and were leaving to go home that day, but we got there early enough to see them at the hotel they were staying at. It was right on the beach and the kids got to visit the ocean for the first time ever! They dipped their feet in the Atlantic Ocean and collected some seashell. They absolutely loved it! We stayed for a couple hours and then headed onto our hotel in Orlando. Here's my two travelers checking out the salt water.
My dad graciously got us a hotel for the week at the Marriott Springhill Suites which was only 5 minutes from Disney. We got settled in and then decided to take the kids to Downtown Disney that evening. We ate at Planet Hollywood, the kids first time there, and then toured some of the shops at Downtown Disney. We had a busy week ahead at Disney World, as well as a stop at Legoland, and SeaWorld so it was early to bed that night. Our first full day in Orlando, Monday, we headed to Hollywood Studios. The kids absolutely loved it! Much was the same as I remembered from 11 years ago, but there was also a lot of new things. Tuesday, we made a 45 minute drive south of Orlando to Legoland in Winter Haven. Evan really wanted to go to Legoland ever since he heard about it opening last fall. Since it ended up that we would be in Florida for Emmaline's birthday we figured we should do the one thing that he really wanted to do. Legoland was fun, and the kids enjoyed it. I personally have seen it/ done it and if we were to go back I'd rather do more at Disney or go to Universal which we didn't get the chance to do. Wednesday was our big big day. We planned to go to the Magic Kingdom since it was Emmaline's birthday and celebrate her big day turning 5 there. Dreams came true and she got to meet many of her beloved princesses. It truly was a magical day for her, as well as Evan. As a parent, I loved loved loved being able to see all the joy that Disney brought to them. We had a full day at the park and I made reservations before we left for vacation to take Emme to a dessert firework party that night for her birthday. We all were able to finish off our wonderful day and Emme's birthday, and enjoy a buffet of desserts and watch the fireworks over Cinderella's Castle. Awesome!

After three full days at parks, we decided we needed a rest day. It was a lot for the kids to take in and we as well were tired! We took it easy on Thursday, and lounged at the pool in the morning. Then we decided to take the kids over to the City Walk at Universal so they could get a glimpse of what Universal/Islands of Adventure was like. Evan picked lunch at the NBA City Restaurant, and then we played mini golf and shopped at City Walk. Then we headed back to the hotel to chill a little before we went to a nice dinner that night (something that wasn't fast food or park food), and back to Downtown Disney for a bit. It was a much needed day of slowing down and relaxing a little to gear up for the rest of the week.

Friday we headed to Sea World and the kids really enjoyed all the animals. Once again we were at the park all day, and it was fun to watch the kids see Shamu for the first time. Saturday we headed back to Disney and went to Animal Kingdom. We headed straight for the Safari ride first and the kids really enjoyed it! So much we had to do it again before we left. One of the other favorite parts of Animal Kingdom was the Festival of the Lion King show. The kids were even lucky enough to be picked and be a part of the show. So awesome for them! It was nice that this park closed a little earlier, and were able to get out of there at a decent time.  We decided since we were done earlier than normal that we'd go check out some of the Disney Resorts. We walked around the Animal Kingdom resort which was fun to check out. Did you know you can get a room with a balcony that over looks the animals? Giraffes, zebras, etc. right outside of your room! Sunday was our last day and we spent it at Epcot. There were some things at Epcot that I remembered from years ago, but there were A LOT of things that I totally didn't remember or that were new! We had a wonderful last day and the kids had fun touring through the different countries.

Unfortunately Monday was our day to start heading home. We ended up kind of taking our time getting out of there. We made one final stop at Downtown Disney (I love that place) before getting on the road. The drive home seemed to be slower than the drive down. Mostly because we had to leave our wonderful vacation, but we did run into about 20 minutes of bad weather in Georgia that slowed us down. It poured like I've never seen before and I could barely see the road driving. SCARY! Thankfully it cleared up. We made it to Chattanooga, TN that night and called it a night. Our last day of vacation on Tuesday was driving the other half of the way home. We made one stop in Bowling Green, KY to meet another Emmaline. Yes, that's right. I met this gal through Facebook through another friend. Her name is Elaina and her daughter is also Emmaline Grace. Spelled exactly the same way. We never thought they'd meet, but since we were passing right through Bowling Green where they lived we figured it was the perfect opportunity. The girls enjoyed meeting each other. It was really nice to have the chance to do so. We made it home about 7pm Tuesday night.

I have to say the kids did a pretty good job two days in the car down, six parks in seven days (FULL DAYS), and two days in the car on the way home. They really are great travelers! It was such an amazing family vacation. Something I've always dreamed of doing with my kids. Greg really has never been a big Disney fan, but even he had a great time. It's something every parent should do with their kids! Dreams came true and wonderful memories were made! A big thanks to Greg's mom for helping us get there (she gave us money for Christmas last year to put towards vacation, and then she gave the kids money to put towards souvenirs their park tickets before we left. Also a big thanks to my dad and step-mom for redeeming some of their hotel points for us and getting us the hotel. Very much appreciated! And a huge thanks to Greg for making this possible for our family! I love that he let us choose Disney to go to! It will definitely be a vacation we'll never forget and a 5th birthday I'm sure Emmaline will remember forever! I took over 800 pictures on vacation so I'm just going to share a couple of my favorites here. :)

Our first day at Disney- Hollywood Studios (the backdrop if perfect!)
 Emmaline's Birthday at the Magic Kingdom!

The picture I really wanted of the kids in their Mickey/Minnie attire with Mickey & Minnie!
 Her favorite princess- Belle! I LOVE this pic. My favorite!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Kindergarten & Second Grade

Well hello! Gosh, it's been FOREVER since I've blogged. Like two months forever! It's crazy that my last post was about the last day of school, and now I'm back to talk about the first day of school. Yes, we've had a whole summer of fun things happening. Apparently my theory that summer went by way to fast is true, since I haven't blogged about any of it. I'm not going to even try to go back and cover all of summer, but there's a few highlights I really promise to share. Seriously I mean it. We went on vacation last month and I really want to share some of it. Plus my little baby girl turned five! Those will be my next posts, but for today I have to talk about the first day of school in 2012.

Yesterday was the first day of school, and it's a first day of school that I can't believe is happening already. I mean seriously, how did my two little bundles of joy grow up so fast? I'm still in denial that my babies are growing up, but it's true. Yesterday was the official day that both the kiddos are in elementary school! *Sniff, sniff. It seems like it was just yesterday that we were taking Evan to his first day of Kindergarten, and here we are taking my little baby girl to her first day of Kindergarten. Oh how time sure does fly! My little guy went off to his first day of second grade. I know, you can't believe it either right?

My little girl started her journey at the school Evan previously attended, Wilkshire Elementary. She got placed in Mrs. Mills class which we requested and are thoroughly overjoyed with. If you remember, Evan had Mrs. Mills for Kindergarten and we loved her! We are definitely looking forward to Emmaline's year in Kindergarten. This is the first year that Haslett has full day Kindergarten so totally different than when Evan was in Kindergarten. Because of this switch to full day, the first day of school yesterday was a little different for all the kindergarten classes. They went for about a half day and did what they call a "soft start." Parents went to school with their child in lieu of an open house before school started. It was a nice start for the first day, and I didn't have to leave my Emmaline ALL day. Today was the first full day for Kindergarten, and it was definitely harder on me than on Little Miss Independent. It didn't phase Em at all to leave mom and dad to head off to school for a full day. She was more than ready and couldn't wait to get her day started. That little stinker growing up so fast on me.

Evan as I mentioned headed off to 2nd grade, and with that brought a new school to attend. In Haslett there is a K-1 building and then the kids split off to a 2-5 building at either Ralya or Murphy. Evan is at Ralya, which is kind of weird for me. Ralya is where I did my student teaching 15 years ago. If you asked me back then if my kids would attend there someday, I probably would have said "No." It's weird to see how it's changed over the years, and see the classroom where I once taught. I'm delighted though that he's fortunate to be at a very good school. Not only is he at a great school, he lucked out getting the teacher we requested. I didn't know any of the teachers other than word of mouth from parents and other teachers. He is in Mrs. Zuke's class and two days in he already knows it's going to be a great year. He really likes his teacher. Evan had a full day yesterday which I was used to from him having a full day last year when he started first grade. I still missed him all day though since I was so used to having both kids home the last three months.

We experienced a first on the first day of school... RAIN! I always do the kids pictures outside before we leave for school on the first day, but this year we had to compromise and take them on the porch and inside. It was really dark out yesterday and raining. While I didn't get my normal shots, I did get some cute one's so I'll share a few with you.

My little Kindergartner
 My second grader
 Hugs for brother before we leave! (She gave Evan a big hug in the afternoon too when we picked him up because she really missed him.)
 Emmaline and Mrs. Mills
 Evan with Mrs. Zuke (this was taken at the Open House last week)
 And this picture... well this is when it was harder on me than Emmaline. Today when I dropped her off and waited for her class to leave the lunch room she was ready to go. She had this being a kindergartner down and was fine leaving momma. Ugh, how I missed her all day. She did great though and loved her first day. I'm sure over time I'll get used to it. I know she's in good hands, and she's going to have a wonderful school year!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Where Did June Go?

Well here it's is almost the 4th of July and it seems this oh so neglected blog was severely neglected for the month of June. Remember me telling you we would be having ball four nights a week for part of May and the month of June. Well, yep we did and it pretty much consumed our first few weeks of summer vacation. I think it's the fastest June I can ever remember. How it's July already is beyond me, but it is what it is. SUMMER, PLEASE SLOW DOWN! I'm going to "speed" through June so we can get to the more current stuff.  I never even blogged about the end of the school year for Evan so that's up first.

Evan was done with school on June 8th. That last week of school went fast of course. On Monday of that week there was an end of the year class party and all the kids in his class and his teacher put on a celebration for the parents. They show a video of different things they did throughout the school year. It was so crazy to see how much the kids had grown throughout the year. Then each student did a poem reading for their parents. Evan did a great job reading his poem that he wrote about baseball. At the end the class did a little skit about saying good bye to first grade and hello to second grade. They were all so cute! Once all that was over we got to go around the room with Evan and gather any of his work that was up, clean out cubbies, and there were refreshments of cookies and lemonade to end the day. It was a very nice celebration his teacher put together. Here's some photos of the first grade celebration.

Evan reading his poem
The class doing their skit!

 Enjoying some refreshments with sister!
 Evan and his teacher Mrs. Park

The last day of school was a little sad for a few reasons. One being that my little guy is growing up too fast and is going into 2nd grade already. Where does the time go? Two, in that we absolutely loved Wilkshire and the learning experience that Evan's had there in kindergarten and first grade. Now Evan leaves that school for a new school in second grade (It's only a K-1 building). Three, Emmaline will be starting at Wilkshire in the fall, and it would have been nice to have them both at the same school. Four, Evan had a wonderful teacher and a fantastic year in first grade with Mrs. Park. She does an excellent job with the kids and you can tell she really loves her job. We will miss the sports room tremendously! Bye bye first grade! I'm so proud of Evan and the terrific year he had in first grade. He once again had another perfect report to end the year. That makes 8 out of 8 perfect report cards between kindergarten and first grade. Here's a couple pics from the last day of school!
Evan and his "girlfriend" Jaidyn. It was "torture" getting them to take a picture together. LOL
 I now have a 2nd grader!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My Little Preschool Graduate

Last week was Emmaline's final week of preschool. The school year went fast that's for sure. Wednesday was her last "official" day at Miss Shirley's, and then on Thursday they had a preschool graduation. It was held at a park near school and there was a potluck lunch along with it. The weather was absolutely beautiful! A perfect day to be at the park! Miss Shirley goes all out for graduation and each of the kids got to wear a graduation cap and walk to get their "diploma." It was very very cute. Here's my little girl "graduating" from preschool.

Once all the kids walked to get their "diplomas," the teachers handed out their end of the year gifts.   Here's the whole class of graduates with their teachers.

After graduation we had the potluck lunch. Then the kids got to play for awhile. Here's Emmaline with a few of her friends- Chloe, Addison, and Sophia.

It's weird this week not having to go to Miss Shirley's. It was a fantastic year for Emmaline in preschool, and she's grown so much in her learning. She really is going to miss going to preschool, but is looking forward to kindergarten in the fall. I'm so glad we ended up sending her to Miss Shirley's. She loved it, and she had some wonderful teachers. Here's my little graduate with her three teachers- Miss Shirley, Miss Brie, and Miss Gail. Miss Brie came in the middle of the year and Miss Sallie (not pictured) left. We really missed Sallie the second half of the year.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mother's Day Weekend!

Here I am again! Doesn't seem like almost a month since I've blogged, but just goes to show how busy I've been. I've got a few things I want to write about, but first I need to catch up on Mother's Day weekend. That week prior to Mother's Day, I spent getting ready for a garage sale, finishing up the last week of dance class, and the start of t-ball and baseball practice. It was a non-stop week! I always forget how much work setting up for a garage sale is. Not to mention I'm a little anal when it comes to organizing things on the table. I had my sale on that Thursday and Friday. My mom came to help me with the sale which was much appreciated. We had a pretty successful Thursday. Friday was really slow in the morning and we ended up doing most of our sales in an hour and a half time frame in the afternoon. We ended up closing early since it was slow. Plus I had to get the kids ready for our big busy weekend!

Mother's Day weekend also meant the end of dance. The kids had their big dance recital on that Saturday. Friday night they both had rehearsal and had to go in full costume and hair done. Evan was fast to get ready, he can do it all himself. Emmaline on the other hand had to have her hair in a bun, make up on, and help with her tights and costume. For rehearsal each class just did one run through. Both kids did a good job with their songs. The rehearsal ended up not taking as long as we expected which was nice after a two long days doing the garage sale. We anticipated a long evening, but got home at a decent time.

Saturday was the big day with dance recital. There were two shows, one at noon and another at 6pm. Of course the kids had to be there a little early for both. I ended up helping as a backstage mom for the first show. I got to hang out in the back with Em's class and some of the other little girls. I was able to watch both kids perform from the side of the stage for the first show. Emmaline's ballet class performed to "Beauty and the Beast." Evan's hip hop class performed to "Where The Girls At." Both kids did a great job! They brought tears to my eyes. So proud! I give them a lot of credit for getting on that stage for the first time in front of 500+ people and dancing their hearts out! While I was at recital, Greg went to Menards and bought some wood and built me a raised garden that I've been asking for. More on that to come!

After the first show we got to come home for awhile before heading back for the 6pm show. This was the show we got to watch from the audience. My mom, sister, Kaite, and Greg's mom, went with us to the show. I was so excited to get to watch it the second time around from the audience instead of the side of the stage. I was a little nervous leaving Emmaline in the back for so long, but I knew she would be in good hands with other mom's and classmates. Evan I knew would be fine hanging with the boys. Both did good of course and I got to go check on them at intermission. The performances we ten times better from the audience versus watching backstage. Emmaline performed first and then Evan was a few songs after her. Both kids did a fantastic job! It was so great to see all their hard work throughout the year of dance turn into such wonderful performances. They both melted my heart, and I was so so so proud of them once again! It was so awesome to see! The whole recital was great. All the classes did a good job! It was a long day for all of us, especially the kids. They made it through though and loved it! Here's my little dancers! So cute!

We ended the long busy week with a nice Mother's Day. We did a late breakfast at Hannah's with my mom, sister, and Kaite. Then they all headed home early afternoon, and we took it easy for the most part. Later on we went to dinner with Greg's mom. It was a busy few days, but well worth it to see the kiddos perform. I'm a little sad dance is over, but sort of glad since now we are in full swing with t-ball for Em and baseball for Evan. We're on the go once again with not much of a break until the end of June. Yes, I said the end of JUNE! Looking forward to the long weekend ahead!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Girls Night Shopping

On Friday night Emmaline and I had a girls night out shopping with Evan's friend Jaidyn, and her mom Joanna. If you remember, Jaidyn is Evan's friend who we say is his "girlfriend." He's got a little crush on her. She and Em have become friends too. The two of them each got the same American Girl doll, McKenna over spring break. They both have been wanting more clothes for their dolls. So Joanna and I thought it would be fun for the girls to go shopping together. While we don't have an American Girl store around here, I've seen some stuff at Target that is similar to American Girl, but they call it Generation Doll. Kohl's also has a limited amount of girls pajamas that have matching doll pj's with them. So we met up at Kohl's first to see what we could find. Both girls were ready to shop with their McKenna dolls in tow.

Both girls ended up picking out the same nighties for themselves with the same matching jammies for their dolls. We then headed over to Target and the girls must have shopped so much at Kohl's that they decided they needed a drink when we got to Target. How cute are they together enjoying their Sprite?

They both ended up getting the same dolls clothes at Target too. :) Em was excited because one of the pieces is a ballet outfit. She said McKenna will look like her when she goes to ballet. It was a fun evening and the girls can't wait to get together and play with their dolls. They really can't wait to get more clothes too! Here's Em when we got home and got ready for bed. She absolutely loves having the same clothes as her doll!

Kindergarten Roundup

On Friday we had Kindergarten Roundup for Emmaline. Yes, that's right I said Emmaline. I know, how can that be? My baby girl is going to be in Kindergarten in the fall. Doesn't seem possible. We never did kindergarten roundup with Evan because at the time we didn't know where he'd be going to school. Since we know Em will go to Evan's school we got her signed up to attend kindergarten roundup. All that week she was super excited that she got to go to brother's school on Friday. It's all she talked about.

That morning I got some clothes out for Emmaline, and she told me she was picking out her outfit. She left the room and came back with one of her new dresses. This is what she picked out for her afternoon at kindergarten roundup.

She did well I think. Doesn't she look adorable? She got lots of raves about how cute she looked in her dress. At roundup she did a hearing and vision screening. Then the kids gathered in the library and the librarian read them a story. After that the kids and parents got to take a bus ride around Haslett. Em really loved this part. She thought that was cool. Once we got back to the school they divided up the kids and parents. The kids got to go in a room with some of the kindergarten teachers and do a few activities, while the parents got to go to another room and do paperwork. I think we got the raw end of the deal. Then we all met back up at the end.

Em had no hesitation about being separated from us and loved hanging with the kindergarten teachers. Evan's teacher, Mrs. Mills, from kindergarten was there, and we got to talk to her for a little bit. We also talked to the principal and told her we felt strongly about Em being in Mrs. Mills class so hopefully that will happen. It's one of the reasons we're returning to Haslett. It was a great afternoon for Em and she tells us she's really excited about going to kindergarten!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Right Place At The Right Time

Love, love, love my Spartans!!! Yes, you already know that by now. It's true though, I'm almost convinced my blood really is green. Haha! This happened awhile ago, but it's the background to tonight's story. A few weeks ago we went to Champps for dinner. We were almost done eating and I happened to look around and noticed Kirk Cousins a few tables over with his family. I said something to Evan and he was immediately ecstatic. First words out of his mouth, "I want to go meet him and say "hi." Ever since I got his football signed back in January when the team came back from the Outback Bowl, Evan's wanted to really meet him more than ever (Remember he was in school back then and couldn't go to the welcome back). Anyhow, I told Evan if he wanted to quickly walk by on our way out and say "hi" that we could do that. They didn't have their dinner yet so we weren't interrupting their meal. Greg didn't want anything to do with it, he thought I was nuts (what's new, LOL). So we walked over to his table, and Evan was such a big boy and said, "Hi Kirk, I just wanted to wish you luck in the NFL Draft." Kirk was so generous and started talking to Evan. Asked Evan what his name is, how old he was, and a number of other things. His parents and brother started talking to us too. I've got to say, what a very very nice family. They all thought Evan was pretty cool, and thanked him for stopping by. As we were about to leave Kirk's mom said, "If you leave me your address, I'll send Evan some pics of Kirk." Wow, really? So we did, and of course for days Evan kept asking when we would get those pics. I don't remember now how long it was, but probably about a week and a half to two weeks and finally the pics came in the mail. Here they are! Way cool. Perfect for Evan's Spartan room!

Since there was a return address on the envelope I told Evan he needed to write Mrs. Cousins and Kirk a thank you card. He made the most adorable Spartan thank you card, and I'm kicking myself now that I didn't take a pic of it. He even drew a picture of him and Kirk in football uniforms. Too cute! A week or so ago he mentioned the card and wondered if they got it. Of course I didn't know for sure, but I told him I bet they did. So now to tonight's story...

Wednesday night is ballet night, and we usually go to dinner with Greg's mom after. We were trying to decide where to go and ended up deciding on Hannah's (place I've mentioned before that we usually go to for breakfast) which is right by dance. So we walked across the parking lot, and I saw these two really big guys get out of a car. I had this instinct they were football players, and next thing I know, I see Kirk Cousins walking from in between a couple cars. Guess who got excited? Well yes me, (that's a given) but Evan was all giddy. He didn't see us, but I politely said, "Excuse me Kirk, (he turned around) do you remember Evan from Champps?" He said, "Of course I do," and immediately said, "Thanks Evan for that really awesome thank you card. I really liked it." Let's just say it made the kid's day! Kirk then asked us if we were going to dinner, and Evan said, "We're going to Hannah's, where are you going?" Kirk told us Pizza House (which is right next door), and said, "The team is eating there tonight, you should come over. You can meet some of the guys." While we like Hannah's, Evan quickly decided that it wasn't happening tonight and we were eating at Pizza House. I was cool with that. :)

We headed in, Kirk held the door for us. What a gentleman! We asked to sit over by the football players, and when we say down we saw a huge buffet of food set up. There were a few guys there already, and more trickled in little by little (or should I say big by big). These guys are huge! We placed our order and then Evan was eager to go say hi. I took him over by Kirk and as we walk up, Kirk says, "Hi Evan. Guys, this is Evan. He's a big Spartan fan! Loves football." Ahhh yes, my boy getting all the attention from Kirk and the boyzzzz! Lovin' every minute of it. Of course I was too! It was also amazing to see what these guys eat. The amount of food on their plates (most had more than one plate) was incredible. I can't even imagine what that bill was for the athletic department. We sat back down and a few minutes later some more players came in, and then more, and more. You get the point. Some of my boyzzzz that I follow on Twitter had come in, and Evan really wanted to get a picture with them. They were packing to-go boxes so when they got done and were heading out, Evan went up to them and asked for a picture. They graciously said yes so here they are!
Evan and LeVeon Bell
Evan with Darqueze Dennard, Kurtis Drummond, & Johnny Adams

It was all about being in the right place at the right time tonight. Such a fun night out for dinner. Definitely have a happy boy tonight. When I got home tonight, I tweeted the boyzzzz Evan took a picture with. So far two have tweeted me back and both retweeted my tweet to all their followers. Awesome! It's moments like this that I love living in East Lansing. Being so close to campus has allowed us to experience some things that many kids dream of. It's also part of the reason why I love my Spartans so much. They really love Spartan Nation and are so warm and welcoming to fans. Thanks guys for making my kid's night. Seeing the joy on Evan's face tonight warmed my heart. I'm pretty sure that kid has green blood too!

Monday, April 16, 2012

It's All About The House Lately

It seems like a lot of my time lately has been taken up doing things that have to do with the house. Whether it's outside the house, inside the house, or going places to find stuff for the house. A few weeks ago when the weather was warmer, we did some work outside the house. We cleaned up around the yard. We got most of the bushes/plants trimmed up from the winter, mowed the lawn, pulled the patio furniture out, etc. We got a lot accomplished on a Sunday afternoon. However then the weather turned chilly again off and on, and I mowed the lawn again, but still have a few bushes in the back that need to be trimmed. Come on Mother Nature, work with me and stay warm so I can finish! We'd like to do some more landscaping around the deck this spring/summer so it would be nice if the warm weather would stick around instead of this back and forth stuff!

Now for inside the house. I've been wanting some new furniture for the house. Specifically a new chair, end tables & coffee table for the living room. I've also been wanting some kind of cabinet/buffet for the dining room. So a few weeks ago we went out shopping for furniture. Many stores later, we ended up finding a cabinet for the dining room at World Market. It's basically for the wine & booze, as well as some serving pieces and wine glasses. On our shopping adventure we also had stopped into Art Van because we were having problems with our couch and the leather cracking. It ended up that Art Van had to come pick up our couch to service it. Well to make a long story short, after some poor customer service with the delivery guys and the service department, I finally got a manager from the store to help me. They ended up swapping out our couch and giving us a whole new one. They also said they'd give us a discount on the matching chair so we ended up purchasing the chair for the living room. With that said, getting new furniture leads to rearranging the old furniture, cleaning, and in this case filling the new cabinet with stuff. I love the new furniture, and it's nice to have extra seating in the living room. I haven't found any tables yet, but I think that part is going to be put on the back burner for now.

Once we were done with that part of the house, we finally decided to get the basement family room painted. It's been a project that just kept getting pushed aside for the past four years. Neither one of us really wanted to paint the basement because it's a rather large room. Basically it was just a time consuming project that we agreed was worth hiring a painter for if we could get it done for a good price. So that's what we did, and during spring break I had a painter come and paint the whole basement. It was well worth the price to get it done in half a day versus it taking a few days between the two of us. It's such a relief to have it done. It's amazing what a coat of paint does to a room! What a difference it makes down there. It feels a little more "homey" downstairs. Once we get it completely done with accessories, furniture, getting rid of more toys, etc. it will really feel "homey" and not like a basement. I need to have a garage sale first though to get rid of some of the bigger items down there that are all crammed to one corner. We did make some more progress though over the weekend with a trip to IKEA. We got some new shelves & t.v. stand which makes a huge difference already. Now I just need to find the perfect storage bins for the shelves so I can reorganize all the kids crap, I mean toys. Haha!

So that's been a lot of my time lately in between dance, school stuff, etc. I'm also on another yearly spring cleaning bandwagon and am hoping to have this place in tip top shape by the end of April so I can figure out when in May I can have a garage sale! I want this stuff outta here! I'm sure you all want to see pictures of the basement and I will try to get them posted soon once I get the basement back together and furniture arranged. Hopefully by this weekend.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Easter Recap

Well the week is about over already, and I haven't even had a chance to post about Easter. Before I do that though, I noticed my previous post from a couple weeks ago was still in my drafts. I never published it, ooops. So while it's way old news now I figured I'd still post it because I love the pic of my Evan! :)

Now onto something more recent, Easter. Both kids had the first week of April off for Spring Break. Emmaline actually had two weeks off and was off the last week of March as well. We stayed around home for spring break, and I got a few projects done (that post is coming, I promise). Easter happened to fall on the second weekend of Spring Break. We ended up heading down to my sisters & dad's for Easter weekend since we were at my mom's last year. My dad and step-mom had Easter dinner. I was hoping for good weather on Easter because the kids really wanted to look for Easter eggs outside and grandma and grandpa's. Although it rained Saturday night, it cleared up enough Sunday morning for the Easter egg hunt. It was sunny out, but pretty windy so it was a little chilly. At least it wasn't raining though.

I was proud of myself that I got all the eggs filled before the night before Easter. A whole four days before people! That's a record for me. We planned to do the egg hunt before lunch at my dad's on Sunday. However, come to find out when we were at my dad's on Saturday, he filled a bunch of eggs for the kids as well. So we did a few at my sister's Easter morning along with the kids Easter baskets. All together the kids ended up with a ton of eggs to open, and they loved all their Easter basket stuff from the Easter bunny. We had a nice Easter lunch and then headed home. We ended up going to a late dinner with Greg's mom when we got back. Here's a few pictures of the kids from Easter.

Besides the Easter egg hunt, the kids colored eggs with cousin Kaite on Saturday night.
Checking out the eggs they found and the goodies from the Easter bunny!
Lookin' for eggs at Grandma & Grandpa's. The eggs were everywhere!
They liked the eggs they found at Grandma & Grandpa's better. Lots of money (change) in those eggs!
Happy Easter from my two little bunnies!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Great Season

We all know how much I love my beloved Spartans, and I'm sure you can all guess how bummed I was when they lost in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. There was such high hopes from me and all Spartans that MSU would make a good run most likely to the Final Four and possibly win the National Championship. I guess it wasn't meant to be when the team that showed up in Phoenix the other night to play Louisville, wasn't the same team most of us Spartans were used to. The chemistry the team had all year didn't seem to be there, and the hopes of moving on in the tourney were nowhere in sight that night when the Spartans were on the court. Not only am I bummed as a fan, but I'm really bummed that one of the best Spartans of all time, Draymond Green, didn't get the National Championship as a Spartan. He's right up there with Magic Johnson and Mateen Cleaves (who both won National Championships at State) so I was really hoping it would happen for him, as well as the other seniors. Now all we can do is look forward to next year. While State is losing great players in Green and senior Austin Thornton, there's a lot of talent coming back next year, and MSU is getting one of the greatest high school basketball players from Fishers, IN. Gary Harris will be coming to MSU in the fall as a freshman and I see great things happening at State with him. It's kind of a small world sometimes. One of the UL gals from Indiana knows how much I like Spartan basketball, and her husband was Harris' high school b-ball coach. She's and IU fan, but said she will be a Spartan fan next season! So here's to great things happening for the Spartan b-ball team next season, and a congrats to the Spartan team this year for starting the season unranked and ending in the top ten and making it to the Sweet 16.

On Friday, the team returned to East Lansing after their loss to Louisville. Thanks to Twitter, I had an "inside" tip as to when they would be getting back to the Breslin Center. After school I asked Evan if he wanted to go to Breslin to welcome the team back. I knew since they lost it wouldn't be a big welcome back celebration, but I figured it was probably our only chance to get Draymond's autograph before he graduates from State. He of course wanted to go so we left early so we could stop and get a basketball to get signed. Who knew the MSU basketballs would be so hard to find. Four stores later we found one and made a mad dash to the Breslin. By the time we got there we saw the bus and some of the team getting off. Evan and I hopped out of the car and ran to the Breslin (the high school b-ball playoffs were going on so there was nowhere to park so Greg told us to hop out and he'd drive around). By the time we got up to the doors most of the players were inside and we only got to autographs. One of the coaches told us they were going in for a short meeting with Izzo and would be back out this way to get their luggage to wait there. So we did and finally after about 20 minutes they started coming out. Evan was getting lots of autographs on his basketball, and one of the players signed his shirt so then he got a few more to sign his shirt too. We still hadn't gotten Draymond's at this point because he hadn't come out yet. Finally a few minutes later he did come out and Evan was ecstatic to get his autograph and get a picture with him. Here's my boyzzzz, Evan and Draymond.

I was so glad we decided to go to Breslin, and it helped Evan cheer up after the Spartan loss! A big thanks to the players for their autographs and to Draymond for the photo. We got everyone's autographs we wanted except for Austin Thornton's. We somehow missed him when they first started coming out. He had a hat on so I guess I didn't recognize him.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patty's Day!

It's St. Patty's Day! I hope you wore your green today! And if it's St. Patty's Day, that means it's my birthdaaaaaay! We all know I love my birthday! Thank goodness for me (not my mom) that I was born 16 days late cuz a St. Patty's Day birthday is awesome! I couldn't have asked for a better day today weather wise! I mean really 80 degrees on March 17th in Michigan is unheard of. I believe record temps were set today in Lansing. My birthday started off with some green pancakes for breakfast. Greg made them for me. The kids thought green pancakes were pretty awesome! After a relaxing morning we went to birthday lunch at Bennigan's. I was able to enjoy my first green beer of the day and a turkey o' toole. Here's a couple pics of my leprechauns at lunch!

We headed out kid free for my birthday dinner with our friends Brenda and Keyera. We planned to go to Dublin Square a restaurant downtown E.L., but there was a cover charge to get in and it was crazy loud and busy so we ended up going to Buffalo Wild Wings. It worked out good and while they were busy, we got right in and got a table. Enjoyed some more green beer and had a nice special moment when we spotted two former MSU football players Jerel Worthy and Trenton Robinson. Downtown E. Lansing was insanely crazy busy! St. Patty's Day is awesome for Spartans because we all like to wear green anyways! So between the 80 degree weather, St. Patty's Day being on a Saturday, all the green, and March Madness E. Lansing was hoppin'.

After dinner we headed to Lou Ha's and met up with my friend Jess. They had a DJ playing and it was so loud and packed. Lots of interesting people watching! We enjoyed a few drinks and stayed for a couple hours and then headed back to the house to hang out. We got to enjoy my yummy birthday cupcakes Brenda made me. She told me to pick out something from Pinterest so I chose Thin Mint Cupcakes. They were fabulous. I'll have to post the recipe soon. Yummy!

It was a perfect day for a birthday. Thanks to Brenda and Jess for the birthday goodies and celebrating with me. Thanks to my hubby for putting up with me loving my birthday so much all day. :) I'm now officially 37.

Also thanks to my mom for coming to visit on Friday and taking me out for birthday lunch at Hall of Fame Cafe, and to Greg's mom for birthday dinner Friday night at UKAI.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I've Been MIA

Yes, here I am! I've been a little MIA for the past month. Gosh it doesn't even seem like it's been that long. No excuses for not blogging, just life gets in the way of things sometimes. I'm not even gonna try to catch up. I can barely remember yesterday sometimes let alone a month ago. We've had Evan's conferences at school which were fantastic! He's above and beyond where he should be in first grade! So proud of that little guy. I had a UL party that was great. I love seeing how excited people get about the product and the ideas they have of where they're gonna put UL in their homes! I sold some more things on the UL pages I told you about which is good. Emme's clothes are a hot item! We also attended the last women's basketball game of the regular season. Which not only resulted with a Spartan win, but Evan also got to meet one of the football players that was there, Will Gholston, as well as former MSU b-ball player Mateen Cleaves. He even got his basketball signed by Mateen which was really exciting. And we took the kids to the Tom Izzo show a couple weeks ago. Evan had been asking to go all season, and we finally made it to the last show. The kids got their pics with Izzo and Evan got his basketball signed. A perfect addition to his Spartan room.

To top all that off over the last month, Evan was sick for about a week! It was a long week too! He woke up sick on a Tuesday morning and missed a couple days of school. He was fine Thursday and most of last Friday and then it all returned Friday night. It was off and on, and looking at him you wouldn't know it because he was running around playing until he ate and then the poor little guy couldn't keep his food in. He ended up missing four days of school, and finally Thursday he was back to himself and eating regularly. Now Greg is sick with a sore throat and congestion. Here's hoping Em and I can avoid any sickness. Thank goodness for the nice weather that is in store for this week!

Now here it is March, and we all know March is my favorite month! It really is one of the best months out of the year for five reasons!
#5- March is Reading Month (that's the teacher in me)
#4- Spring (that's the I hate winter in me... bye bye heavy coats and boots)
#2/3- March Madness (that's the sports fan in me... I love b-ball tournament time)
#2/3- St. Patty's Day/Green beer (that's the holiday birthday in me) #2 & #3 are tied
#1- My Birthday (that's of course just me! I love my birthday!)

It's a great time of year! I love it! I especially love it when my Spartans are shining in March! After a disappointing loss to OSU last weekend, MSU fought hard this weekend in the Big Ten Tourney! Spartans clinched the win today in a rematch with OSU beating them and claiming the Big Ten Tournament Title! That gave them a #1 seed in the NCAA Tourney! Yay Spartans! Looking forward to the start of the tourney this week and watching the Spartans play Friday! This team deserves it, and I hope they can make it all the way! Let's do it boyzzzzzz! Go State!

On a final note! Our neighbors Jim and Kate were due on Monday with their first baby. That didn't happen though and come Friday after going to the doctor they found out Kate would be induced on the 15th. We were over to their house Friday night watching some b-ball and chatting about it all. Kate was really hoping she'd have the baby by now and had her fingers crossed he would come before Thursday. Before we left I told her she better have that baby tomorrow (Sat.) because that's the day I picked (they did a baby pool). I got a text from Jim Saturday morning, that low and behold Kate's water broke and they were at the hospital. I was a little stir crazy all day and at about 8:30pm I text Jim for an update. No baby yet, but he was pretty sure she was going to have it before the day was over. About 11:45pm I decided to head up to bed since I was going to be losing an hour of sleep. Figured at that point I'd have to wait and hear the baby news in the morning. Five minutes later I got the text from Jim... little Dominick Anthony was born at 10:23pm. Yay! I did get the date right after all! He's such a cutie! Can't wait to meet him! Congrats to the LaPorte family!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Where Do I Start

I'm trying to face the fact that blogging has been put on the back burner a lot lately, and it's become something that when I get to it, I get to it. I've either been busy or too tired to blog. I have to get over trying to get caught up and just start blogging about the now. So after tonight's post, I'm going to just try to write about very recent stuff and quit trying to go back and back and back and see if I can remember what we did three weeks ago. Then maybe I can get this blog current again. We'll see how that goes.

So with that said, over the last two weeks I've been busy having an online garage sale so to speak. The UL gals have a couple of Facebook pages where we buy/sell/swap UL items. Then we also have a Facebook page where we can buy/sell non-UL items called the UL Bargain Page. Many of the girls have been selling items on there for quite some time. I've posted a few things here and there over the last few months. Then I saw on there a couple weeks ago, there was an interest in kids clothes. Of course I've got a ton of kids clothes! I posted on the page what sizes people were interested in, and from there I began to get all the tubs out of the basement. Plus I had some bags of items in Em's closet I had recently bagged up that no longer fit her. When it comes to garage sale set up, I'm a little anal about the way it's organized. So surprise there was no difference when I decided to post items on the UL Bargain page. Most of the stuff was organized in tubs by sizes, but I had to take everything out and take pics of each item. I posted many albums and sorted them by boys and girls, as well as by different sizes. It took some time to lay everything out, photograph it, upload the pics, and post on the FB page, and write a description and price. However it was well worth most of my time because I've sold a lot of stuff. I figured it's to cold to go outside now so I can do it from the warmth and comfort of my home so why not. It's less stuff I have to set up when I have a garage sale in the spring. By then I'll want to be outside with the kids anyway so it'll be a little less time I'll have to spend in the garage come garage sale time! The only little downfall of it is that I have to figure shipping on the items. Since most of us are buying from or selling to girls in other states we charge shipping as well. I package the items up, and then take them to the post office to check shipping rates. I've become good friends with the self serve postage kiosk. So convenient! It's not too bad when I can take a bunch of packages at once and check shipping rates. Sometimes though there's package here and there so I have to make a special trip, but thankfully the post office is on the way to school so I don't have to go out of my way!

Selling the kids clothes brought on a new project. The UL gals were also looking for women's and men's clothes so I decided to clean out my closet. It's been a long overdue project and I'm so glad I did it. There were clothes in there I knew I'd never wear again, and stuff I didn't even know I had. Greg also went through his clothes. We've got heaping piles sitting in the loft. I haven't sold any of the men's clothes, but I have sold some of my stuff. It feels really good to get rid of some of this stuff, and to make some money while I'm doing it. I still have some other things in the closet to go through- shoes, purses, etc., but the big part of it is done. It's nice to have some extra space in the closet, and I'm excited to get a few new things this spring. Next up is cleaning out the kitchen cabinets again because there's a couple cabinets that are a mess!

So that's been a majority of my time spent the last couple weeks. While I'm trying to save some of the money I've made from my online sales, we did have a kid free night a week ago Friday so we went out for a change. We had planned to go to dinner and out for drinks with our neighbors Jim and Kate, but then Jim forgot Kate was going to be gone for dance competition. So we ended up just going to dinner with Jim. We went to Harrison Roadhouse. Hadn't been there in forever and it sounded good. Then the three of us headed to Lou & Harry's and met up with our friend Brenda. It ended up being a fabulously fun night. A little too fun because I ended up drinking a little too much! Jim introduced us to the "Bomb Pop" shot, and it was downhill from there. So so yummy! It's like the red, white, and blue popsicle, you used to get as a kid! Very addicting! I ended up with a hangover the next morning. I don't remember the last time I had a hangover, but it had been a very loooong time! It was slow moving on Saturday for me that's for sure. I can't tell ya how much I laughed though Friday night and enjoyed hanging with friends! Fun times... fun memories! I have a couple more things to share from last week, and then I'm moving onto this week I promise. Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Evan's New Room

Wow, I can't believe I haven't posted pics of Evan's new room. I thought for sure I did that last week. Ugh! So it's now been a month since we painted his room, but it's still not done. The framing of the jerseys is taking longer than I thought. I didn't realize jerseys were so expensive to frame. Ugh! Plus I still haven't found the exact couple pics that I want to hang. It'll get done eventually. So with that said, here's some pics of the room almost done.

The room before.... Best I have, since I forgot to take a pic before we tore it apart.
The room after with the the new green and gray walls, and the new Spartan bedding.
Another angle- This is the wall where I want to hang a few pics above the dresser.
These pics are of Kirk Cousins and Greg Jones that Greg took at a game in 2010.
The other empty wall above the bed where I'd like to hang the jerseys. I also found the new sports lamp at Hobby Lobby which I really like!

I'm pretty happy with how it came out. I love the green! It's perfect and Evan really likes it too. He did well picking the gray. We were deciding between two different shades, and we let him choose. I think this room will grow with him well over the years (as I don't plan on changing it for a very long time). It's a Spartan room so there's no way we'll ever get tired of it. :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Birthday Party #2 For Evan

A week and a half ago (I know I'm slacking again) we had Evan's second birthday party. I'm a fan of Groupon, and I ran across a great deal just before Christmas. The deal was for this place called the Lansing Hit Club. It's an indoor baseball place. I thought it was perfect seeing as Evan was into the Tigers themed birthday party this year! He had wanted to have some friends from school come to his birthday party, and since we already had a lot of people coming for his family/close friends party we decided to have another party. I normally don't do two birthday parties, but the price was good for this, and I didn't have to have 10 kids running through our house.

We had the party on Friday night. I didn't have a lot of options to choose from since I bought the Groupon so close to his birthday. It worked out good though because it didn't waste a whole Saturday. It was from 6:30-8:30pm which gave everyone time to get home from school and relax a little before the party. The Groupon included two hours at the Hit Club with decorations, pizza & pop, and an hour of batting cage or instructional time. We chose the instructional time and the kids got to play some baseball with one of the coaches there. Then they enjoyed the pizza & pop, and I brought in cupcakes which the kids really enjoyed! After we ate, Evan opened his presents and he got a lot of really nice things. We really appreciate everyone coming and thank them for all the goodies Evan got! The kids had a great time, and they all loved the place. I had done goody bags for the kids, and the Hit Club even had goody bags for them! It was so worth the price I paid for the Groupon, and I didn't have a mess at our house to clean up after. Here's a few pics from the evening!

Evan up to bat when the kids were playing a "mini" baseball game.
The baseball cupcakes I made with Detroit Tigers colors.
The birthday bunch! We asked the kids to wear their Tigers gear or come in blue/orange. They all looked great! I love this pic! (One of the girls couldn't make it because she was sick so Em and Evan's "girl"friend Jaidyn were the only girls. Em loved hanging with Jaidyn though.)
We are truly blessed that Evan has some great friends and parents.