Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It's Official...

I have a high school student!!!

How did this happen?!?!

Monday, May 21, 2012


It was a beautiful, sunshiny, pleasant day in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.  The family was having an laid back day at home.  Everyone stayed in their jammies until lunch time and beyond.  I was trying out the new panini press that I got for my birthday and we all ate lunch at the picnic table in the back yard.  

After eating, I went in the house to clean up the kitchen and Jon set out to do some cleanup in the back yard.  Ben, Abby and Luke were hanging out in the yard.  The next thing Jon and I  knew there was the sound of a big thud and crying.  Jon and I both ran to find that Luke had fallen off of the top of the picnic table!  Ben and Abby were there when it happened and,  I think, Abby scooped Luke up real quick.  Jon was able to get Luke and try to calm him down enough to find out what hurt.  Luke mentioned that his wrist hurt.  After looking at it, the first words out of Jon's mouth were, "It's broken."  We could tell right away that things didn't look normal.  Luke's wrist didn't normally have that curve to it!  So...we very quickly and calmly made our way to the ER.  Yes, that's right, Jon and I both remained very calm.  I was very proud! poor little guy!  I wanted to hold him so bad and all he wanted was his daddy.  Listening to him cry and knowing that he was in so much pain, just broke my heart!  It is making me all shaking and emotional all over again as I type this.

Thankfully we were taken back to a room immediately!  It seemed like it took and eternity for things to happen, but compared to a lot of stories that you often hear about long waits in the ER, I think things went fairly quickly.  Don't get me wrong.  It wasn't fast.  The doctor came.  X-rays were taken.  Luke's wrist was broken.  My poor little guy was in pain and wasn't able to take any pain reliever.  The doctor wanted to wait to find out if surgery was needed since the bone was going to need to be reset.  Thankfully, the nurse finally came in with some pain reliever.  (Not that he got much down.  He spit half of it back in the nurse's face...)  We waited to find out news from the orthopedic doctor.  Finally, the orthopedic doctor showed up, we strapped Luke into the most awful contraption to keep him still, gave Luke a numbing shot, reset the bone and casted my little guys arm.  My poor little Luke cried for two hours straight!  It was just. so. sad.

Once we were finally able to leave the hospital, Luke settled down very quickly.  He was so happy to be on his way home.  Of course we had to stop by Redbox and pick up something fun to watch.

What a little trooper, this little guy is!  I am so thankful that nothing more serious happened when Luke fell off of the table!  (He fell onto concrete!)  The Lord was obviously protecting him!  Please pray for a speedy recovery!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Happy Days

Last winter we had so much snow that the kids had to make up days at the end of the year.  This year, the school calendar had more snow days added in and we ended up not using any snow days.  Instead of going to school five extra days, the kids got out five days early.  Well, not five consecutive days early.  It ended up that the "powers that be"  modified the school calendar so that the kids got each Friday in the month of May off as well as moved the last day of school up one day.  I LOVED IT!  So did the kids!  Who doesn't love a four day school week???  It made the biggest difference only sending the kids to school for four days and having a three day weekend.  It was nice!

On the last Friday before school got out, Jon happened to be off too.  Extra nice!  It was an absolutely gorgeous day outside, so we spent the majority of our day out there.

Ben got some mowing done and make Luke's day by taking him for a ride on the "tractor".

Jon was able to give a little extra TLC to his beloved garden.  (:

Luke was having a grand time just playing outside.  He doesn't care what he is doing out there, he just loves to be outside.  Jon and I left to run a few errands and when we came home this is what we found...

Ben, Luke and Abby had made a mud hole in the back yard.  Luke was in heaven!

Abby had fun playing on the trampoline with the hose, practicing her photography skills and playing in the sandbox.  Yes, playing in the sandbox!  Jon and I bought some new sand to refill the sandbox and Abby quickly turned into a little child once again and spent a good long time playing in the sand. It was fun to see her in that childlike state!  These kiddos of mine are just growing up way too fast!

What did I do?  I finally got all of the flowers planted that Jon and the kids got me for Mother's Day.  They look great, but of picture.  I'll have to get one soon.

I am thankful that we had this day of fun at home.  It was nice to not have any plans or anywhere that we had to be.  

I love summer!!

Awards Assemblies

 I was one proud mom to find out that both Ben and Abby were invited to their respective awards assemblies.  At their school you are only invited if you are receiving an award.

 Ben was recognized for the band award which he had received at the concert the week before.

 Ben also received an academic award for having a 3.5 or higher for the last half of 7th grade and the beginning of 8th grade.

 Abby was recognized for the band award that she received at the concert the week before.

What I really like about the way that Madison does it's awards ceremonies is that they do it in the middle of the day and then allow the parents to take their students out to lunch.  (As long as we  have them back by a certain time.)  I'm pretty sure that Ben and Abby were more happy about getting to skip class and go to lunch than actually getting any awards.  I can't blame them, I was in middle school once.

I am extremely proud of Ben and Abby and for the great year of school that they've had this year!  Abby made a very smooth transition to middle school and did very well in all of her classes.  Ben had some very difficult classes this year and struggled a little bit, but still came out really well!  I am so proud of both of them!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Happy Birthday/Mother's Day To Me!

 I arrived home from my amazing weekend in St. Louis late in the evening on my birthday.  I didn't expect anything spectacular that day, but it was nice to see that Jon and the kids had thought about it while I was gone.  There were cake, presents and balloons.  I'm sure Jon felt much pressure since I love my birthday and I often remind Jon of that fact.  I was pretty good about reminding him that I would be gone all weekend and he would be home all weekend with the kids and that he would have ample time to prepare for these two big days.  I know, I'm awful and selfish...
 My Mother's Day morning started out with a delicious breakfast in bed with one of Ben's famous omelets.  (:

I was then presented with all of these beautiful flowers that each of the kiddos picked out for me.  So pretty!

 Happy Mother's Day to me!  I love these kiddos so much!

 Abby was actually willing to have her picture taken, so I had to take advantage of this rare opportunity.  Such a pretty girl!

 I love these pictures of me and my man!  (:

 Jon slaved away in the kitchen making this fun birthday cake for me!

My family did a great job preparing for my birthday and Mother's Day. I wish I could say that it was a super fun day, but it didn't exactly measure up for several reasons.  Jon worked on homework most of the day...  Jon and I had a meeting to go to in the evening...  Our special dinner out didn't happen because I fell asleep...  Jon and I got into a heated "discussion" at the end of the day... I really wish I didn't set myself up to be excited for a day that is all about me.  I wish I could just be happy with whatever Jon and the kids decide to do for the day.  I just always feel like I do so much for them on their special days that I want them to do that for me too.  Why do I have such expectations?  What really matters is that I have a family that I love and that loves me.  And I am thankful for that!

Christmas...Birthday...Mother's Day Weekend

 Back in November, Rebecca called and told me that Mary Poppins was coming to the stage in St. Louis and asked what I thought about us girls going in together to get Mom tickets as a Christmas gift.  We could all meet in St. Louis for a girls weekend to go see the play together.  I knew this was the perfect thing for so many reasons.  1.  Mom loves those kind of gifts.  2.  Mary Poppins is my favorite Disney movie.  When I heard (Quite a while back that it was going on Broadway, I really wanted to make a trip to NYC to see it!  3.  Who could turn down a girl's weekend?  I rarely get to see my mom and sisters, especially without the kids around!  4.  The play was running over my birthday and Mother's Day weekend.  Nice!!

Mom was thrilled when she opened her Christmas gift!  Thanks to Skype I was able to "be there" when she opened it and saw that pure excitement on her face.  It was priceless!  I was so happy that we were able to come up with something so great and that we could all enjoy together.

Mom wasn't the only one excited.  I was.  As the time drew nearer my excitement continued to grow.  I was so excited to be able to go see my family and to have a getaway without my kiddos.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my kiddos, but things have so busy around here, that it felt like a well deserved break.  Not to mention that it was my birthday weekend.  I love my birthday and it almost felt like we were going away for me!  Selfish, I know...

 One thing we knew was on the agenda for the weekend was to go to Olga's.  We all love Olga's and hate that the only time we can ever go is when we are in Michigan.  A few years ago we discovered that there is an Olga's in St. Louis.  Sweet!!

So...that was stop #1!
The food was great as always, however, the Orange Cream Coolers were slightly disappointing.  Just not how they used to be.  Come to find out...they've gone lactose free... YUCK!  Oh well..

 I had no idea that, even though it was my birthday weekend, that there would be cake and presents!  Mom made my very most favorite cake!  White cake with white fluffy frosting with coconut...DELICIOUS!!!  I haven't had that cake in so long and it was just as good as I remembered!  Mmmm...I want some now!  Since I never get to see anyone in my family for birthday (or any other special occasion, for that matter) it made my birthday that much more special. 
Thank you, Mom, Kris and Rebecca for making my birthday so special!

 We spent some time wandering around Downtown St. Louis.  I don't care how many times I see the Arch, I still think it is so cool!  It is so pretty and amazing!

Kris and Rebecca were on a little bit of a mission to find a few local breweries so that they could take some beer home to their husbands (who really enjoy brewing their own beer).  They were successful and I'm pretty sure Scott and Neil were happy with their loot!

Smack dab in the middle of the!  Such a neat place nestled in amongst the tall buildings.  I loved it!

The picture in the top left corner is of both hotels that we stayed at on our trip.  The Renaissance Marriot and the Embassy Suites.
Jon was able to use some of his points to get us this amazing hotel room.  It was completely huge and amazing.  I'm so thankful he was able to do this for us!

And the moment that we had been waiting six months for!

AMAZING!!!  That is the only way I can think to describe the play.  We all LOVED it!
Part of me wished that Abby could have been with me.  Maybe when it comes to Tulsa???

What an amazing weekend! I can't think of anything that would have made our time together any better or more fun.  I felt so happy, spoiled, free, special, was just fantastic!  I am so thankful that I have Jon who was willing to take some time off of work and hang out with the kids all weekend so I could go have some fun!  I would love to make this girl's weekend an annual event!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Luke's 4th Birthday

 It was so fun to hear Luke be so excited about his upcoming birthday this year.  This is the first time that he has been so excited just knowing that his birthday was coming.  He would ask everyday how many days it was until his birthday.  He could hardly contain his excitement as the number got lower and lower.

 Luke got Grammy's package in the mail a few days before his birthday.  As excited as he was, I couldn't bear to make him wait until his actual birthday!  He was one happy boy!
Thank you, Grammy!!

Finally, on Tuesday night, I put a very excited 3-year-old to bed.

Trying to get the perfect picture.  I can't choose a favorite.
  And woke up with an even more excited 4-year-old!

 How does this happen?  I ask this every year with each child's birthday.  I just can't believe how fast the years are passing by!  Turning four means that school is very quickly upon us.  ):  My little guy is just growing up way too fast!

It was hard making Luke wait until Ben and Abby got home from school and Daddy got home from work to open his birthday presents.  I figured it would be ok to let him open one that one of our neighbors dropped off for him.  Thank you, Miss Marsha and Mr. Blank for the dinosaurs and shiny dinosaur stickers!

Our friend, Miss Susanne stopped by to give Luke a special birthday cupcake.  Thank you, Miss Susanne!

"Look at me!  I'm 4!!"

Finally, everyone was home from work and school and Luke could open his presents!  Luke thought the time would never come!

This is my favorite of Luke's gifts.  One day Luke asked me to tie his blankie on him like a cape.  That's normal.  However, with the discovery of Pinterest, a simple blankie just wouldn't do.  I thought a special superhero cape would be a perfect gift for Luke.  I am so proud of how this (reversible) cape turned out.  Luke likes how it flies when he runs!  :)

Of course, Luke chose tacos for dinner.  That is his favorite meal, after all.

Finally time for cake!  As usual, it's all about the chocolate, chocolate, chocolate.  My kind of kid!

I think Luke was more interested in playing with the toys on top of the cake than actually eating the cake!

Thank you, Aunt Becca, Uncle Neil and Nolan!  What could be better than (Redbox) movie tickets and popcorn???

Thank you, Aunt Kris, Uncle Scott, Lexy, Kortney, Reilly and Erin for the awesome outfit and Cars Color Wonder!

Happy, Happy Birthday, Lukey Luke!
We are so thankful to have such a fun, dirt loving, smart, outside playing, happy boy!
Daddy and I love you SO much!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

There's Music In The Air

It's no secret that I am thrilled to have two resident musicians!  I love listening to them practice at home and hearing them talk about how  much they love band.  I loved band.  I really wish I had been more serious about it and stuck with it once out of high school.  Unfortunately, I didn't do that, so now I get to enjoy it through my own kiddos.  (No, I am not trying to live through them, just enjoying every moment!)

I was really looking forward to Ben and Abby's spring band concert this year.  This was Abby's first band concert, so it was exciting to hear the whole band finally come together.  In 6th grade, the students only have the option of starting out on the flute, clarinet, trumpet or trombone.  After learning the basics, the students are given the opportunity to switch to something new.  This is when the saxophone, baritone, tuba, oboe, bassoon, etc. are added to the band.  Finally, about a week before the spring concert, all of the sections (who have worked separately) come together and prepare for the concert.  It's pretty amazing!  It's hard to believe that the sounds that come from such a new group sound so good!
Barn Dance Saturday Night

Abby received an Outstanding Achievement Award for her first year of band.
I wasn't really sure how Abby would do in band, but she has completely exceeded my expectations!  I am so proud of her!  I know she is going to continue to be a great clarinet player!

The Shadow Warriors

On to Ben's group...

Monterey March
The 8th graders played this for their district contest and received all superior ratings!
(They earned something else, which had not been done in eight years, but I can't remember what it was.  I just know that their band teacher was very pleased.)
The students that participated in All-District Honor Band and Solo & Ensemble were recognized.  Ben was recognized for both.  (:

I was stunned when I heard Ben's name called for the Evald Nordstrom Memorial Award!  I didn't have a chance to take a picture of Ben receiving his award due to my shock and wiping the tears off of my face.  This is an award that is given to one 8th grade student each year for showing outstanding leadership.  The award comes with a $100 savings bond and student's name engraved on a plaque that remains in the band room.  What an honor!  I couldn't be more proud of Ben!!

Canal Street Clambake
Ben got to be one of the five in the jazz ensemble that got to stand and be featured in this fun, jazzy piece. He was pretty proud of it and so was I!

For the last two pieces at the concert, the 7th and 8th grade bands joined together.  The two bands traveled to Kansas City to play at a contest.  Not only did they get superior ratings, but they ended up with the highest score in their division!  It was a proud day for the students and the band teachers!

As The Dawn Breaks

Bayview March

Ben and Abby with their band teacher, Ms. Benford.
We all love her!

It has been our tradition to go get ice cream after each of the kids band concerts.  This was our last one of the year.

Ben invited a couple of his buddies to join us for ice cream after the concert.  I love that Ben has some good friends!  These boys are great!  (And they like Luke too, which is a plus!)

I am so proud of Ben and Abby and the progress they have made this year.  I am cautiously optimistic that both kids will continue to practice once school is out. I have already talked to Ben's trombone instructor and Abby's band teacher about doing lessons over the summer.  (And yes, Ben and Abby are both ok with that.)

Next step for Ben:  Marching band!  He is SO excited!
To say that I am excited would be a complete understatement!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Changes in Hutchinson

Big changes are happening in the Grief family.  After about 15 years in Hutchinson, Kansas, Jon's parents are moving away.  They are moving to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Jon's brother and his family moved there recently.  Ken and Jeanie felt like they were being led out of Hutch and it seemed like Baton Rouge was the most obvious choice.  To listen to the story, it is so amazing to hear how God put everything together and made it so obvious that Ken and Jeanie are doing what they are supposed to do.

We made a trip to Hutchinson for one last visit, Ken and Jeanie's garage sale and to help with bringing boxes and furniture up from the basement.  Whatever needed done.

Jon, Ben and Ken worked hard and got so much done!

Jeanie also planned to celebrate mine and Luke's birthday.  Fun times!

Of course, we had to take some family pictures.
(I love that little monkey in the tree!)

The next time we see Ken and Jeanie it will be in Louisiana.