Sunday, September 30, 2012

iDate #1

Right now, at church, we are going through a series on community (relationships).  As part of the series, there is a date night challenge going on.  It's called "iDate.  The Date Night Challenge.  3 Dates in 3 Months".  I can handle that!  Jon and I already try to plan one date per month anyway.  This just makes it a little bit easier to plan.  Plus, there is a prize!  Not only do I get to spend time with my man, if we go on our date, take a picture of us on our date and post it on the church's Facebook page, we get entered into a drawing for the grand prize.  As if going on a date wasn't prize enough!  The grand prize is:  dinner at Frank & Lola's (our favorite!), two movie tickets and an overnight stay at the Inn at Price Tower.  Yes, please!

I have been very anxious leading up to surgery and wanted to make sure that Jon and I went on a date before surgery and make sure we didn't miss out on our date one.  We had a good time on our date, however, it didn't go quite like we thought it would.  We went out late 8:00pm)  due to kids schedules and other things that were going on.  By the time we got to Frank & Lola's (around 8:10pm) we were told that we couldn't be seated because the kitchen was closed.  What?!  Seriously?!  Thankfully, we are regulars at F&L's and one of the regular waitresses saw what was going on, she told the girls behind the counter to go ahead seat us.  Finally!  We weren't off to a great start, but dinner was great!

As part of the date challenge, we were given a packet of cards with instructions for each date and questions for us to answer together.

Date one questions:
When you were growing up...

What was the best vacation you took with your family?

What was the worst storm you were ever in?

What did you accomplish as a child that gave you the most satisfaction?

Who was your best friend?  Why did you connect so well with that person?

(I am including these questions so that maybe you can use them on one of your dates.  They make for great conversation!)

It was fun to discuss our answers to each question.  It seems like we have known each other forever, but were still able to learn something that we didn't know before.

After dinner at F&L's, we opted for dessert at Jared's.  Of course, in keeping with the "not going so well" start of our date, things didn't go so well here either.  We ended up not getting dessert.  Actually, we ended up just going home.  It was fine. We figured we could just make up for it on our next date.

Jon and I both love the idea of this date challenge.  We are both looking forward to date two!  (Hopefully I will be able to go out soon, after having surgery and all...)

Ben's First Marching Band Competition (Owasso)

It should come as no surprise that Ben and I were really excited about his first marching band competition.  I even volunteered to chaperon for the day so I could get the full experience.  (Not to mention that, due to foot surgery, if I didn't do it now, I wouldn't get the opportunity to do it again until next year.)   I am so thankful that Ben is willing to let me participate in band activities.  He isn't fond of me helping out at normal school functions.  That's a different story...

I was really looking forward to being around this great group of kiddos for the day, meeting new people and just getting the full marching band experience.  I rode the bus with 35-40 very well behaved 9th and 10th grade boys. Served lunch, snacks and dinner to the band members, directors and other parent helpers.  Helped set props up on the field for the Brigade's performance.   Met lots of mom's.  (I met a mom whose son is in Ben's section and discovered that she grew up in Michigan and was in color guard in one of our rival bands!  What a small world!)  I loved every minute of it all!

There's my boy!  To say that I am one proud mom would be an understatement!  I am elated that Ben is loving marching band as much as I had hoped.  It makes my heart swell and my eyes 'sweat' when I see him out there on the field.  I get a lump of pride and excitement when I see him doing what he enjoys.

While we waited for the remaining bands to perform and then waited for the final results to come in, we hung out at our "home base" and had fun with friends.  Luke and Katie had fun playing together.  Love those kiddos!

There were a lot of people there!  It was cool to see all of the schools set up in the parking lot for the day.  Things have definitely changed since my marching band days!

The results finally came in and we waited impatiently patiently to find out how the Bruin Brigade did.  They won the Outstanding Music Award for our division, but sadly, did not make the finals.  Bummer!!

Disappointment set in, the kids all walked backed to the semi and awaited word from Mr. Claussen.  It was hard for a lot of those kids to not make finals.  That is something that most of them had never had to experience before.  It was hard to understand that they won the music award and still didn't make finals.  Strange.  Mr. Claussen was very encouraging and I think this was the "kick in the pants" that some of the kids needed to work even harder for next week's competition.

Even though the Bruin Brigade did not make finals, everyone stayed to watch the bands that did.  I was definitely ok with that!
Abby stayed with me.  (:

It is so cool to see all of the bands on the field at the same time!

What a great experience!  I loved everything about it!  Ben loved it and learned a lot!  Everyone is looking forward to next week's competition in Broken Arrow!  I am hoping to be able to video the entire show very soon and share it with you.  (:

Luke's First Field Trip

Luke couldn't wait to go to school on Friday morning!  He had been looking forward to his first field trip all week long.  What boy wouldn't love a field trip to the fire station?!  I was actually looking forward to it too.  I have never been to the fire station before.

Wouldn't you know that as soon as we all got to the fire station, that the firefighter's got called out.  It was disappointing on one hand, but still pretty neat to see what happens when they have to leave in a hurry.

While we were waiting for the firefighters to come back to the station, the teachers talked to the kiddos about fires and firefighters and all such things.  Luke decided that the fire station was scary and cried almost the entire time we were there.  I'm not 100% sure what he was afraid of, but I think it had something to with loud sounds.  I think he was afraid that the sirens were going to come on or they were going to honk the loud horn on the fire truck.  I don't know... I also have my suspicions that there wouldn't have been any tears if Jon and I hadn't been there.

Thankfully Luke's teachers did a great job trying to make him happy!

Once the firefighters returned from their call, they did a demonstration of all of the gear that wear on a call.  I liked how they talked to the kids about the fact that they are the same person underneath all of the gear.  They are not monsters or mean, scary people.

Jon enjoyed taking some artsy pictures of the fire truck.

This was the highlight of the entire field trip to Luke.  It was so neat that the firefighters let all of the kiddos spray the water hose!

This is Luke and his friend, Wade.  They are best buddies at school!

Even though Luke was a bit of a stinker at the fire station, he will still tell you that he had a great time!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"It's For Work, Dear..."

Isn't it sad that Jon had to go to Colorado for ten days?
I know it was for work and he had to go.
I'm sure he had a completely miserable time....

I hope my work sends me somewhere cool one of these days...

(I really shouldn't complain.  The Ireland trip will be here before I know it!  It's completely different!!)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ben's Birthday (Part 2)

Since Ben's birthday was on a Wednesday, there was no way I was making his special birthday dinner that day.  (Not to mention that Jon was out of town and would  miss it.)  When I told Ben that I would be willing to make fried chicken on the weekend, he quickly told me that he really wanted his buddies to come over.  He really didn't want a party, but he really wanted Mario and Daniel to experience his favorite dinner.  That worked for me.  (Especially since it meant that Jon might be home by then.  He wasn't, but it all worked out.)

 There he is...The king in all of his fried chicken glory!

 These are some of Ben's very best friends in Bartlesville! I was happy for Ben to get to celebrate his birthday with these great  young men!  I love having them around!
(Of course, Luke had to get in the picture too...)

 Ben's birthday cake request:  Oreo Cookie Cake.

There really wasn't a plan for anything, except to consume massive amounts of Coke!  You know teenage boys, they like to eat, watch guy movies and play video games!  And that's just what they did!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Happy 15th Birthday, Ben! (Part 1)

 15 years ago I became a mom for the very first time!

15 YEARS AGO?!?!  How can it be?

I don't know how time can possibly go by so fast.  
I do know this, I don't like it!

I feel old.

But this day isn't really about me.
(Although, I feel like it should, at least, be a little bit about me...)

This day is all about Ben!

 Ben is all about Coke!

 And band!  
Well, he likes superheroes too.

It's hard to have a real birthday celebration in the middle of the week.  Especially when the birthday falls on AWANA, Nikao, small group night.  I made a deal with Ben.  If he would be willing to give up one of his Wednesday night Nikao responsibilities and be willing to wait until the weekend for his real (homemade) birthday meal, then we could go out for a special birthday dinner at Frank & Lola's.  Ben wasn't thrilled about giving up his responsibilities at church for the night, but he quickly decided that it would be OK for just one night.
It really doesn't get much better than this!
We had no idea that dessert would be involved!  I had mentioned to our server, who we have come to know since we are frequent patrons of Frank & Lola's, that it was Ben's birthday.  I had NO idea that she would make something of it.  I figured she would say, "Happy Birthday" to Ben.  I certainly did not expect to see the mammoth brownie and ice cream sundae come out of the kitchen!  They are so awesome there!  (The best part was that she brought enough spoons for everyone to share!)

It completely blows my mind that you could possibly 15 years old!  I am so proud of you and the young man that you have become.  I am also proud of the dedication you have shown for marching band in the last few months.  I love that you are loving it and giving it everything you've got!  You are a smart, dedicated, sensitive, super helpful  young man.  I pray that you will remember who you are and who lives inside of you!
I love you, Ben!
Happy Birthday!

This is "part 1" because there are more birthday festivities happening this weekend.

Monday, September 17, 2012

It's Been a While...

 I have been informed that I haven't blogged in a while.  No, I haven't.  It's not that there hasn't been anything happening .  It's just the opposite.  There has been SO much happening that there hasn't been a whole lot of time to sit at the computer and blog.  I have had hundreds of thoughts about different blog posts, but now, they are all going to be downsized and put into one post.  Enjoy a few weeks in the life of the Grief family. (:
Apparently Abby needs a reminder that she has to go to school during the week and stay home on the weekends.

Lukey loves to soak his feet with me.

Packing lunches is what I do.
Why do I loathe this job each morning?

A friend saw a cute idea on Pinterest and asked if I might be able to make it for her.  I was thrilled to be able to do it!  I think they turned out pretty cute!  I have plans to make more!

I got a surprise (well, I knew a day earlier that she was coming.) visit from my BFF, Karen!!  We didn't have a whole lot of time together, but I was beyond happy that I got to see her and her family!

I think Luke was trying to write his name.  Can you see it?  I could definitely see the 'L'.  Luke told that the thing that looks like an 'O' is actually a 'U'.  I could see it once he explained to me, "See the little stick on the side."  I get it.  Then I got teary when I think about my baby growing up so quickly!

I chaperone my very first band trip.  It was the first football game of the season, which happened to be an away game in Tulsa.  When I got to the school and got the list of students that were on my bus...let's just say that I thought I was being punished.  I got put on the bus with 35 ninth and tenth grade BOYS!  Seriously?!?!  I was pleasantly surprised.  On the round-trip, those boys were all so well behaved!  There were four moms on the bus and I don't think any of us ever had to correct any of the boys.  Impressive!

The night that I chaperoned was also that band's very first performance.  How could I possibly miss that?!  It was amazing to see how  far these kids have come in just a few short weeks! 

The first Bruin home game.  Jon and I worked the concession stand.  It was kind of fun because we worked on the visitor side which meant we got to have the band students on our side.  Fun stuff!

Jon was experimenting with the camera.  I was his subject.  I don't love it.

I am one proud band mom!
So proud to finally have my shirt to make it official!

I took Luke to the ENT last week for a routine check-up on his tubes and a hearing test.  He loved wearing the earphones!  He sees his daddy wear them, which makes them extra cool when you are 4.  Update on the ears:  The tubes have been in for nearly 2 1/2 years.  I never thought they would last that long, but I am happy that they have.  Luke didn't do terrible on his hearing test, but he didn't do fantastic, either.  The lady that did that test said that he might have some fluid in his hear or something causing him to not hear the sounds.  Sure enough, the doctor looked in there and there was fluid.  He said that the tube is still in there, but isn't functional.  In the other ear, the tube is still in, but it is crooked and working it's way out.  We knew that at some point, if the tubes didn't come out on their own, that we would have to decided whether or not to surgically remove them or just let them eventually work their way out.  At this point, that decision seems to be becoming clearer and clearer.  Luke's ear (with the fluid) is ripe for an infection.  If an infection occurs, the decision is made for us.  We would have to have it taken care of pretty quickly.  Normally we schedule a follow-up appointment for three months out.  This time the doctor wants to see him back in six weeks.  This isn't sounding great.  Please pray that everything will work out.  (With surgery looming for me, I can't imagine surgery for Luke too!)  Anyway...look at all those stickers on Luke's shirt!  That means he did a super job at the doctor!  (He was most thrilled that they had Avenger and Iron Man stickers!  Can you tell he has a teenage brother???)

I couldn't resist taking a picture of the little guy before he left for school.  He has been waiting since March to wear this particular shirt.  He couldn't have been happier to finally get to wear it!  I couldn't get over how cute he looked in the grey skinny jeans and Converse.

Luke and I LOVE the Dollar Tree!  We got there fairly frequently.  Luke has had his eye on a collection of whales, sharks and dolphins for quite some time.  I told him earlier in the week that we could go on Friday after school to check them out.  You would think that he might forget.  Nope!  First thing Friday morning he asked if we could still go to the dollar store after school.  How could I resist?  I also couldn't resist letting him get not just one, but two creatures.  He really wanted to go home, fill up his pool in the back yard and play with his shark and "sperm whale".  Well...our extremely hot summer has finally chilled out and we were actually having rain come through on Friday. The next best thing...the kitchen sink, of course!  Luke was happy as a clam to play with his new sea creatures for a nice, long time in the kitchen sink rather that in the pool.

I love  I love that anytime Jon is on a trip, I can track where he is at.  No, not stalk him, but there is something comforting about knowing where he is at.  How did we ever live without all of this modern technology?

So...that's where we're at.
Life busy around here.
But really...God is good!