Sunday, June 24, 2012

Extreme Days

Riley and Madi get to do Extreme Days at church starting tomorrow.  It's our version of VBS.  Madi chose cooking as her breakout class and Riley chose Art.  I'm super excited to be one of Riley's crew leaders and very excited to spend time with 5 and 6 year olds.  Should be a fun, fun week!!!  Riley is very excited and can not wait!

Drawing Pictures

Riley has been in quite the drawing mood!  She's enjoying drawing bubble letters and then coloring them in.  And drawing pictures of pages that are next to her.  She worked really hard on a picture and brought it over to me.  Here it is:

I was like "Oh Riley.  What is this a picture of?"  I knew that the girl was on the left as all of her girls wear long dresses and I knew it was a boy on the right because he has spiky hair.

Riley tells me "This is you kissing Daddy under the stars.  You are thinking about how happy you are (the heart bubble above my head).  I wanted to draw you kissing because I know how much you love Daddy."

So very thankful she knows that I love her Daddy very much!!  And no, I don't strangle him when I kiss him!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Father's Day

So I thought I wrote the blog for my mom on Mother's Day.  Nope, did it on her birthday.  SO... as I just missed my dad's birthday and thought that I had more time to think about what I was going to write as his birthday was June 4th, here is the top ten list of the things I love most about my dad. In no particular order!

Number One:  He loves people.

My dad has never met a stranger.  We often tease about how he'd ask people the question "So, ah, where are you from?" in line.  Any line - at Cedar Point, waiting at the airport, at the checkout at Walmart.  Then after they tell him where they are from, he often says "Never heard of it!"  I love that my dad loves people so much.  He truly cares about them and is always looking to help make others' lives better.  He genuinely is interested in what others have to say and has no trouble carrying on a conversation.  Not because he just wants to talk.  Though he is very good at that :)  But because he loves hearing what others have to say.  He always showed me that others matter and that life isn't all about ourselves.  I learned to look outside myself and to help others and to be a source of encouragement to others when things are hard.

Number Two:  He has a great laugh!

My dad loves to laugh.  You know that he finds things really funny if he leans back, puts his hand to his chest and then puts his hand over his mouth while chuckling the entire time.  You are really hysterical if he starts coughing and laughing at the same time!!!

Sometimes my dad laughs at you!  Like when I tried to add air to my car's flat tire by attaching the bike pump and pushing it up and down with my foot.  And then covering the tired with duct tape to hide the hole.  He laughed hard at that one.

Or when I was moving one of the hoses to the other end of the pool because the pool would fill up faster if there was a hose at each end.  He laughed hard at that one too.

Or when I used an outdoor brush to paint my closet white - inside!  He laughed... oh wait.  No he didn't laugh at that one.  He was very mad that I used an indoor paintbrush and ruined it.

I always knew that even though he was laughing at me, he was really just getting a total kick out of what I was doing.  I know that because I feel the same way about my kids.

Number Three:  He is proud of my brothers and I.

Jon just got married.  My dad could not have been more proud of where he has come from and who he is now and what an amazing wife he has.  Jim is getting a job shift and moving to Georgia at the end of the month.  My dad is so proud of him and has no doubt that he is going to be an amazing husband to some special girl one day.  He gets worried about Jim sometimes and can be tough on him, but it's only because he wants the best for him.  My dad was very tough on me about my grades in college and just about freaked out when I met a guy from Texas.  But I know he's very proud of where I am and who I am.  He truly has our best at heart - even when and especially when he has his strict face going on and is asking tons of questions and then giving us the answers.  I know it's just his fear that we'll have to learn a lesson the hard way and he really does just want us to learn things the easy way the first time so that life will be easier.  I love that he pushes us.  I love that he demands excellence and effort and focus in all that we do.  He makes us better people and he helps us to be the best in who we are and what we do.

Number Four:  He is the hardest worker I know.

90 hour weeks.  Six days a week.  For many, many years.  This was what my dad did to make sure our family could live.  But this isn't the only way he works.  My dad worked as a sales rep for many years following the early years and still worked incredibly hard while on the road.  Even now, he still works hard.  Working Saturdays just so the work doesn't back up.  But even more so, this isn't really why he's a hard worker.

I think he's a hard worker because when he works, he is actually working.  He doesn't waste time.  He is able to focus on a task and plow through it - all while knowing exactly where is going, what he wants to accomplish and what the ends of the project looks like.  It's a complete gift that many people don't have!

He pushes himself very hard.  Sometimes too hard.  He often finishes a job and then decides to start a new one as he's already sweaty and in clothes to work in.  Usually a lawn job.  He'll mow.  Then decide the bushes need trimming.  Then decide to help the neighbor and mow their yard.  Then clean the gutters and jump in the pool at the end to relax.

My dad uses his 'free' time to make sure his pool is run perfectly and there is not one leaf in it!  In fact, coming back home from Bermuda, he walked in the door and said "It's a mess!!"  Looking around the house, it was totally spotless.  Turns out he was talking about the leaves in the backyard.  And I'm sure that they are all cleaned up after today!

I love that my dad taught me how to work effectively and how to finish projects and meet deadlines and keep a budget.  I love that he sat down with me when I had my first checkbook and explained that I should not write a check unless I have money in the bank.  I love that he pushed me not to take on debt and to pay my bills on-time.  I was very fearful of mishandling money and knew that I had to be a good steward of what was entrusted to me.  My dad felt a great responsibility in taking care of money that was hard-earned.

Number Five:  He loves the Lord.

I love that my dad wants to be a godly man and serves Christ to the best of his ability.  I love that he is moved in services and home groups and during family time.  I love that he prays almost the same prayer at the end of all of his prayers.  And that Riley does that when she prays "May this food nourish and strengthen us to will and to do of thy great pleasure - Amen." Only Riley slurs the nourish and strengthen us part :)

Number Six:  He worries a lot because he really does just want everything to be perfect for his family.

We often give my dad a hard time about how much he worries.  But down deep, we know it is just because he wants to make sure we are taken care of.  And that he has used his resources to the best of his ability to provide the best.  He looks years down the road and just wants that reassurance that the people he loves will be in really great places in their lives.

Number Seven:  He is sensitive.  In a very manly way!!

My dad has the most sensitive spirit.  He cries at stories, songs, movies, you name it!  I love that he cares so much about others and is touched by their lives.  I love that he cries when God is working in his life and teaching him new things.

Number Eight: He has awesome quirks!

Because my dad worries a lot, he often says really great things like:

Don't park your car there.  It gives three other cars a chance to hit you.  Park it over in that far corner where the driver's side is against the curb and the front of the car goes into a curb.  That way you only have one side of your car open for someone to hit you.

I parked the car down there away from the restaurant because if someone was going to hit me, they'd have to fly through that barrier on top over there to get me. - said when parking the car at a restaurant when I was in college where the restaurant was higher than the parking lot below.  I'm serious.

I'm not going to tell you if there is a car there or not.  If I wasn't here, you couldn't ask me.  So you need to decided if you can get over a lane or not - said my FIRST time ever driving home. It was after church on Wednesday night in the dark and I cut off a semi-truck who was honking at me and we ended up having a huge argument about how I couldn't see the truck

Decelerate!!  That doesn't mean to brake!!

Why are all the things I remember about cars???!!  There are some other quirks that are just as awesome and I am at a loss at the moment to think of them.  Will have to update this with more of them.

I love that my dad teases his brother and sisters and family members.  That he purposefully would guess the wrong answers to Guesstures just to watch his mom get frustrated that he wasn't getting the right answer.  I love that he knows exactly where everything in his toolbox should be and still blames my brothers if something is missing (what did Jim do with that wrench?).

Number Nine: We're exactly the same.

Growing up, people always said I looked like my dad.  I can see that.  I may imitate my mom in many of my gestures, but I think I resemble my dad quite a bit too.  Though if you look at our personalities and our attitudes, we are very much the same!!

I get mad like he does (you're going to do what???!!  No here's the way you should do it...") and I worry like he does.  I can also get very sensitive towards others like he does.  And cry at certain songs no matter how many times I hear them.

I love that even though I'm a lot like my mom, I'm also a lot like my dad.  I can only hope that I encourage my kids and help them to be the best they can be like my dad did for me.  I hope that I can instill a hard work ethic in them and help them to appreciate all that they have like my dad did for me.

Number Ten: He is Bahpah!

Bahpah is Julia's name for Grandpa.  Our kids adore him.  Every time he enters our house and asks for the girls "Where's Julia?  Where's Riley?," the girls run around the corner.  Riley usually runs into Grandma.  Julia always runs straight to her Bahpah!!  They give each other a big, big hug.  It's incredibly precious to watch every single time.  My dad loves his grand-daughters and smiles just thinking about them.  What a blessing he is to our girls and will be to my brothers' kids one day!

Dad, you are amazing.  You've always worked so hard for our family to give us an incredible life.  And to be the best Dad you could be.  I think you are the best Dad ever and I'm so thankful God chose you to be my Dad.  I love you!!!!

Jumpstreet and Hawaiian Falls

5:30am wake-up call.  Riley is officially still on Bermuda time as she always woke up at 7:30 there which is... you guessed it - 5:30am here.  So an early start, but everyone in great moods.  The three of us went to get Julia and she was so surprised it was us.  She jumped up and down and screamed and cried.  Looked terrified.  Thinking she was thinking Lauren was still here!

Jeremy went into work today so it was just me and the girls.  We had tons of time in the playroom all morning.  Played hide and seek.  Love to hide with Jules - she giggles and giggles.  And if Riley walked past us, she'd point and say "There is Riley!"  The girls were very sweet to each other.  Though sharing is still difficult.  Heard "Dat is mine!"  and "No Riley!"  several times today.  Riley told me yesterday:  "I love Julia!  I love sharing with her.  I love caring with her.  I love giving things I don't want anymore to others."  :)

This afternoon Riley had her friend Parker's party at JumpStreet.  It is this indoor trampoline place with bounce houses and tons and tons of trampolines.  As Jeremy was at work, I had to figure out how to give Julia her nap and allow Riley some down time and still make it to the party at 3pm which is right in the middle of nap time.  Riley did not want to rest, but I could tell she was exhausted.  So after I put Julia down for her nap, I went to bed and told Riley she could stay with me or play in her room.  She chose to stay with me, but didn't like the books I had set out for her so she pouted and took a pillow and blanket on the floor.  And fell asleep there.

We all slept for a solid hour and a half.  Jeremy called me and as we talked, I softly said "Parker's party.  Parker's party."  Riley stirred, immediately got up, dressed and was ready to go.  Julia woke up easy and was excited about the party.  But she kept thinking we were going to the park and was confused that park was part of the kid's name.  So she cried as we walked into the building, but didn't stay crying very long!

We spent two hours bouncing on trampolines and sliding down bounce houses.  Julia loved it!!  She bounced almost non-stop.  Riley had lots of fun with her friends from school.  It was so cute to see them asking to play with her and watching them interact.  Sometimes Riley would lead and they would follow;  sometimes other kids would lead and Riley would follow.  They were all so kind to each other and respectful.  At the end, Riley thanked both of the parents and the grandparents without having to be asked to say thank you.  I thanked her for being so thankful.  Then she thanked me and told me she was using her very best manners.  I was a proud Mommy!

Julia cried all the way home because she did not want to leave!!  She had a blast.  Our subdivision had reserved the water park near us for the night from 6:30 - 10:30.  Totally free of charge to us!  Well, except for the fact that we pay HOA dues yearly and that goes into it.  But it would normally be well over $100 just for us to go and it was free!

We'd talked about going, but hadn't been sure if we really wanted to do it the night after getting back from vacation.  But we were all sweaty from bouncing and the girls were up for going so I talked to Jeremy and he was on his way home.  So I made them a quick pasta dinner, got them dressed in their suits, covered in sunscreen and just a little while after Jeremy got home, we headed to Hawaiian Falls.

The girls weren't really sure what to expect.  Once they saw the water slides and pools and everything around them, they both had huge smiles and were ready to go!  We found a spot to put our things and then headed toward a shallow pool area right by the little kid's slides and water jungle gym area.  Julia was totally satisfied just sitting in the water and splashing everywhere!  Riley wanted to go down the huge slides so badly, but wasn't tall enough.  So we got her used to it by taking her up the stairs - which had tons of heavy water pouring down on them so you got super drenched - and I went down the twirly green slide with her.  Very short and fun and got her used to it all.  She loved it!!!  Julia watched a few times and wanted to do it.  As soon as she went down, she was jumping up again and turning around to do it all over again.

Then Riley said she wanted to do one of the larger slides for kids her age.  So we went up together only to find out that she had to go down all by herself.  She was like "Ok!" so she watched a few kids go and then went down herself.  She did fabulous!!!  Normally hates having water in her face and her eyes and had no issues at all at the water park.  So I went down the slide following her and then repeated the process a few times.

I had the 'great' idea that we should all go on the lazy river.  Not sure what I was thinking would be so 'great' about it.  We got lifejackets on both girls.  I attempted to hold Julia and get into an inner tube.  Ended up sending the inner tube flying into a lady next to me.  Felt horrible about that!  So a lady was getting off a tube and I asked her if she could hold Julia for me.  Like "Hi Stranger.  I need your tube.  Could you hold my toddler while I try to get on it without moving down the river without her?"

Thankfully she gave me Julia back and Jules and I headed down the river.  Jeremy and Riley were not having as much luck.  Riley didn't quite fit in the tube by herself and was laughing that she could float from her lifejacket!  Jules and I are floating away and they can't seem to get into the tube.  Finally I held onto the wall (a no-no, but I wanted to make sure we could find each other!).  Down the river comes Riley sitting tall on top of Jeremy who is like "whose idea was this??"  :)  We had a peaceful time down the river.  Though getting off the inner tubes was exciting too - holding Julia while shoving myself forward and keeping her above water.  Of course, I sent the tube shooting behind me, but thankfully, there wasn't anyone there.

We got ice cream for a buck, had some chips and a hot dog and played a little more in the water.  The girls had a blast and again, Julia cried all the way home because she didn't want to leave.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Disembarkation Day

Riley woke up quite happy this morning.  Having slept through dinner and all night long.  She doesn’t remember being stirred to go potty or to change her clothes.  She just laughed about it.

We got all packed.  Grabbed breakfast upstairs at the café.  Then got in line to disembark.  Was a super easy process and went great.

We caught a taxi quickly and got to the airport with plenty of time to spare.  So now we sit and sit and sit and sit.  Dallas is getting bad thunderstorms so our flight has been delayed already.  Just praying we get home safely and if possible, quickly.  Would be a beautiful thing to be home in our own bed (since we can’t be on the ship looking over the ocean).

Popular Ship Sayings

“Washy Washy” – means that you are about to be sprayed with hand sanitizer

“Happy Happy” – means smile and hope you are happy

“Happy Happy Washy Washy” – means smile and stick your hands under my hand sanitizer so that you will not spread germs and everyone will stay happy

“Smy!” – means smile

Last Day at Sea

Well, rain came for a little while last night.  Some rocking.  So easy to sleep with the gentle rocking and sound of the ocean.  No rain today.  Very foggy.  Just heard the fog horn sound.  And in the low 60’s.

Very low-key day.  Started the morning off waking up to Riley’s happy, calm spirit.  So sweet every morning.  Room Service arrived and she ran to open the door.  We ate at our table and enjoyed a wonderful breakfast. 

Fog horn is going again.  You can’t even see the sky and the view of the ocean is only what you can see close by.  Can’t see to the horizon anymore.

After breakfast, I went to workout.  40 minutes on the elliptical – facing out over the ocean.  Watched a ‘behind the scenes: The Hunger Games’ while also looking over the waters.  My mom took Riley for a little while.  Got back to the room, read a little and then we all went to lunch.  We sat at the kid area upstairs at the café – cute little square vinyl chairs at low tables.  Riley ate tons of food – entire hot dog, pizza, cookies, and other things I can’t think of at the moment. 

This afternoon, Riley watched a Barbie Fashion Fairytale video and played on her iPod.  She cleverly put on sleepy music on her iPod and told Jeremy to sleep.  So he closed his eyes and she carefully stole his iPad away from him and giggled.  Silly girl!

She is now singing “I am you!!!  You are meeeeeeeeeeee!  I am you-who!  You are meeee-eeeee!”

I spent part of this afternoon with my mom and Aunt Monica – showing them how to crochet.  It was fun!!

We met everyone for a final cocktail at 4pm.  Then had dinner at the Venetian.  The plan had been to see the final show, but before our food even arrived, Riley set her head on the table and was fast asleep!  Slept through all of dinner.  Jeremy carried her to the room and set her down on the bed.  We got her up for a short potty break and changed her.  She slept through the entire night.  Was a very, very tired girl.

We’ll disembark tomorrow at 8am.  Our flight is supposed to leave at 1pm so hopefully there won’t be any problems with it!!  Looking forward to unpacking and being home and enjoying the rest of the summer.  Will miss the cruise and the island, but as Dorothy says – “There’s no place like home!”

Back at Sea

Today has been full of swells on the ocean.  You feel like you’re sinking into the floor and then being lifted up and tossed right and left.  Handrails have been very nice today in the hallways!  Wasn’t horrible, but just enough all day long that you can tell the ship is rocking constantly.  The ocean was deep blue today with more waves than we had seen before.  Lulled you to sleep!

Riley slept great and so did we.  She woke up, ate breakfast, and took a bath courtesy of Jeremy.  I took a Dramamine after breakfast and crashed again.  Can not stay awake after taking that stuff.  Plus the rocking just sacks me out.  After Riley’s bath, she lay down on the bed and she took a nap.  So Jeremy had time to just relax on the balcony and read for a while.

We woke up and went to lunch at the Venetian.  After lunch, we watched a towel animal demonstration.  Learned how to make several animals out of hand towels, washcloths, and large towels.  Will have to watch some YouTube videos to learn how to do them as they only demonstrated them and didn’t have us do it hands-on.  So while it was cool, I still really don’t know what I’m doing!

Riley played in my parents’ room for a bit.  I came down with my mom and they used her Kindle light on the curtain and then did hand shadows.  Was so cute.  And we had a tea party for McKenna (her doll), Chee-Chee and Dolphee.  She was very creative in her use of cups and plates.  And fed the dolls food that were actually sugar packets.  My dad watched a movie and Jeremy read some more.

We went down to the Stardust Theater and saw a show that used crew members throughout the ship demonstrating their skills.  Was really great!  One lady and four men from the Philippines did a tinikling act with long sticks where she does dance steps between the sticks. 

Best one was the last act which they called “Fountains.”  There were six people – each one wearing a towel and carrying a metal drinking container.  They all took a large gulp of water and turned to face the back of the person next to them.  One at a time, they spit the water out to make it look like a fountain – and ended up spitting on the person in front of them.  Then they would make poses and imitate various fountains – one person in the middle spitting out water while the others were in a circle facing the middle person and spitting water at the middle person.  The Enya music really added to it.

After the show, we went back to the room for a little while.  Got ready for dinner.  Seriously feel like all I have done is eat and sit.  Eat and sit.  That’s basically today.

Jeremy, Riley and I ate at the Venetian tonight for dinner.  Riley was extremely well behaved and very calm.  After dinner, we went back to our room and then went to the Spinnaker Lounge for The Second City Improv Family Show.  Was hilarious.  I love improv.  We had some good laughs and then came back to our room to read.  One more day on the boat.  Supposed to rain tomorrow – perfect day for that to happen!  Has been an incredible vacation.