Thursday, May 28, 2015

Traveling in between

So way back in January, Jimmy and I decided since 2015 marked our 5 year wedding anniversary and we had not been on vacation without our kids since before Charlie was born (so i.e. never without our kids), we decided it was time to book a trip to Mexico.  We settled on mid-May.  Not quite our exact anniversary (which is April 10), but not in the midst of the craziness that summer brings.

Money was saved, travel agent was called and just like that our vacation was booked.

Couldn't wait!

Until one of our vendors came in and said this conference they host was the same exact week as our vacation.  And the thing was...I actually really wanted to go to the conference.  One because it was for the forecasting software we use at work and I am chomping at the bit to learn more about it from a development/building standpoint and two...I mean it was in Orlando and they gave me a free ticket. 

Luckily, my work rocks and they wanted me to go to, so we changed our vacation with no impact to we were set.  But that meant I was going to be gone Sunday - Wednesday at the conference and then leave that next Sunday for Mexico until Friday.  UGH.  I literally haven't gotten on an airplane since last March when I went to London for work.  Or been away for Maddie for longer than one night.  Here went nothing though.  May - June are whirlwind months.  With my conference in Orlando, then Mexico for a week and then June 13 I'm headed back to London for work again...this time taking my mom, dad and sister with me.  So yeah - a whole year not getting on an airplane and then boom - May and June hit and I'm jumping in an airplane 3 times and getting a passport stamp twice.  Sheesh.  Exciting but bittersweet of course to leave those kiddos behind!

So here is a bit of what my in between has looked like the last two weeks (in Mexico now = time to blog on my phone at the pool = pretty sweet to catch up!).

This was my beautiful view in my hotel room in Orlando.  The Hilton at Bonnet Creek did not disappoint.

The first night we ate the literally most delicious meal of my life.  I'm not kidding.  And from being a consultant that ate out every meal every night for almost a full year and a half, trust me when I say I have had some nice dinners.  Our vendor took us to Charley's in Orlando and treated us to some delicious food - and wine.  So good!

But most of all - I was so happy to wake up to this sweet video from my family back home the next morning.  I love that Charlie is apparently eating yogurt off of Lightning McQueen.  Oh Chaz.

We were officially spoiled, so it was fun!  Downtown Disney for dinner on Monday night and then a fabulous event that they shut a portion of Universal Studios down for.  I think there were 5 bars we could go into with lots of food.  The best was the karaoke bar though - was so fun to sit and watch people - some were really good and some were REALLY bad.

I did go with my co-worker and friend, Jackie, and she also had a baby last year, so we had in mind that we were both going to go to this conference and get all kinds of sleep since we were away from our babies (her son is about 3 months younger than Maddie).  HA - no way.  We were out every night eating and drinking...but it was still fun!

The week consisted of sessions during the day, maybe some day time drinks (courtesy of our sales rep), some fun drawings at Universal (Jimmy said that's exactly how I stand - I should work on my posture!), and of course...the week ended with a long travel day home that included pumping right in the middle of the Orlando airport woman's bathroom.  


Surprisingly, as this is like the 24th month of my life that I have been breastfeeeding/pumping for one of my children - I literally have NO shame.

Wednesday night I made it home JUST in time for bed and to see these sweet faces.  They greeted me as I pulled in the driveway and we were all equally excited to see one another (glad they were excited to see me!)

We spent the next few days hanging out and doing a whole lot of nothing.  It was wonderful.  We cleaned and did SO SO much laundry.  And played A LOT.  In the tent, went on bike rides and watched the rain.

Oh and in between - I made Jimmy help me hang this up.  Not sure what I think - still needs different stuff on the shelf..but I'm going to paint the three bottom panes with chalkboard paint.  We will see.  I saw it on Pinterest and had these old windows from our old house and went with it.  This wall has been a challenge for me since we moved in.

Did I mention laundry?  Oh and catching up on the bachelorette (seriously though, you have to be so promiscuous this season??!).  

And BUZZ LIGHTYEAR.  Charlie found this costume I bought on clearance after Halloween last year and all of a sudden became obsessed.  He looks pretty dang cute in it though.

Even wore it to Walmart with Jimmy.

And after 3 days at home, I packed up another suitcase and got on another plan and told my babies goodbye one more time (left them in good hands with both our parents this week!) on the way to Mexico with this cute guy....

So in between traveling all over, it was a good three days and I was thankful for that time.  thankful for their smiles.  And how I feel like they have grown up so much lately - interacting and playing with each other so much.  These kids are just so stinking cute and sure, absence makes the heart grow fonder...but I'll always be so in love with them.

What does help the absence?  The fact that Charlie is MUCH better with Face Time now.

Thank goodness!!!!  Because when I'm in London and the time is so different - that's when it's the hardest for me! Thank goodness my parents and sis will be there for some fun times though!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

What's up Wednesday - May!

As I did last month, I am joining this fun "What's up Wednesday" link up on the last Wednesday of the month with some of my FAVORITE bloggers.  Mix and Match FamilyPinterest Told Me To and the Larson Lingo.

What we are eating this week...

Haha- well this week Jimmy and I are in Mexico at an all inclusive resort- so we are pretty much eating whatever we like.  So far we have had some delicious breakfast creations, yummy lunches but our favorite had to have been the steak last night!!  It was perfectly cooked and enjoying it with this view wasn't too bad either.

Don't worry- next week we are back to reality and meal planning!  My kids are enjoying delicious food courtesy of both sets of our parents!

What I'm reminiscing about...

Our honeymoon at this exact resort 5 years ago.  It's been crazy thinking that it was 5 years ago we were here, newly married and just so excited at what our new life was going to bring us.  We had a talk last night about what we want our next 5 years to look like and just really couldn't stop going back to how thankful we are for all these joys we have been blessed with these first five years.  From new jobs, houses, new opportunities, but mostly for our beautiful children.  Oh and that we still love each other ;)

Needless to say we look like babies!!

But it feels like honeymooners are everywhere and it's fun to see their child like freedom and excitement and think back to just a few years ago.  I heard one couple at the pool talking about how disappointed they were that during their ceremony, the unity candle was lit at the wrong time.  I laughed because my oh my those were the days when that was your biggest concern right?!  But at the same time it makes you kind of wish for that time again!!

What I'm loving...


Ok where did May go??! I'm so confused.

Regardless...June is just around the corner, our neighborhood pool is open, t-ball is starting this weekend, birthday parties are being planned and vacation prep for June and July is in motion.

While its 90 degrees on Mexico now, I know Kansas is a little cooler- but still- BRING ON SUMMER!  I can't wait to get the kids in their swim suits and to the pool.  Charlie will love it even more this year and with Maddie starting to walk, thank goodness our neighborhood has a zero entry.  She will be a whole lot different than last year.

Charlie and his buddy Jack have grown up SO much this past year!

What we've been up to....

Well for me personally- I have been traveling a lot and working and relaxing.  And missing my kids. Ha! Nice combo.

The kids? They have been having so much fun with their dad when I was in Orlando and then with their cousins and grandparents while we are in Mexico.  Here is an adorable picture of Maddie getting a bottle from Pops!!

Don't you worry - our families have been sending us some fun pictures and videos of what our kiddos have been up to while we are away - that's a post of it's own :)

What I'm dreading...

Monday, June 1.

Maddie is getting tubes.

So I'm not actually dreading it because girlfriend needs tubes BAD.  Like she has had 7 ear infections since January.  That's not right.

However, after our ENT consult last Friday, the doc was saying she actually probably hasn't had 7 ear infections nor needed medicine those 7 times (which inevitably always gives her a wicked bad diaper rash) and that its just fluid that won't leave her ears.  Poor thing.

Why I'm dreading it though?  Well, our ENT only does surgeries on Mondays.  Since this last Monday was a holiday, his schedule is fuller than that means the first early morning surgery (that is best for kids because they cannot eat/drink before them) wasn't until June 15.  I will be in London that week for work so that was a that put it on June 22.  Almost a month away.  She's in so much I talked to the nurse and he has an opening for surgery on Monday, June 1, but it is in the afternoon.  So that means (depending on the actually surgery time, which we will find out on Friday), she cannot eat or drink anything 2 hours before she is supposed to be at the hospital.  And she can only have clear liquids when she wakes up.  Have you seen my daughter? Let's just say girlfriend does not like to miss a meal (nothing wrong with that) is going to be a rough morning.  I'm envisioning driving around KC for 2 hours prior hoping she sleeps in her car seat the whole time.  

Maybe I'll start listening to serial??!

Anyways- I'm excited to get it done so we can be ear infection free (hopefully) but dreading the morning before.  But better one morning of "suffering" than a whole month!!!

What I've been working on....
Working on work!

I have been busy at work implementing some new software we bought and training on that, gearing up for my annual trip to London and (my favorite work thing) building a new model to help make some decisions.  I'm for sure a finance nerd because building models = my jam.

In other things- we are working on getting Maddie to take steps consistently (she will take 3-4 at a time) and also gearing up for Maddie's first birthday!!!! Invitations should be printed this week and I'll pick up and send out ASAP.  Hard to believe she will be a year old!  

This is the template of what her invites will look like - I love it!!!

Also, we have her one year pictures on Wichita the first weekend in June so ordering some outfits for that and getting ready for another road trip there- this time not ending up in the ER!

What I'm excited about...

So it has rained so much in KC (not as much as our Texas neighbors, thank goodness!)...that my excitement still lies in our backyard.  They started the project over 2 weeks ago and said it would only take 5 days.  So that means we just need 5 fully dry days.  In a row. 

Hasn't happened at all.  

They have made progress when they could but for now our backyard still looks like a big mud pit.

I cannot wait for it to be done and able to use!!!

What I'm watching/reading...

Well, my normal TV shows are done until the fall- but the Bachelorette started up and I cannot WAIT!!  I did watch the first two episodes, but missed the third- so looking forward to Monday's third episode.

Also, lots of travel time + beach time means lots of reading.  Like more than I have read in over a year.  It's kind of nice - I forget how much I miss reading.

Here's what I'm reading now:

The Fringe Hours (also joined an online bloggers book club for this- loving it so far!)

We are Called to Rise (finished on my way to and from Orlando - very good!)

The Husbands Secret (just finished at the pool today - SO good)

What I'm listening to...
beach music baby!!

And this is Jimmy's song of the summer: Cheerleader (by OMI) apparently it must be the remix too.  He is saying this is the "summer song" that will be all over the radio, etc.  However, until today I had yet to hear it anywhere else but from his iPod - then these fun people sat next to us at the pool and guess what?  They played it!!  Check it out.

What I'm wearing...

Oh man.  Remember when I was stressing out about what to pack?

Welp - turns out that all I really needed was a few swimsuits I loved, a few coverups and a couple sundresses and I was good to go.  I wish I could have this simple of a wardrobe on KC!! 

I got these from Target and they have literally been what I have lived in so far.  However, tomorrow?  I will be sporting the navy tankini that I got on sale and love - only because my stomach is SO SO burned (I know - I am still not sure how because I have been slathering 50 SPF on it all week!) that I am not subjecting it to any sun tomorrow. 

What I'm doing this weekend...

We get back in town late on Friday night and the weekend kicks off back to real life bright and early on Saturday!  

I'm playing in a softball tournament for KC corporate challenge and our first game is at 7am.  Depending on if we win or lose, I might have to miss Charlie's first t ball practice/game (SAD!) but at least our fields are only 5 min apart.  Who knows if we will win or lose, but that could be my weekend.

What I'm looking forward to next month....


My parents, sister and I are headed over to the UK the middle of June.  While there are celebrations I might be missing (a baby shower and a wedding shower)...I'm still excited to get over there with them and have them experience this amazing city!! I'm also excited to go back and not be pregnant this time so I can enjoy the pubs with my European coworkers!!

And I'm hoping we can get a Bruns family picture with the guard for our Christmas card - this time I won't touch him like I did last year!!

And of course - Maddie's birthday party :)  However, even though it is in June - I am in denial and counting that as July because that is when her birthday is (just a week earlier due to her bday being on a holiday).

What else is new...

Hmmmm- lots going on as usual.  Just trying to stay above water. I haven't got to blog as much as I wanted to and am realizing when I don't get to blog how much I do miss it!!

Summer meal planning seems to be so much easier too because it's just "throw this on the grill, Jimmy" and make a few sides and wah la!

Bonus: What is your favorite thing to grill this summer?

Ha the bonus question goes nicely with my last comment too!  

We will be fully using the grill this next month- hopefully on our new patios!!!  Salmon from Costco is one of our favs to cook and then burgers are a go to also.

Boulevard brats are a favorite as well! And some grilled chicken too. Pretty much we will put anything on the grill!  I would like to put a pizza on there too...anyone try that??

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

First trip to the K!!!

Can you believe that Charlie has never been to Kauffman stadium??? He's almost 3 years old and since his dad is such a die hard Royal's fan- it's kind of hard to believe (seriously, he's crazy - see here for the craziness that ensued during their trip to the World Series this last fall)!!!  But in all reality- the games are at 7:10 (which is bed time) or 1:10 (which is in the middle of nap time). So because our little man seriously thrives off a schedule, we haven't wanted to mess that up.  

Finally- Jimmy decided it was time for him to go.  And I was in and excited! I knew he'd love it!  And I was planning on just strapping Maddie in the Ergo and off we go.  However, little miss got another stupid ear infection (#7 since January!!!!), so I asked my mom to come hang with her while we took Charlie.

If you can't tell- after waking up from naps everyone was excited- ha!

But Charlie is at the perfect age.  He is so into the Royal's and can name off at least 4 players- it's pretty cute (and I guess expected with how much the games are on in our house).

The giveaway that night was a tote bag and apparently people were all about it because at 4:15 there was a HUGE line!

When we got in, we immediately went down to the field trying to get someone to autograph our ball during batting practice.

Charlie was mesmerized with the big field!

He brought his own glove and took a seat (legs crossed- love it!) while he put his hand in and out of his glove just like Jimmy does.

It didn't take long to get hot and bored when we headed to the little K (kids portion) he was ALL about it.

He liked the carousel, but his favorite?! Well that was running.  Nonstop.  I had to go with him first, but after that- that was all he wanted to do!!!

This video that Jimmy took is what he literally did OVER and OVER again.

Pretty stinking cute.

So we finally made our way ALL the way up to our seats.  When Jimmy bought them, he said there was no one around us.  Well since everyone loves the Royal's now....the place was almost sold out.  So after sitting there only an inning and a half, we gave in and went back to the little K.  He wouldn't stop talking about running the bases.  If you can't tell I was thrilled to carry that little man all the way back down the stairs!

But never fear- dad showed up with some dippin dots (our favorite) and we finally pulled him away from running.

But then he literally ran like 20 more times (I'm not kidding) and the only way I could pull him away was to promise cotton candy.  The weather wasn't looking too promising, it was getting late and we still needed to go get his certificate for his first game from guest services.

And finally got a good family pic minus one (next time Maddie will be with us!).

We also plopped down and had some serious conversations together.

And then our sweaty kid finally got his cotton candy and all was right in his world.

Overall it was a lot of work getting him around...but it was seriously so much fun!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Retirement surprise

So here's my dad.

And that's Amy, his teaching partner that he has shared a closet with for the last 10 years!  Even though she's closer to my age than his...they are the best of friends.  Because that's how my dad rolls.  No matter who you are, he will be your friend.  

And friends he has made over the last 25+ years of teaching!!!  When we moved to KC from Texas when I was about 2, he started teaching in Desoto school district.  My dad was always the best teacher and always brought my sister and I up to his school.  I remember good times at Desoto Junior High (where he first taught) and his classroom upstairs and playing in the gym.  I even had some of my own practices there.  

20 years ago, they opened up a new middle school in the district and Desoto Junior High was no more- his new teaching home was Monticello Trails Middle school.  When that opened in western was literally in the middle of nowhere.  Weren't very many houses, no stores, etc out there.  Now everything has gone up around that area and it's not so desolate anymore.

Crazy how things change in just 20 years ;)

My dad and his 8th grade teaching partners during his last trip to World's of Fun the last week of school.

Ok to the point of this all- my dad decided it was time retire.  Which is not actually going to happen because my dad is a busy body, but he decided it was time to stop teaching.  I know he had been talking about it for awhile, but this was the year.  What a decision to make, right? I mean he's more than earned it- but my dad is a staple of that school.  I mean he's been there all 20 years it's been opened.  He now is teaching with people that he taught- crazy!  He coaches literally every sport, runs to the clock at every game and is always volunteering to help out.  Like I said, he is a staple of the school.

So of course, even though it was against his wishes, he had to have a proper goodbye.  And Amy did just that and planned an amazing assembly to celebrate.  It was done in tandem with the 20th anniversary celebration of the school - so adding something for him at the end was a perfect disguise.

He was clueless.

However, he did make it clear he wanted NOTHING to celebrate it- so my mom had to do some convincing that just something little (an open house after school) would be ok.

Well, Amy blew that out of the water.  And I'm so happy we were there to witness it.

We got there and a bunch of teachers from the school that had since left were filing in and listening to an awesome video Amy put together about the school.  When we knew he was in and wouldn't see us, we snuck out to see what was going on.  

And look at what we found?  Hah! These girls had assembled the "world's largest cookie cake" in honor of my dad.  Apparently he brings everyone cookie cakes to school when there ks something to celebrate.  You found out you're pregnant? Cookie cake.  The cafeteria lady is having a birthday?  Cookie cake.

I had no idea he did this.  So so funny!!

So after the 20th anniversary video, Amy took the mic and said it was time to celebrate Mr Bruns- so these girls wheeled the cookie cake in and my family followed in behind- he had no idea we would be there.

She had him get up and presented him with some pretty amazing memory books- she had pulled together every single picture from each sports team he coached over the last 20 years at MTMS (except track).  What an amazing memory! And so funny to look at.

Then- she announced that they made a Roger Bruns sportsmanship award.  The award would go to one 8th grade girl and one boy that demonstrated outstanding sportsmanship during their time at MTMS.  Two of his coaching partners stood up and said some pretty amazing things about my dad before they announced the winners.  He was a mentor to them and one of the coaches was crying.  It was just so amazing to see what an impact he has on people. 

We had met the parents of the girl that was getting the award in the office and I lost it when I looked over at them when she was being presented the award - her dad had tears streaming down his face - he was so proud.  I just kept thinking how proud he must be and then of my own kids and was so happy.  What an honor for my dad to have that ongoing award named after him to keep his legacy going.

Then she started the video.  It was from all his coworkers over the years about the impact he had on them.  It was so fun to hear the stories everyone had.  From his goofy antics to talking about his service through mission trips. 

I already knew that my dad was pretty special - but hearing all these people talk about him...I was blown away.  He is literally one of a kind and has changed so many people's lives for the better.

Of course, Charlie wanted to run up and watch the video with him and next thing I know, Maddie is taking off crawling towards him too!!

Needless to say, these kids are pretty obsessed with their papa.  The feeling is mutual!

After the assembly, my sister got these pictures of my dad interacting with his kids.  And I just love them.  This is his happy.  He's in his element with all his energy and being his goofy and caring self.

What lucky students they are to have a teacher like him.

Another thing that Amy presented?!? A Roger Bruns bobble head!!! Hahaha!  Apparently my dad regularly won the "Sunshine award" among the teachers because of his positive attitude, so this bobble head is the "Bruns-shine" award. Perfect!!!

So there really was an open house after the assembly for him that wasn't a surprise and he got to see many people that he had worked with from all over the district come to wish him well.

And eat cookie cake and Costco cake (his fav!)

Since the family was all together- we had to get a shot. And it was a pretty good one.  

I already knew I was so blessed with an amazing family, but this just confirmed it even more.

It was such a great afternoon celebrating my dad.  I literally got home and told jimmy I feel like my life is so minuscule now- and that I need to make an impact on more people! As hard as being a teacher is (and believe me- my dads a teacher, mom is a counselor and mother in law is a I have an appreciation for how hard working in a school can be!), how amazing all the lives you get to impact and change.  It's pretty amazing.

So here's to you, Roger Bruns.

One of the most amazing teachers, coaches, mentors and most of that there ever will be.  Your legacy will continue in all the good things you do and service you provide to the community long into your retirement.

I love you so much and am so proud to call you my dad!

Some of my favorite parts of this video:
  • How everyone loves him so much and is always making other people happy
  • The story about him going to mission trips  and LITERALLY giving the clothes off of his back - that's pretty amazing.  I love that
  • Some of the teachers are his age or older and some are way younger- his impact to people has no age limit