Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Girls on the Run

After doing the GOTR fall 5k with Ava, I decided I wanted to start it up at Stanley. So, I made sure we'd have some coaches and signed up! It was an amazing experience! If you've never heard of it, the program is "designed to empower young girls to believe in themselves and embrace their full potential as they become young adults". Girls on the Run is a 10-week program, training 3rd-5th grade girls for a 5k and teaching them essential life skills.
One piece of GOTR is a community impact project and our girls decided to help the homeless. They made posters, hung them up in the hallways, made announcements at morning community and over the intercom at the end of the day, and talked to their friends and families about their project. The girls made a goal of 500 food items and they ended up with over 650. So exciting! At the end of the season, they bagged everything and handed it over to an organization called Rock & Roll and Change the World. They even got to learn a little about homelessness and the kinds of people the food would be helping. Very proud of them!
A few weeks before the real deal, we had a practice 5k at school. Each girl had a running buddy and it was super fun! Parents and a few teachers came out to cheer them on and I think it really pumped up our GOTR team. They even received cute little medals and a certificate.
The real 5k was May 9. The morning consisted of smiles, laughter, nervousness, crazy socks, power poms for tennis shoes, colorful hair, painted faces, loud music, zumba, tired legs, encouragement, hugs, tears and accomplishment. Can't wait to do it all again in the fall!
We have tons of pictures from our season, but I wasn't sure if I should post them on here without permission from parents, so I did not. So, sorry...the pics are kind of boring, but the experience was not. :)

Some of the items that were donated at school.

Starting to fill up the pantry to which the donation was made.

They filled up these shelves and had lots more leftover that wouldn't even fit at the moment!


A little energy snack before the practice 5k.

Shoes and socks decorated and the girls were ready to rock the real 5k!

Miss Ava did the 5k with my mom this time, but she'll be my running buddy in the fall. :)


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Happy Birthday, B-man!

B-man turned five at the end of April. He was SO excited. I mean really. 
Last night as a four year old.

Birthday dinner at BJ's Brewhouse...his favorite.


Cute little transformers partying it up before swimming at the Y for B's birthday. I tried to get a pic of ALL the kids swimming but they wouldn't slow down long enough! 

Make a wish!

With Nana and Papa!

One of his favorite gifts!




Saturday, May 23, 2015

Chicago!

So we went to Chicago for the NRA show.  No, not that NRA...the National Restaurant Association. It was a "work" weekend for Erick and a play weekend for me. Yay!
The first night, we were treated to dinner at Joe's, listened to music at the Hideout, and experienced Second City (so darn funny). The next day, I slept off my headache while Erick worked. We then went to the Cubs game! Had beer, nachos, hot dog...got sunflower seeds spit on us...good stuff! We went to the Menu Masters awards ceremony and ate even more fabulous food, drank a little more wine. The ladies and I walked Michigan Avenue for a while on Sunday, then met the guys for brunch at Shaw's Crab House. We pretty much ate ourselves silly. Omg. Thank goodness we had some time afterwards to walk it off. We walked around Millennium Park and Navy Pier, taking everything in and thinking that next time, we'd bring the kiddos. We then had one more party on our last night. It was very cool...more food and beverages. We had some yummy cheesy pizza before we made it back to the hotel to pack so we'd be ready to leave early the next morning. Such a wonderful second trip to Chicago! And so much work to get wined and dined. :)


Dinner at Joe's. Fabulous seafood, steak, chicken, wine, everything!




The Hideout...so fun!

Cubs!


Cubbies game with the Freddy's gang


All dressed up with somewhere to go.



Random street guy. 

The Bean



Navy Pier



Seriously? We bought a red velvet cupcake from the ATM. Super yummy.



We Made It!

We made it! It's officially summer break!

I had a fabulous year as a reading intervention teacher. I loved working with small groups (though some were a little tougher than others), testing students for intervention, analyzing data, celebrating growth, working with my teammate, etc. What a great year!
Kelly and I after a work day. A much needed afternoon off!


Ava had a good year in first grade, although she had been counting down the days until break since December. :( She had a bit of a tough class this year and was pretty sensitive about it...just wanted it to be over. Made me kind of sad, especially since I've had the same kind of class and I felt bad for the "good" kids. She did have fun with friends and did very well academically...it wasn't like it was SO awful. Here's a first and last day picture for ya!



Brecken's PreK year was super and he had lots of fun with his buddies! B loved playing in centers and outside on the playground. He is very excited to start Kindergarten in the fall, although I'm a little nervous. I'm sure all will be well. Here's his first and last day picture!


We will definitely stay busy this summer! The Littles are both playing summer ball and taking a couple weeks of swim lessons. Ava will still be climbing at the Y and will also do another week of CYT summer camp. B was doing karate in the spring and may go back to that when ball is over. They have two games a week! 

So I've obviously gotten way behind on my posts...hopefully I can get caught up over the summer! :)




Friday, January 2, 2015

Christmas Eve

We did our traditional thing on Christmas Eve this year. Church, dinner with Mimi and presents! Dinner was fabulous, of course (made by the hubs) and we had a really fun evening!
Mimi and the Littles


My little Loves

Love them to pieces!

Tickle fight!




Mimi and the kids playing Legos.

Writing letters to Santa! Cookies, milk and carrots are all ready to go.



A Little Reflection

We decided to answer our reflection questions again, like last year! 
What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
Erick:
I think we’ve all gotten closer as a family. 
Heather:
We’ve gotten so much debt paid off and put our house on the market!

What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
Erick:
Overcoming panic attacks.
Heather:
Parenting a four year old boy!

What was an unexpected joy this past year?
Erick:
Finding running again.
Heather: I am loving Erick’s happiness and really wanting to be healthy. It is also super nice to not have five million bills to pay!

What was an unexpected obstacle or not so great thing?
Erick:
Panic attacks
Heather
: Issues with my family…sicknesses, sadness…I’d love to heal everyone and make everyone happy. But I just can’t.
Pick three words to describe this past year.
Erick:
Patience, strength, love
Heather:
Loving, busy, beautiful

Three words to describe your spouse's year.
Erick:
I would describe Heather's year as...frustration, relaxation, and fulfillment.
Heather:
I would describe Erick's year as...full of patience, growth and positivity.

What were the best books you read this year?
Erick:
Finding Ultra, Running on Empty
Heather:
This is Where I Leave You, Big Little Lies

With whom were your most valuable relationships?
Erick: Heather, God and the kids.
Heather: Erick, the kids and my mom.

What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
Erick: Not relying on booze.   
Heather: I don’t think I had a personal change. Answering these questions has made me realize that I don’t focus on myself and my changes. I focus on making sure all my people are happy and doing well with their lives. I need something that’s “mine”. I need to work out or have some sort of an outlet.   

In what way did you grow emotionally?
Erick: Probably just learning to deal with my emotions. 
Heather: I think I’ve grown more patient in some ways. But in another, I’ve decided to not be so patient and deal with things I don’t think I should have to worry about. Don’t sweat the small stuff, right? Not my circus, not my monkeys. J

In what way did you grow spiritually?
Erick: Learning to reply on God more and truly seek his guidance on a daily basis.
Heather: Talking more with God and trying to get my family to do the same. I need to do better with this, as it kind of goes in waves.  

In what way did you grow physically?
Erick: I started to get in better shape by running again. I’m eating better and taking better care of myself. 
Heather: I lost weight and I’m currently gaining it back over this winter break!

In what way did you grow in your relationships with others?
Erick: Being more honest and opening myself up more. 
Heather: I think Erick and I are always growing stronger. I’ve tried to be a good friend to others, but I’d still like to spend more time with girlfriends. 

What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
Erick: For work…making a difference in struggling restaurants. At home…trying to be a better example to my children. 
Heather: I love my job this school year and it’s such a fabulous change from teaching first grade all day long. Teaching small groups of reading is very fun, rewarding, and frustrating. J At home, the most enjoyable part is just to be with my family, getting closer, making traditions and having lots of fun!

What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
Erick: It’s all the same…traveling and being away from home. 
Heather: The challenging part of work is teaching the lower readers, some of which already hate to read in elementary school. I want to help them love reading! At home, the challenge is having patience with Ava who doesn’t want to know my way of doing things…just wants to do it her way. Can you imagine?! :) And having patience with Brecken who is the sweetest little man and then a little devil that can’t be controlled. The last challenge is being a single mom when Erick travels and getting back into the swing of things when he gets back in town. 

What was your single biggest time waster in your life this year? 
Erick: Thinking too much…overthinking things. And laundry.
Heather: Just doing other things rather than what needs to be done.  

What was the best way you used your time this past year?
Erick: Spending time with the family.
Heather: Duh. Being with my family. Love the cuddles!

What was the biggest thing you learned this past year?
Erick: To trust in God more. 
Heather: Patience…still working on it though.

Create a phrase or statement that describes this past year for you.
Keep moving forward. Things will always get better!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

NYE Reflection With the Littles

Just some questions I asked the kids today. I did the same thing last year...you can go back to the post to check it out! Here are their responses this time. Enjoy! :) Oh, and the spacing is a little jacked up. Sorry. Too tired to fix it. 

Ava     Brecken

What are mothers for and what do they do?
They are for keeping you safe and they do things that can help you stay healthy.
Mommies take care of you.

What are fathers for and what do they do?
Fathers are for taking care of you and being hilarious.
Keeps you safe.

What’s your favorite game?
Pass the Pigs
A puzzle game

What’s the last book you read?
The Most Magnificent Thing
Star Wars

What would you love to do outside?
I would love to dig!
Eating out there!

Best dessert?
Peppermint Roll that Mimi makes.
Cake

What are you good at?
I am good at sports like softball, making a mess and drawing.
Painting my Olaf.
Who is the most important person in your family to you?
My little brother because he’s sometimes sweet.
Vally because I like him so much!

If you could change one thing in your family what would you change?
I would change the using manners thing…I just don’t like using manners.
I would change Val into a human but he will still have some claws and a tail. Even have black on him and a real face and some Val ears.

What does your family do for fun?
We go on vacations.
Go to the pool.

What will you do when you grow up?
Be an artist or a singer or a teacher.
Freddy’s! I will make some stuff for some people that want to take it home or wherever they want to take it.

What was your favorite thing from this year?
        I liked playing softball. Recess is my favorite thing about school.
        Go to the pool.

What was your favorite thing that you learned this year?
        We learned a game called First Graders Walking Through the Room.
        Last time at school Mr. Gabe told me the there is this new thing that picks you up to see all the Christmas lights and Halloween lights together. A parachute! It’s a humongous one! He said that in Miss Joni’s class when we were eating. But what I just told you…I’m just kidding. I just thought he said that.

How do you hope this next year will be different for you?
        I think we should move and that we’ll get to go to Newton and stay there a whole night with Nanny.
        I don’t know.
GOALS FOR THE YEAR:
I want to go to the ranch for five days and four nights. I want to feed the cows, horses and find a good place to build a tree house. I want to learn how to do a flip.

         I want to learn how to do a flip in the water. I never knew how to do that, only Ava does. Even I want to do a cartwheel. I want to go to California. If they would have a pool I would want to do a cannon ball. And I want to climb a little tree. For real life. Also, I want to be a ladybug. I would abracadabra into a ladybug. Like I would abracadabra Val into a human.