Wednesday, August 31, 2011

First Day of School!

So Tuesday was the dreaded (ahem, exciting) day we all had been waiting for. The first day of school! Kindergarten for Brooke, and Preschool for Caleb. We got up around 6:30 am to start getting everyone ready. The kids seemed really confused as to why it was still dark outside, and they were very slow moving, to say the least! Even poor little Rachel was saying "Im tired, im tired!" So i know its going to be an adjustment. I helped them get ready in their outfits I had picked out (Brookes was new but Calebs was something he already had-- its not as fun picking out boys' outfits!) Brooke wore the shirt I had found her awhile back, with a skirt and a blue bow with a school bus on it, so cute! We had packed their bookbags up the night before, and made sure we had all the paperwork and classroom school supplies setting out, so all we had to do was grab them. I cant get over how much STUFF i hauled into their classrooms. And its just going to get worse as the years go by, im sure! We went outside with about 10 minutes to go, and took lots of "1st day" pictures. The kids kept trying to run away from me and Arnold was rolling his eyes alot, but come on now they know how i am! I have to have several pictures from every occasion to make me happy, so Ill have something to look back on! If thats my only way of freezing that moment in time, youd better be sure im doing it! And of course the text pic of them to send to their Grandparents and other family members, which they were proud of :)

We got to the school around 7:25. School starts at 7:50, but you can brin the kids in anytime 7:25 or after. Brooke and Caleb were actually the first kids in their classrooms that morning. We dropped off Brooke first. I took a pic of her with her teacher, and gave her a hug, and then her teacher was leading her off to get involved in an activity, and we were just there for a split second it seemed like. Brooke looked at me and her dad and waved and said "BYE!" You could tell it didnt bother her at all, she was ready! And it made it easier that she had gone to full-day preschool last year, so I was already used to everything, and so was she. Then we dropped off Caleb. We went in and Arnold was showing him where to put his bookbag, blanket, planner, and where the bathroom is, and everything else. The teacher assistant seemed very impressed and told him he could teach ALL the kids the ins and outs when they got there ;) Arnold was the one who dropped Brooke off last year on his way to work, so he know all the details.. I have to admit I was a little proud! ;) Caleb looked a little nervous, but his teacher got him into doing a puzzle (he LOVES puzzles!) and so when I leaned down to hug him and tell him bye, he already seemed ok with us leaving. Im glad he didnt cry or anything, because I had been expecting that.

Anyway, then we walked out and went back to the van. The whole morning I had been holding back tears.. I could feel the burning in my eyes and nose, but I didnt want to cry in front of people (like i did last year!) Because I knew Id be embarassed. But when we got back to the van and Arnold buckled Rachel into her carseat she said "NOOO! WHERE IS BOBO?! GO GET BOBO!!!" And i burst into tears then, and cried the whole way home. I didnt even think about how it would affect Rachel! Here she had had her older siblings all summer long and now her buddies and playmates had left her.. and she didnt understand!! Poor girl. She seemed to get over it pretty quickly, but Mommy stayed upset for most of the morning. What can I tell you, Im a sap! Thankfully I went out that day with a friend and I was able to stay distracted from what I was thinking about. I KNEW theyd be ok, but its just so hard starting a new stage in life with kids. Its strange not having them right there with you like they had been. And of course its hard accepting that they are growing up right before your eyes, when it seems like just yesterday they were little babies snuggled in your arms! Ah, im going to cry again... better not talk about this anymore ;)

Anyway, that afternoon I was more than ready to get to the school and pick up the kids, and hear how their day went. When I got to the place to pick them up, the teacher had placed Brooke beside Caleb and they were both together waiting on me to pull up :) The teacher said Caleb had had a wonderful first day, and I was relieved to hear that! He seemed proud of himself and told me "I didnt even cry Mommy!" And I proceeded to ask them a million questions about what they did, who they met, what they learned, etc. They both seemed to have had a great day, and Brooke talked my head off all afternoon about how it had been. So we survived the first day, and heres to many more successful school days!! :) :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Sunday morning we got everyone ready and went to church. Ray was back from his trip, yaaay :) He actually sat on our row too this week :) Jesse our pastor was preaching at another campus that morning, so the student pastor did the sermon. I really liked it. I like all the people who have preached there so far. He was comparing our lives to rubix cubes, being all twisted and messed up and we need Jesus to set us back on a straight path and help us out in life, to make the right decisions and stuff. And this guy was hardcore.. he really wanted to make a point, about how to get rid of your old life and start anew with Jesus. So you know what he did? He took a sledgehammer and pounded down on that cube! And the pieces went flying EVERWHERE!! Did I mention that we now sit in the front row?! I had liked it up until then... haha. Needless to say, the front rows got quite a show and it made quite an impression on us.. Arnold got hit in the cheek, I got hit in the arm, and Erika got hit in the mouth. They could have at least warned us!! It all happened to fast!!! Haha. And Arnold said he wondered why in the world the band had covered up their guitars before the sermon.. and that my friend, is WHY!!!! :) :)

Anyway, I ran home with Arnold and the kids and ate a quick sandwich and then met my mom at the movies. She had asked if I wanted to go see "The Help" with her. And I was soo excited, because I had just recently finished reading the book, and it was awesome! People were right when they said it was one ou couldnt put down! The movie theater was PACKED... mostly with women, but I saw a few men in there too. (no way my dad or husband would have gone to that movie though!!) And wouldnt you know it, out of the whole theater, these two ladies picked to sit beside me and my mom.. and they were the chatty type. They talked off and on throughout the same thing. They had comment about EVERYTHING that happened. And the one to the far right was hard of hearing, I can tell, because she said WHAT WAS THAT? after several parts and her friend had to repeat it. Grrrr. It was very irritating. I know most people would have said something.. but me being nice (and scared of confrontation!) I just sat there and grinned and beared it. I was still able to enjoy the movie.. it was that good. Plus, I knew if I said something id have to sit there beside them the rest of the time and can you say AWKWARD!!! Haha. Anyway, the movie was really long.. over 2 hrs. I wont give any of it away, but it was great. It went along with the book really, really well, I was impressed! There were funny parts, sad parts, and parts that really made you think about things in a different way. Id highly recommend it to all!!

She was just being silly I guess.. no idea why she just randomly wanted to pull up her dress.. but it was funny so I took a picture :) Hope she doesnt do that when shes older!!! :-x

Brooke's Family Bday Party

Saturday we had a family birthday party for Brooke. We had everyone come over to the house, had some snacks, and cake, and then she opened her presents. She had picked out a princess cake that I ordered for her, and they said they wouldnt be done with it until 2:30 and her party was at 3, so thankfully Arnold's parents were able to go pick it up for us (thank goodness for Grandparents, right?!) And it turned out really cute! Anyway, she got a lot of great gifts. Some new clothes for school this fall, including an owl outfit i had seen at Childrens Place and loved! So i was excited about that ;) And she got a Tangled doll (which she just had to take to church with her the next day!) and the Tangled movie (which Caleb wanted to see more than her!!) And a new Leapster Game--a Kindergarten game, which is actually really fun to play, ive already tried ;) And some other odds and ends. We then did the pinata, she had a cindrella pinata that i had ordered on clearance a long time ago and almost forgot it was in my closet! The kids had a blast with that.. we made Arnold hold it up and they went crazy trying to bust it open :) Then everyone hung around for the afternoon and the kids all played with the new toys and watched "Cars" movie, and the adults talked. It was a great time. And I LOVE birthdays, but I am glad we are done with all the kids bdays for the year.. seems like we've been partying all summer long, and Im on cake overload! Not to mention im always exhausted after a kids' party ;)

Brooke with her new Leapster Game

The Princess cake

Blowing out the candles

Monday, August 29, 2011

Uncle Gene's Surprise Party

Friday night we went to a surprise party for Uncle Gene (Arnolds Uncle) He turned 60 on Saturday! His daughter and son-in-law had been planning it for him for weeks, and Im so glad he never found out, it was great to see the look on his face! The kids spent the night with my parents, so Arnold and I were able to have a night out alone (those are always awesome ;) There were a lot of people there! It was at Catawba Country Club, and in a banquet hall.. everything looked so nice.

We had dinner, which consisted of BBQ or chicken, corn on the cob, chips, baked beans, and sweet tea. Everything was sooo good. Then they had cupcakes that someone had handmade, and they were pretty AND delicious. The flavors they had were lemon, red velvet, and carrot cake, and the colors were in lime green, yellow, and coral. Loved it! And the birthay cake for his candle was chocolate. They had a band there playing, and they were really good. They took requests, and knew lots of stuff, but mostly played classic rock. They played a Skynyrd tune, so I was happy! ;) They had a cash bar, and some of the people were really enjoying that, to say the least ;) Arnold took one shot with his cousin.. I didnt drink anything.. Dont drink anymore, mostly because of the medicines I am on now. Anyway, we sat with Arnold's family and had a good time just hanging out and chatting with everyone. Very laid back evening, and an awesome party!

After the party Arnold and I went to the movies to check out what was playing, but there was nothing we wanted to see that bad. So we went over to Kohls and looked around for awhile, and then to Barnes and Noble (not too much open that late!) And then we went home and were able to actually sleep all night without any kind of interuptions, and SLEEP IN, and my mom brought the kids home the next morning. It was awesome, to say the least!

Happy Birthday Uncle Gene!!!! :) :) :)

Arnold and I with Uncle Gene

My Father-in-law and I being silly. Our tongues were diff colors b/c of the cupcake icing :) :)

Brooke's 5th Birthday!!

Friday was Brooke's 5th Birthday. Thankfully Arnold was able to take the day off and spend with us. But then he woke up that morning feeling horrible, with a bad sinus infection I think, and he slept until 10:00 am! Haha. That was bad timing.

Anyway, Brooke woke up early and was so excited and telling everyone she was 5 now, and she was a big girl. We let her open her presents from us first thing. She got a lot of neat things. I had been buying stuff since way earlier in the year, and had a lot saved up. I hadnt even bought anything at all RECENTLY for her bday. She got a Rapunzel blanket with her name on it, and a jewelry making set with those pop-on beads (that was the big hit with all the kids!), some pjs, new jewelry and hair things, some new books and activity books, the mermaid purse from Gymboree I bought a long time ago, a new Little Pet Shop playset, and some other odds and ends. The kids spent all morning playing with the new toys, even fighting over them on occasion, of course!

When Arnold finally got up (haha) I got ready and headed to Brooke and Calebs school, to have conferences with their teachers. They had me fill out some paperwork, and gave me a whole bunch of stuff to take home, and talked about what the year would be like, and whats expected of the kids, etc. It is so much information to remember! I hope I do ok this year, having 2 kids in school is going to be tougher than I thought. I love both the kids' teachers this year, so I am happy and excited that this year is going to go smoothly, hopefully. I found out that Brooke's best friend from her class last year is in her class this year, so she was thrilled to find that out (she was worried she wouldnt know anybody!) And by the way, having kids in school is expensive! haha.. everyone told me but I guess I didnt believe them before. Theres all these things here and there that really add up. All the supplies, lunch money, snacks, donations to things, school pics, etc. But anyway, I am looking forward to the year, but a little nervous too!

When I got home we all went out to lunch at Backyard Burger. Brooke loves burgers, so we were able to simple ;) Then we went over to Toys R Us for the birthday club thing, like we did with Caleb, where they give you a balloon and crown. They were out of helium so she didnt get a balloon.. but she got her crown.. she didnt seem too upset by that. And we let her pick out a small toy for her $3 off GC they send you. She picked a new Little Pet Shop playset (I guess she is really getting into those things lately!) of a little mouse and his cafe.. pretty cute. Then we went over to Ritas and got some italian ice. It had been awhile since we had gone, and boy had I missed it! ;) Brooke got cotton candy, Caleb got Blue Raspberry, and I got lemondae.. thats what I usually get unless they have Pina Colada! But it wasnt on the list this time.. booo :(

All in all, Brooke seemed to have a great birthday. She even came up to me, hugged my leg and said "Thank you for everyone Mommy, I loved it!" That kind of thing really warms your heart as a Mom, makes it all worth it :) :)

Brooke and her doll in their matching owl Pjs

Me and my baby girl (AHEM I mean Big Girl!)

Outside of Toys R Us with her crown and new Little Pet Shop playset she picked out
At Ritas enjoying her cotton candy Italian Ice :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Blog Honoring Brooke! For her Birthday :)

This blog just about breaks my heart to write! Tomorrow my BABY will be 5 years old! That is absolutely, un-imaginably insane. I cant believe 5 years ago I was going to my last dr appt, and then I would go into labor later that evening and have her the next morning! It has been FIVE years?! She is going to KINDERGARTEN next week? It just sounds silly to even say. But i guess I must come to terms with it, because it is TRUE.

I went into labor on Aug 25th, 2006. I was walking around all day having contractions but they were really far apart. That evening Arnold and I walked up and down the Target shopping center, trying to get things going. Then we went home and watched Full House on boxset, haha. We went to bed and over night I remember having more and more contractions, but still not very close. I woke Arnold up around 4 am to tell him (I was a nice wife, I had let him sleep all night until then!!) And he started timing them, they were 5-6 mins apart. So we still hung around. Then a little later that morning they came on FAST and SUDDEN, like 3 mins apart! Arnold was FREAKING out, and I was in so much pain. I thought I would have had more time! So he drove me to the hospital very quickly. We got there about 8am. The nurses didnt believe I was in that much pain and were being very calm and telling me to get into bed and get a gown on. I told them theyd better check me! So they finally did and I was 9cm dialated! I had labored at home the whole time!!!! I started pushing and at 8:55 Brooke Elizabeth was born! She was born 55 MINUTES after we got to the hospital! The dr *barely* made it in the room in time, she didnt do much work at all actually ;) Im still amazed at that story when I think back on it. Brooke could have easily been born at home! If i had waited any longer at all...

Anyway, Brooke is amazing. She has always been my stubborn, strong-willed, independent child. Ever since she was a baby, she would wiggle away from us and wasnt the cuddly type. She wanted to go crazy and explore everything! She has always been very out-going, social, and never meets a stranger. She has friends of all kinds and ages. She doesnt mind being left in a clasroom at church, or with her grandparents at all. she welcomes it! She has NEVER been picky, she will eat absolutely anything you will give her (I know I was lucky in that aspect!) She has always been off the growth charts at the dr. She has always worn 2 or 3 sizes ahead in her clothing.. and of course everyone knows she is so dang tall! She is smart as a whip too. Learned her ABCs, numbers, and lots of other things very early. She has always enjoyed being read to. Likes to make any excuse to stay up just a little bit later at night! She is up early and ready for the day on most days. She is VERY active, and would play outside all day long if you let her. She was always the one climbing and playing with the boys in Prek... She is not scared of anything! very rough and tough, and a great protector of her siblings. But has a very sweet side too, she worries about people and how they are doing. She has usually been a tomboy, but lately she has gone through a girly stage, and loves princesses, wearing dresses, and jewelry. Its amazing how all your kids can be so different. I love them all, for very different reasons!

**Brooke at a Glance**

Age: 5
New things: Starting Kindergarten! And Girl Scouts!
Height: 47inches- Seriously? Almost 4 FEET TALL?!
Weight: Around 50lbs
Best Friends: Daisy, Addison
Boyfriend: Malachi :)
Favorite Song: Lean on Me (it was her prek graduation song ;)
Favorite Show: Kipper
Favorite Color: Green and Pink (just changed, used to be purple!!)
Favorite Food: Hamburgers
Favorite Things to Do: Swimming, playing at the park, doing art projects
Is Into: Dolls, Polly Pockets, Her leapster, princesses, jewelry & hairbows, books, singing
Fave Places to Go: Shopping, to her Grandparents, on playdates, the park, Hickory Dickory Dock
"Lovey": Her doll named Sally

Brooke as a newborn. I cant believe she was ever that tiny!

A few months old
1 year old

2 Years old- Her first pigtails! Hanging out in our new van

3 Years Old

4 Years old. Ready for her Hello Kitty Birthday Party

Now- My Big 5 Year old!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mid-Week Randoms

~Sunday afternoon I went to a friends' babyshower. It was held at the church I went to growing up (and got married in!) Brooke loves to go with me places now, and do "girly" things. So she was thrilled that I took her with me. She even told Caleb he couldnt go, because it was "for girls only" :) It was nice getting to see people we dont get to see much anymore. And afterwards we went right down the street and saw Bill for a little while!

~Monday evening I had to go out to buy some things we needed, and it turned into a restful evening for me! Anytime out alone now is amazing, I guess i dont realize how stressed I get somedays with the kids. I went by Walmart and ordered Brooke a princess cake for her family bday party on Saturday. Then i went just browsing around the mall for awhile. Ended up walking all around it, and getting some exercise in there in the process! Just about EVERYTHING was on clearance, with them putting out all their new winter stuff, so I looked around and found a top that I think MAY just be part of Brookes first Day of School outfit.. we will see!

~Who all felt the earthquake yesterday? i was sitting on the couch reading stories to the kids before their naptime, and felt the couch vibrating and shaking all of a sudden. The windows were rattling a little bit too. Wasnt enough to REALLY freak me out, but I definately noticed it and was soo confused. I thought I had finally gone crazy! I even asked Brooke if she felt it. And she said yes.. so I started to feel a little beter, haha. About 5 mins later Mom called me and asked if we had felt it, then it all made sense. That was crazy though, never felt anything like it!

~Brooke and Caleb had their open house at school last night. We first went and met Brooke's teacher, and she seems really nice. Then we went to see Calebs teacher, who is the same teacher Brooke had last year! We LOVE her, so we were thrilled when Caleb got her this year. I am someone who doesnt care much for change, so this helps me feel a LITTLE better about leaving Caleb at school ;) Brooke was excited to see her again and gave her a big hug. Caleb started holding onto my hand asking me to please not leave him. It was only Open House and I already felt like crying! I wonder how the first day of school will go.. I have my teacher conferences with their teachers this coming Friday to learn more about this coming year. And they start school on Tuesday the 30th *sniff!!*

~After Open House we went to Ihop to dinner since we were out anyway and had to go to the store to get something. The kids all LOVE pancakes, so they were happy, to say the least. The couple sitting behind us in the booth had a little baby with them. Rachel loves babies so she kept sitting up over the edge to see him. Thanfully the couple didnt mind! Right before we left I told Brooke "we need to go get groceries now" and she yelled out 'YAY!!! I LOVE Groceries!!!" The guy at the booth beside us chuckled. She made it sound like we hardly ever buy them food! Haha.. thought that was hilarious. Anyway, the meal was a lot cheaper than I had thought it would be, then saw a sign that in the month of Aug. kids eat free! Wow! what a nice surprise.. and if I would have known that earlier in the month.. haha.

~Last night my mom called me and asked me if Id go with her this weekend to the movies to see "The Help!" She said that she had asked my dad if he would go, and of course he didnt want to. He said "go ask Abby!" And im soo glad she did, because Ive been wanting to go ever since I started reading the book. I came home and started reading more, anxious to finish by this weekend. I actually read ALOT and almost finished, but I got tired and ended up going to sleep. But i should finish by today! Have heard its a great movie and really looking forward to it!

~We also got the call that we should be getting our van back today! I am soo thrilled. We have now gone 5 days without it. I will try to never take it for granted again! I never realized how much I relied on all that space for all of us, and all our stuff! This week ive been lucky if we could barely fit all of us in Arnolds car, and the kids might get to take ONE toy or book with them wherever we are going. I am so ready for them to be spaced out once again because you would not believe the fighting, poking, smacking, yelling, etc that Ive had to deal with this week!! But anyway, horray for the van being repaired and lets hope it doesnt need anything else for a long time because that was some serious CA-CHING!! $$$$$$$$

Rachel and I lounging around Sunday afternoon

Brooke at Bills house playing with his bird, Colby. She loves him!
Bill and I! Good family friend. Known him for 10-11 years now? Wow I feel old!

Out to an early bday dinner for Brooke

Monday, August 22, 2011

Saturday of Surprises

And not the good kind, either! Unfortunately.

I had gotten into our van earlier, to take the kids somewhere, and when I turned it on, it started vibrating and rattling. I thought it was just a fluke and drove down the road to the ATM, but it kept up the whole time, and then two warning lights came on, including the Check Engine light. We knew there were a few little things wrong with the van, but not where it would stop working on us. So we had to have it towed Saturday morning, to the Honda place. They later called us back and told us that there was a wiring problem, we needed new spark plugs, new brakes, and a new timing belt!! Arnold added it up and it could be around $2,000 to fix it all! And of COUSE our van is due for inspection later this month. And we just hit 100,000 miles recently, and isnt that when everything all goes to crap.. when your warranty expires?! When it rains it pours.. its true what they say. They also said that they had to order the wiriing part, so that it would be wed. or thurs before we got the van back. Everyone knows we have 3 kids and we NEED that thing to haul them around! Arnold drives an old, tiny Ford Escort to work, and we are having to rely on that thing in the meantime. So i am without a van this week, and we are stuck at home, but at least we have ONE vehicle that works, we are blessed for that. We also think we have it figured out how we are going to pay for the repairs, God really has taken care of us.

Surprisingly, we found out that in a bind, we can fit THREE seats in the back of Arnolds car. How, i dont know. It took a lot of time, and a lot of cussing and yelling on Arnold's part to make it possible ;) And the kids are soo close back there that they can feel each other breathing on them, its that bad. But at least we can get places! We were able to make it to a big yardsale I had heard about.. it said 20+ families and it sounded really good.. so we went, and went thru the whole process of getting the kids out, and then it turns out it was all old people! And there were like 7-8 of them, definately not 20. Not to be mean, but they had all stuff I definately wasnt interested in. There was not a single thing I would have bought! so that was a waste, but oh well.

We then went to our church for a big Back to School Festival they were having. It was to reach out to families in the community. They had bookbags and school supplies to give out.. I heard they ended up giving out around 250 bookbags to kids in the area! They also had food, face painting, bounce houses, games, and free haircuts! It was a great thing that they did, i was so happy to see such a great turnout! We went to let the kids play for awhile and got some lunch. Brooke got a butterfly painted on her face, but Rachel didnt want anyone touching her face so she got one on her hand instead. Caleb had his name painted on his arm. in purple.. thats his new favorite color these days, lol ;) And we ended up seeing RAY while we were there ;) After it was all over with, Arnold helped put the church back together for services on sunday. He put all the chairs back on the left side of the church.. he was quite proud of himself ;)

That evening we hung around the house and the kids played. Brooke had gotten a makeup set for her bday, so she tried on makeup for the first time. I tried to help her out but she wanted to do it herself and started looking more and more like a clown.. but at least she had fun. Her daddy did not like that so much and told her to wipe all that off her face, haha. The kids were begging me to go get new batteries for their Leapsters, so I went out to the store. Ended up renting two movies while I was out.. "Big Mommas House, Like Father, Like Son" and "Arthur." I ended up with a sinus infection or something that day, and my throat was hurting, so I took a nap that afternoon for a little while before we ate dinner. That night Arnold gave Caleb a haircut. Its a little crooked but I think it turned out pretty good, haha. He needed it cut before school!!

Trying out her new makeup set!

Calebs new haircut
Rachel walking around in her Daddys shoes ;)

New pillows I bought for the living room, thought they were cute!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Brooke & Caleb's Birthday Party!

Friday night we had a combined birthday party for Brooke and Caleb at Hickory Dickory Dock. We decided to do that this year, because Arnold had been begging me to do something smaller and less stressful this year.. he hates those big parties I love to throw! Plus, the kids bdays are so close together, and they both love HDD, so we thought it would work out great. We were only able to invite a small amount of people because of costs, so they invited their cousin Bekah, and a few of their closest friends that they like to spend a lot of time with. A few things came up and a few of their friends werent able to make it, so we ended up with a really small party (only 6 kids!) but they still had a great time, and of course Arnold was happy with how it turned out ;)

The kids first ran around and played games with their tokens they got. Caleb gets too excited, and keeps running around always forgetting to take his tickets with him that he wins, so im sure some other kids were happy to get his tickets that night, haha. We ended up leaving without them getting to pick out prizes, but its all good. After the games the kids all got together for a game of lazer tag. My kids had never played before and they found it pretty awesome.. but there were a lot of bigger kids in there too, so Caleb ended up getting his hand hurt.. I think someone stepped on him or something. Even the adults got to go in there and watch. While they were doing that, Carolyn and Grayson showed up. Since Lauryn was in Chapel Hill with Andy, Graysons grandma brought him.. we missed Lauryn but were glad Grayson was able to come to the party! He had fun playing in the "soft play area" for awhile while the big kids finished up in lazer tag.

Around 7:00 they called us back to a party room. It was really great because we had a party hostess assigned to us, and she basically did all the work! It was great to be able to relax and enjoy the party for once, Ill have to admit that! The kids all got some pizza and drinks, and Arnold had ordered a pizza for the adults, and they ended up making an extra pizza that night on accident, so they said they would give it to us! (score!) So we had plenty of food for everyone there, and lots of extras to take home. Then we did cupcakes. Walmart made me half and half for the kids, Brooke had Rapunzel cupcakes, and Caleb had captain American cupcakes. Calebs cupcakes had dark blue icing on them and of course it ended up ALL Over him and that stuff is NOT easy to get out. But anyway. The kids all sang to the kids and it was LOUD, but it was so precious and the kids ate up all the attention :) The cupcakes were pretty yummy too! :)

After we were all done eating, the kids got to open their presents. The kids got some sweet and pretty neat gifts from their friends. Brooke got a princess scrapbook art set from Malachi, and a makeup set from Kaitlyn, and a really pretty dress and matching hat from Grayson. She has already been putting on the makeup today, and she will probably wear the dress to church tomorrow! Caleb got a CARS book with cool sounds from Malachi, monkey pajamas and some toy cars from Grayson, and a Spiderman car that changes around from Kaitlyn. He has been playing with all his stuff too! And then I gave out the little treat bags I had made, they had the cutest cupcake and robot bags at Walmart that I found!

The party hostess cleaned up the party room for us (awesome, we didnt even have to clean up our mess!) and then we went to load up the car with the presents and leftover food. The kids ended up playing for another 45 minutes or so. Since some of the kids didnt show up, they gave us the extra tokens we paid for, and so the kids got to do more games. And then they ran around in the soft area place for awhile and ran off some energy. They had a great time with their friends, and Brooke was absolutely THRILLED to see Malachi after all this time ;) When they got home and I put them to bed, they were OUT! we were all exhausted!!

Sign they had outside the party room.. thought it was cool!

Kaitlyn helping Grayson ride the motercycle!
Brooke and her "boyfriend" Malachi enjoying some pizza ;)

Brookes Tangled cupcakes

Calebs Captain America Cupcakes

Everyone singing to them!

Friday full of Shopping

Friday morning my mom came and picked me and the kids up.. im really surprised we could fit all 3 kids back there, it was a little bit of a stretch but it worked! We went down to a local consignment sale that was going on. I had gone last year and found a lot of good stuff, but there didnt seem to be as good of a selection this year. I did find one sweater and pair of Pjs for Rachel, and they had a few Leapster games, and at just over $4 each they were a steal! Because new games are over $20 each. They had Starwars and Batman, and since Caleb had just gotten the Leapster for his bday, he was excited, I got him one and my mom got him the other one. I didnt end up getting to go back to half off day this year..

After that we went and got some lunch because the kids were complaining they were hungry. We went to Sams club just to get lunch, haha. We got hotdogs and drinks, and then the kids wanted dessert so my mom got them this long cinnamon stick thing.. it was sort of like the cinnamon sticks they have at pizza places and it was yummy (i stole a little of Rachels ;) Then we went to a place in Hickory to look for me an outfit to wear to my cousins wedding in Charleston next month. I dont really care for dressing up, so I have basically NOTHING here at home that would have been acceptable to wear. But mom loves it when i "look nice" haha, so she enjoyed taking me shopping, I know. I love it, because in the store the lady put together different outfits for me and then let me try them all on, and I picked the one I like best (I need someone to pick my clothes out everyday! I am not that good with fasion at all!!) Anyway, the outfit I picked was one that I liked how it looked on me, and I know I can get some good wear out of it after the wedding too. I never would have guessed the colors would have matched, but then they really looked good together (told you I was bad at this!) And when I came out of the dressing room Caleb said "MOMMY YOU LOOK PRETTY!!!" and that got some chuckles out of the saleswomen there. I thought it was sweet :) So now I have my outfit checked off the list. Next is finding the right shoes for the occasion, ugh.

When the kids and I were dropped back off at home, we just hung around the house until Arnold got home from work. Then we dropped Rachel off at his parents' house (she stayed there during Brooke and Calebs party since we knew it would be crazy hectic, and wed be there late.. plus shes not at the age yet where she really knows what shes missing!) Then we went to Walmart to pick up the kids' cupcakes for their party, and some balloons they picked out, and I got a few things and put together favor bags in the backseat of the car when we got to the party (nothing like last min, but I hadnt had the time to do it before then!!)

My new outfit! I think it is pretty :)

Friday, August 19, 2011


Thursday morning I got the kids ready and we went to Hickory Dickory Dock to meet Erika and the kids. We hadnt done a playdate in awhile, so we were overdue! As soon as we left it started pouring thank goodness we hadnt planned a playdate at the park! There was a bus of kids waiting outside when we got there, so we rushed inside real quick to beat the line. It seems like every time we have gone this summer there were TONS of kids there. But anyway, the kids had a blast. Rachel climbed back up in the big play gym again, and worried me, but thankfully Erikas daughter was there to help her climb back down!

Afterwards we went to Chick fila for lunch. Yall probably know that they are ALWAYS packed, so it was a challenge just getting the kids across the parking lot safely and in there! We somehow got the kids to all sit at a table together while we ordered. Then Erika and I got to sit at a table together with the babies and talk, so that was nice. The big kids got icecream when they were finished with lunch and Rachel caught sight of that and was screaming ICECREAM, ICECREAM, so I had to go back up there and get her some too ;) It gave me a chance to buy a lemonade for myself, which id been craving for several days now. Then we let the kids play in the playarea there for awhile. Erika and I sat inside in a booth with the babies while the kids played. When it was time to go I left Rachel with Erika and went outside to get Brooke and Caleb. When i came back inside Rachel was SCREAMING and everyone in the restaurant was looking over our way, and then I noticed blood coming out of her nose! She had fallen off the seat and fell face-first onto the hard floor and busted her nose! Man! I felt so bad for her.. you could tell she was hurting, and I hate the sight of blood, so that was really bothering me. So i had her in one arm, was trying to grab everyones cups, and stuffed animals and dolls (that they have to drag EVERYWHERE) and round up the big kids and get out of there was! Thankfully Rachel was ok, she was back to her happy self really soon. But as a mom you hurt when they hurt!!!

Yesterday evening Arnold and I took the kids to their first Old Soldiers Reunion Parade! It is such a big deal to everyone who grew up in that area. Our school used to even shut down early the day of the parade! We had to walk a LONG way to get up to the parade and were just about exhausted when we got there. But we somehow found a spot and sat down to watch. The kids loved getting to see everything come by and get to wave to people. It was neat showing off our highschools to them when the marching bands came by (I was in the marching band! haha) And of course we had to get some of the yummy food. And the kids dove right into their cotton candy, and would have eaten the whole bag, but we took it from them before they could.. wouldnt wanted to have seen how hyper they would have been from that!! Rachel was a little counfused by the texture of it at first, but after a minute she was begging for that stuff. I mean what kid wouldnt.. its pure sugar!!! Anyway, about 3/4 through the parade we noticed REALLY bad storm clouds overhead and it was starting to barely drizzle. Arnold suggested we go back to the van, he was really worried about getting caught up in a bad storm. So we started the long walk back to the van. And literally 2 minutes after we got in the van the sky opened up and it was POURING and there was lightning and thunder so close.. it was a pretty bad storm. Thank goodness we got back in time.. I feel bad for the people that were still standing out there!!!

Oh and I had to share some good news real quick. Yesterday afternoon we got a call from the elementary school. Caleb has been accepted to the More at 4 Program!!! They had been making lots of changes this year, and we had no idea if theyd even HAVE a program for him to be in. And then he was on a waiting list for awhile. We had been praying hard that he would get in, we know it will be so good for him to get him ready for Kindergarten next year, especially socially. And then I got the call. I was running around the house and making a huge deal about it and the kids were just staring at me like i was crazy. But it seriously MADE.MY.DAY! I was calling our parents and then finally I got through to Arnold and he was so ecstatic as well. So he will be going to full-day preschool, at the same school as Brooke! So when they start school on that first day I will be dropping TWO of my babies off... wow.. that is really making me emotional! But i know its a new stage of life that Im going to have to get used to... and Im excited!! :) :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mid-Week Randoms

~This week has been going by soo slowly. It seems like I am really butting heads with Brooke lately. She seems so incredibly bored with Summer and ready for it to be over. In some ways im right there with her! I am going to miss her so much when she goes to school but im ready for the quiet!!

~Speaking of school, Brooke got a little card in the mail yesterday. It was from her teacher this year. On the front it said WELCOME TO KINDERGARTEN! And on the back she wrote that she was looking forward to having Brooke in her class this year and that they would learn a lot and have fun. I thought that was such a sweet gesture! Brooke was THRILLED when I gave it to her, she even took it to bed with her when she took a nap :) But I was a little teary-eyed. Its getting so close!!

~There are so many people I know having babies! And this seems to be the season for boys! I have 2 baby showers in the next 2 weeks to go to. I am hoping I am going to be able to make both. One if for my friend from highschool Jenn, and one is for a girl I went to church with along time ago, Megan. They are both having little boys, and I know they will be great Moms! (1st for Megan, 2nd for Jenn) I love getting to go out and buy cute baby clothes. Since I dont have a little baby to buy for I take full advantage of spoiling the babies of my friends!! :)

~When I was out shopping for the shower gifts last night, I also looked around at the bigger kid stuff. They were having a deal at Toys R Us with all the summer clearance stuff was $5 or under! They had some awesome boy shoes, and I picked up Caleb 2 pairs for school.. one was khaki colored and one was black with a skull. And a pair of Carters Pjs for Rachel that have ladybugs, for this next Spring. And they were all only $5, cant beat that deal!

~Why oh why cant I be rich?! Haha. Gymboree's new line of clothing for girls is OWLS! I was looking at the website yesterday and oh my goodness.. SO.CUTE!!! I would buy every item in the line if I could. I even have a 20% off coupon right now, just screaming at me to use it. But that stuff is just so expensive. I have a hard time justifying buying it when my kids outgrow clothes so quickly. I may be able to justify buying just one outfit for Brooke for school.. we will see ;)

~We have been waiting to hear if Caleb got into "More at 4" this year. Most of you know that Brooke went last year, and it is a fullday preschool at the main Elementary school up the road, and it was an AWESOME experience for Brooke. She learned so much, got adjusted to what school is like, made lots of friends, and even a "boyfriend" :) She is SO much more ready for Kindergarten now. We knew then we wanted Caleb to get in, so that he could experience the same things, plus wed like him to get out and become more social, because he is pretty shy and reserved, and we think it will help him break out some and become more comfortable. Well anyway, we received a call yesterday saying he is on the WAITING LIST. And so there is a chance, but they have to find a spot for him. So we have been praying hard about it! We wont know till last minute, it looks like. I want him in so badly!!!

~I went to my weekly counseling session last night. My counselor seemed impressed with how well im doing and how far ive come in the past few weeks. The cymbalta that im on seems to have really been helping me. I am now 3 weeks in to taking it. I was having side effects at first, but I seem to have settled in and gotten used to it now. I was losing weight at first (people were evening noticing, so i was like awesome!) But now im back to loving food.. so... oh well :( haha! My counselor said that she wanted to see me back in 2 wks, then after that, only once a month or as needed. So basically we're on the road to me being cut loose. When means Im doing a LOT better mentally. I am thrilled because a few weeks ago I seemed so far from the "real me" and I couldnt see anything in front of me. But now I can see the light, and I just thank God that hes helped me through this journey!

~Everyone was right about the book "The Help." I have been reading a little each night and I LOVE it! Didnt take any time at all for me to get into it. I am hooked. I would read more each night, but with all thats been going on with all my new adventures Ive gotten into, I am so tired when I lay down. I think I will go see the movie, too, If I get a chance! Any friends want to go?!

~Tonight is Lifegroup night. Im hoping Arnold calls later from work and tells me that his parents can watch the kids for us (they have been for the past few weeks) Because I really love our little group, and cant wait to see everyone again! I feel like we're making new friends already! :)

~Only 2 more days till Brooke and Calebs bday party at Hickory Dickory Dock. I am usually on top of things but I just cant figure out what I want to do as favors. Its tough since theres not really a theme this time, and there are boys AND girls coming. Any ideas? I need to go out and look and buy something tomorrow night.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First night at the PCC

Last night was my first night of training at the Pregnancy Care Center. Monday evenings they stay open for classes for the pregnant women. I got to sit with one of the receptionists and basically watch what she did all evening, and try and get a feel of things. I even get my own nametag, and their nametags are magnetic, so no sticking pins in your shirt, which i thought was really neat! Anyway, first she showed me where everything was in the desk, and how to handle different situations, and what different forms were for, and stuff like that. I read a booklet about my duties, whats expected, dress code, directions, how to answer the phones, and all that. Lots to remember, but I dont think it will be too bad. I really love all the ladies Ive met there so far, they are so kind and welcoming, and have been a great help to me learning things, and patient.

To be honest, the evenings are kind of boring, because if no ones coming in and out you just basically sit around. But thankfully last night we had a job to do.. sort through donations of baby clothes people had sent it. We had to sort out sizes, check to see if they were acceptable (no stains, missing snaps, etc) and fold them up and put them in their appropriate bins for the store. People have donated a lot of nice things to the store! I even saw a few new or "very like new" things. Looking though all the tiny baby clothes seriously made my uterus twinge! hahaha! This is the longest Ive gone without being pregnant in several years, and it feels strange, but I know I am moving onto a different stage in life. I sure do miss those tiny baby cuddles though! :)

Anyway, the class last night was on budgeting.. a man came in and talked to the girls about how to budget their money, the importance of savings, and stuff like that. Every week is a different topic about parenting. And they earn "Mommy Dollars" for each class that can then be used in the store. Its a really neat process! I am so glad things like this are available for young moms or anyone needing some help. And at the end of all the classes, they get a "layette" which is a big basket filled with clothes, baby supplies, cute stuffed animals.. basically like a big gift to them. I saw someone get one last night and it was so precious :) Anyway, the night went very well, and I was supposed to go back again on Thurs for more training, but they dont have someone for me to train with, so I go back next Mon evening. I have to have about 4 training sessions before they let me do it on my own. I really love this though.. getting away from the house for a few hours, being with other adults, doing good.. it really made me feel good inside! And i can tell Im really going to enjoy this alot! :) :)

PS- If anyone has any baby clothes or baby items you were thinking of donating, please consider donating them to this place! I will be happy to get them from you!!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Trip to South Mountain Park

Sunday after church we took a spur-of-the-moment trip to South Mountain Park. Arent those last min trips the best? Where you just go, and end up having a great time? Well anyway, we had been talking about maybe going to the mtns yesterday anyway, but up to Boone and shopping, which we really didnt need to be tempted with anyway, so Arnold suggested this instead. The ride there seemed a lot longer than it really was because the kids kept asking when we were going to get there, and Caleb kept insisting on seeing the actual MOUNTAIN (he is very literal at his age!) We got there and headed off down the trails. We took the flat and easy ones of course, because of the kids. Not to mention that we went straight from church so the kids were actually dressed halfway decent, and Brooke was in sandals, and I was in flip flops. Not the greatest when you are out hiking, thats for sure, but we made it work! It was a great opportunity to take a lot of pictures of the kids, which everyone knows I LOVE doing, hehe ;) I got a lot of great shots that I was happy with. Caleb and Brooke were so excited, always running ahead of us on the trails. We couldnt have asked for better weather. The rain held out, and the temp was a lot cooler than it had been lately. The humidity was still there, though, so by the end I was still pretty sweaty, with my hair sticking to me.. yuck! Anyway, we stopped down at the creek and let the kids explore, sit on some rocks, and throw some in the water. Even Rachel loved this part. She was really getting in the mud and ended up getting her hands filthy, which she hated (she is just like her dad!) Then we walked down the trails some more. We passed a lot of people walking their dogs, and Rachel had to point out every one we saw yelling "PUPPY!!" She is a dog lover like the rest of us :) We wanted to hike to the falls, but the paths started getting trickier and there were lots of stairs to get to certain parts, and since Rachel was in her stroller, this was almost impossible for us. So we gave up on that dream and just spent some more time enjoying walking around, and just enjoying nature. The kids would stay outside 24/7 if we let them! It was a nice afternoon of some quality family time, just in time before school starts next week!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Weekend

Friday morning they asked me to come into the Pregnancy Care Center and do a little more talking to one of the main ladies there and do some more paperwork. Thankfully my mom is off work on Fridays, so she agreed to watch the kids. I dropped them off around 9am, and her, dad and Alex (who was in town for awhile) were all having breakfast, so they were happy to join right in, haha.

Everything went great over at the PCC. I talked to the lady for awhile, about what im hoping to do there. Everyone there starts out as a receptionist, and they have a main person doing that right now, so Ill just be a call-in on Mon and Thurs evenings, as needed, until they need more regular help. Hopefully Ill be able to actually help with counseling young women in the future though, that would be my dream! I am feeling led to help young women because I have been through unexpected pregnancy before. Plus, there is not much information about adoption out there, and everyone knows I am so, so pro-adoption with all my history, so Id love to educate people more about it. Anyway, I have to start training so I will know what to do.. so starting tomorrow night I go in for a few hours and watch how it is done. Then I go back again Thurs evening to train some more. After 4 or so training sessions they will be willing to leave me alone at the reception desk.. yikes! But I am excited to be doing this :)

After I left the PCC since Mom had the kids, I decided to run over to Jelly Beans consingment for a little bit. They had just recently been putting out their fall/winter stuff. They always have the CUTEST selection, and they have the fairest prices out of the 3 local kids consignment stores, in my opinion. They may be my new favorite! I bought a few things for the kids and was SO tempted to buy a few more things for Rachel, but she didnt really need them. I also got Rachel some new shoes.. she had been complaining lately of her feet hurting and I found out that shes now in size 7 shoes! So she has moved up.. aww.. its bittersweet! Anyway, then I went back and picked up the kids and had lunch with my family before I took the kids back home with me that afternoon.

Saturday morning I got up and went out to try and find a few yardsales to stop at, but I just didnt find anything good at all! Looks like the yardsale season is really winding down.. I sure will miss it ;) I wasted a lot of gas.. but.. If I was looking for a relaxing drive thru the country, I achieved that! (I did get lost on one road I was on, but that is expected from me ;) I had some time to kill, so I went over to Walmart to look around. I ended up finding me two new tops! I never really shop there for clothes, but they had some really cute things. Prices of course werent bad, I hope they hold up ok. But Im wearing one today and really like it!

I was supposed to be meeting some people in our lifegroup over at church to clean the church (they have volunteers and groups do that on Saturdays so it will be ready for Church on Sundays) and Arnold and I both couldnt be there b/c of the kids, so I said Id go. ANYWAY, me and 3 others were there, and Ray (the leader of our group) never showed up, we waited and waited and were really worried about him after awhile. Couldnt get thru to him on his phone. Didnt know if we should stay or go, but we stayed for an hour. Later I found out he had slept late and just missed us, so at least hes ok! But i hate we didnt get to help him clean. That was so funny, we will have to give him a hard time for that, for sure ;)

That afternoon Arnold took the kids swimming next door at Uncle Genes house. (By the way, his house is up for Sale now, and driving by the sign every day makes me sad :( I hate when things change!) I stayed with Rachel while she took her nap. I was able to finish the book I had been reading. "When you Least Expect It" by Whitney Gaskell. She is one of my favorite authors, and I really enjoyed it- it actually dealt with adoption! I hope to start on "The Help" next, Ive heard such good things about it. Im such a good book junkie ;)

Later that evening we all went to Walmart and I went to the bakery to order cupcakes for Brooke & Calebs joint party Friday night. They are having a small party at Hickory Dickory Dock, and we let them invite a few of their best friends. Problem was, I couldnt decide what to do about a cake since of course one of them is a boy, and one a girl. The lady at the bakery told me she could do half of the cupcakes for a boy, and half for a girl, so I didnt have to buy two sets! I was so relieved! So Brooke will have princess and Caleb will have Captain America. So glad that worked out (its the little things people!!) We also took Brookes school supplies list for this year with us and finished up her shopping. MAN, having 3 kids in school is going to be expensive, thats for sure. I am not looking forward to all the expenses, and Im just getting a taste of it right now! Right after that we went home and had a nice dinner at the kitchen table together, spaghetti, complete with a loaf of italian bread, one of my new yankee candles burning (Fireside scent--love it!) and an Oreo Cream pie for dessert, which was SO delicious by the way. Didnt even care about the calories ;)

Today we went to church and the lesson was wonderful and meaningful as usual. I cant say enough how much I LOVE our new church!! And thankful for all the wonderful people there, as well! Then we went across the street to Wendys afterwards, and had lunch with Erika and her kids. The place was packed, and I there were a lot of older couples in there, that seemed to be eyeing us alot. I get a lot of looks, and Im used to it by now. People either think im "too young" to have so many kids already, or I know they are judging me. And there are those times when the kids act up or cry or embarass me, and I know they are annoyed. But you know what? All in a day. I love my family and I try my best. So if they have something to say or think about us, let them!! :) :)

Brooke looks SO tall in this picture! I swear one day she is going to surpass both me AND Arnold and be 6feet or more. It will be interesting to see :)

Rachel loves listening to Daddy play guitar. She likes to dance around too :)
Being sweet, if only for a moment :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Summer Love!

I just love Summer-time. Except for those days when its so hot that you feel like you could pass out and your clothes are clinging to you from all the sweat..eww!! This summer feels like it has been going by so fast, i seriously dont know where the time has gone! Maybe its gone by quicker this year because I know Brooke is going to Kindergarten this coming year and its a big step for me to watch her go off to school. She's such a big girl now. Its overwhelming somedays when I stop to think about it! Anyway, this is just a random blog, about things I Love about Summer :)

Icecream!! Who doesnt love icecream? I love the evenings going with the family down to the local icecream place and sitting and enjoying some time together. I really like Udderly Delicious the best, but this past year I FINALLY tried Coldstone, and that is pretty darn good, too! My faves are cookies -n- cream or birthday cake flavors.

Going to concerts!! This used to be a big tradition of mine and Arnold's. We have seen a lot of great shows together. We go see Lynyrd Skynyrd every summer. They actually DIDNT come to town this summer, and I am wondering why.. that really bums me out. One of my fave concerts was the Dave Matthews show we went to on my birthday a few years ago. Arnold accidentally knocked over a womans' drink (and you know those things arent cheap!) And later when we got back to our van, there were teenage girls peeing in the bushes!! craziness! and i wouldnt get out of the van b/c i was embarassed, but I had to pee too, so I peed in the back of the van in an (EMPTY OF COURSE) formula can... hahaha. Will never forget that night.

Cookouts! A lot of you know one of my fave foods are hotdogs (yeah im still a kid at heart) And I love a good cookout. Love all the food, and the time spent with family and friends. We went to quite a few this summer..

The smell of freshly cut grass! Just something about it! It screams "summer." And everything is so green and gorgeous in the spring/summer and I love it. And I know I am weird, but everytime we drive by a huge open field, I have this overwhelming urge to go running through it, carefree and happy. Hahahaha... just sounds fun ;)

Fireworks!!!! I LOVE THEM!! 4th of July is one of my very favorite holidays. I love sitting outside and watching the fireworks at night. The kids seem to like them too. Arnold put on his own little show in our backyard this year, since we were afraid the big fireworks were going to be rained out, and the kids had a blast. they thought that was the coolest thing ever.

STORMS!! Love me a good thunderstorm. I know some people are terrified of them, and I can understand why. But i have always loved them. They are so calming to me. I love listening to them, especially at night. Best weather to sleep to, if you ask me ;) When Arnold still had his pickup truck, I used to go outside on the carport in the summertime and sit on the back of it and watch the storms. Only exception is if I had to drive in a bad storm and heavy rains.. I would not like that at all!!

I used to pick on Arnold's mom for being so into yardsales and going out so early on sat mornings but she always seems to find the best stuff. And I myself have become addicted to going to them. Sometimes I Can find some really awesome deals. Ive found really nice, name-brand kids clothes before that look like theyve hardly been worn! And ive found lots of books for myself.. way cheaper than going to the bookstore and paying up to $20-something for one. A Yardsale is actually where I found "The Purpose Driven Life" that Arnold and I are reading every night. Perfect condition and 50cents! Cant beat that. It becomes addicting finding good deals, at least for me! And I love going out with friends and my sister-in-law. Its fun to drive around and talk, have some good times, and stop for breakfast or lunch. Ive even gotten Arnold into going with me the past couple of weeks, and he hates taking the kids, but they get excited over all the toys they find.. Caleb usually finds the greatest toys and deals ;)

ICEES! Or any kind of Italian Ice drink. I became really into RITAS this past year, thanks to Lauryn ;) Something about icy drinks, I just love them. This summer I have either been at Ritas or at Taco Bell getting their pina colada fruitista freeze drinks. Yum, just writing this is making me want to go out and get one now ;)

So there ya go. Things I love about Summer. What does everyone else Love???