Monday, May 27, 2013

Our Own Edition of Current Events!

Hello?  Is this thing still on? Is anyone there?  I have to say, I can't blame you if you stopped checking in here. I have been unexpectedly absent from this blog and I have to say, it has been anything but a restful "spring break"!  Here's a little glimpse of what we've been up to while we have been away...

Lily's last visit to Papa's office

I am not sure where to even begin in order to get you all caught up on what we've been doing.  It all seemed to start when dad retired in late April.  He surprised us last fall by announcing his plans to step down from his long beloved job.  My brother and i honestly thought he was one of those men who would just never stop working because he loved his job so much.  So you can imagine our surprise when he announced that as of May 1, 2013, he was going to be a retiree!  So that set into motion back at Christmas time, some special plans between my mom, my brother and us to host a surprise party in Dad's honor.  Dad is the last guy who would want anything done in his honor, especially surrounding his retirement! But we planned away!

Lily playing with Uncle Mark

So, in late April, my brother flew in from Wyoming and surprised my dad.  To clarify, dad thought the only retirement related event was a fancy dinner for his team and his family that was going to be held on a Saturday night.  Dad knew my brother was coming in for that, but Mark surprised him and arrived several days early.  Dad thought that was the BEST and we were secretly giddy that operation surprise was still on for the big party we were throwing in his honor on Friday night.

Here we are out for breakfast following Mark's surprising of dad with his early arrival.

Lily loves her uncle Mark!

Mark's back was bothering him, so he was stretching out his legs...Lily wanted to stretch hers out too!
So backing up even further, when we decided to host this big party (60-65 people in our house!) we knew it was going to be the hard push we needed to get all of our little nagging projects that lingered around the house completed.  These were projects that were mainly standing in our way between being completely unpacked and settled in, living well in our new house- and just living in our new house, not quite unpacked, not quite officially settled....just not done.  Believe me, after living here for 8 months, I'm beyond done with unpacking and organizing....but some stuff was just lurking around always on the back burner of priorities....

So starting in January, we began working on Lily's new bedroom.  This included lots of painting, a mural, and some new fun finishing touches.  I will write up a post about that sometime this week so you can see it.  Our short list of 'Must-do-before-the-party' projects included getting a new kitchen sink, re-doing our laundry room and hanging pictures, organizing stacks of "I'll go through this someday papers, magazines, recipes etc."  Just that annoying last 10% of stuff that lingers when you move in someplace new.  The stuff you don't quite know what to do with, but you are not sure you want to toss either...  

So in the months before the party, we launched all of these projects around the house, so things were completely chaotic.  We had some help and like I mentioned, I will post photos of the before-s and after-s for you later this week.  So pretty much right after we finished the A Week in the Life series, I began and quickly became neck deep in prepping for our neighborhood garage sale which wouldn't you know, was literally the week before the party!  Normally with so much going on already with the party etc. I would have skipped the sale, but having just moved we were bursting with lots of "stuff" that needed to go, so we did not really have an option since the sale comes around only once a year.  So adding to the chaos was a garage full of stuff ready to be sold (or at least hopefully sold!)  Overall, it was a lot of fun to do.  The weather was terrible, but we did okay.  It was also a bit stressful and chaotic as well doing all of this with a toddler underfoot.  Thank goodness my mom was able to help me run the sale for the first two days and Joe helped out on the third!

two of my favorite helpers on the final day of the sale
So, we worked on projects, had the garage sale, my brother stayed with us for a few nights before the party, we hosted a completely giant, successful and really fun surprise party for my dad-- and that was all before May!  The weekend of my dad's party, we decided to also have Lily's birthday party- because we didn't have enough going on already!

To make things more manageable we decided to have a really small birthday party for her this year- just my parents, my brother, Joe, Lily and myself.  It turned out to be the perfect idea, she had a great time (initially) as we went to a local petting zoo, but as the afternoon wore on, the weekend of crazy party events (Dad's party, out of town guests, special family gatherings, first babysitter etc) caught up to her and she started going down hill pretty quickly.  I don't think she was feeling too well and crashed out really early at her own party.  So all to say, super glad the party was small!  

Loving being able to face forward now that she is 2!  
The next weekend, was Lily's actual birthday and Joe took her birthday off from work and we spent the day doing all kinds of fun things with Lily.  It was an awesome way to celebrate.  The crazy thing was, our initial plan was to have a family day at the zoo, but it SNOWED on her birthday (May 3!)  So we ended up finding some fun indoor activities to do together.  We went to the local children's museum, the library, the pet store, out for cupcakes and out for dinner.   We had a great time as a family and with the snow, it was certainly one for the record books.  

2+ inches of snow on May 3, 2013!

The following week was Mother's Day weekend and we had more family in town and a weekend packed with events.  My cousin and her little one stayed with us and we hosted a grand Mother's Day tea party for all of the girls in the family.  It was a lot of fun to host them and to have the tea party which included four generations, but we were all exhausted when it was over.  

Lily and her cousin, Ellie dancing on the music needed!
Shortly after that, Lily came down with another ear infection.  It started out as just a cold, but quickly progressed into another ear infection which earned her a referral to the ENT.  Poor gal.  So there was a solid week in there where none of us were sleeping longer than two hours at a time- and there were no naps to boot, which meant no breaks for this mama, which made everyone grumpy!  But things are better now and everyone is back on track!

Luckily, with the weather finally cooperating, we have also been spending a lot of time outside...

Lily LOVES her "walk-chalk"
Then in addition to all of this, we have had both cars in the shop for routine maintenance, all of our regular activities have come to an end, we have attended a few picnics, welcomed a sweet new baby (even though we didn't get to see her due to ears and colds) and made a meal for the happy family, we caught up with friends and this past weekend we celebrated Joe's birthday by hosting an open house!  (Here are some glimpses...)

We went out for brunch after church to celebrate...Lily had a great time...

Helping to monitor the buffet before the guests arrived...

the birthday cake...after the party there were only about five pieces left!

A glimpse of our backyard pre-guests...this is the Kubb game and the sandbox all ready to go...

A glimpse of our yard in a different direction toward the water table, washers, slide and chairs...

All birthday parties need balloons!

Lily showing some of our first guests the water table...

The happy birthday boy playing some Kubb 

the winning shot!
This was a big birthday for him (hint, it ends in a zero!) so we hosted an open house for friends which was a lot of fun.  Joe got the yard all prepped for fun- we had washers, Kubb (a Sweedish lawn game that is a lot of fun), the sandbox and Lily's water table.  There were bubbles, treats, birthday cake, lemonade, cold beverages and lots of sunshine.  We had a great turn out and a blast being outside.  It was a family friendly event which made it even better, we connected with friends, neighbors and lots of cute kiddos.  I think Lily had an even better time than Joe!  That was yesterday, so now (if you are still reading!) we are pretty much up to date!  My apologies for the blog silence, but with all of these things going on, I have just not had the time or energy to get photos loaded, blog posts written or posted.  I'm hopeful that with summer here and things slowing down a tad, that will improve.  I'm still contemplating what I want our summer to look like, so things may look a little bit different, but for now, I'm glad to be back and to have these main current events documented.

And a little note for you who are still reading, and still checking in here, well, I can't tell you how much that means to me.  Thanks for sticking with me!