Monday, October 10, 2011

Fall Fest Fun

After weeks of rain and ugly weather, we are lucky enough to be in a time of Indian Summer. We took advantage of the beautiful weather to do some fall fun with the kids this past weekend. A farm on my way to work has been advertising a fall festival for awhile, and while I didn't think it would be a huge event, it was close and it was cheap, so we decided to check it out. I'm so glad we did; the kids (and Dan and I) had a blast! For $15 total, we got to do a petting zoo, a corn maze, and probably the longest hayride I've ever been on. After the hayride, we let the kids pick their own pumpkins. Some pictures from our day:

Owen petting the goat. For whatever
reason, he always wanted to pet the animals
right near their butts.
Emily petting the cow. These animals were so
laid-back! The only one that really wasn't was
the donkey. He ended up licking Emily's
head, which she couldn't stop laughing about.
In the corn maze....we let the kids determine which
paths we took. I'm pretty sure they
got their dad's (terrible) sense of direction.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cedar Point/Great Wolf Lodge

At some point last winter, Dad emailed Jason and I and asked if we'd like to do a vacation in the summer to an amusement park. Since it's very rare that I get to hang out with my brother and my dad at the same time, I was all for it. We chose Cedar Point since it seemed like a good meeting place somewhere in the middle of Indiana and Pennsylvania (Dad got the short end of the stick with driving).

Jason found the Great Wolf Lodge while we were on the phone one night discussing hotel options. By the time we ended our conversation, we'd booked the rooms and I was really excited to see what the fuss was about with this resort.

Here's a picture from our balcony. We overlooked what could be considered the highlight of staying here...the indoor waterpark. The entire building to the left housed waterslides and pools...we spent an entire day there!
The first day, we went to Cedar Point amusement park. It was many rollercoasters! Because we were all with kids, we didn't end up getting on as many rides as I would have liked, but we did hit some amazing coasters. I ended up chickening out for the very last one...too much time spent thinking about Jen and I indulged in milkshakes while Dan, Jason, and Dad rode it. Maybe we'll get back out there at some point, and I will find the courage to do it :)

The best part of the trip was seeing the kids interact. Emily and Owen don't see their cousins much, but when they do, it's like they see them all the time! Emily is enamored with Isabelle...she wants to do everything Isabelle does. She also seemed to "adopt" Schuyler as her baby brother, while Owen and Isabelle really hit it off.

The second day we spent at the waterpark. I didn't know how the kids would like it since they'd never been on waterslides before. Well, I need not have worried. Both of them were scurrying up and down the slides, and we all had a blast. Emily especially loved watching the bucket of water fall every so often from the water fort.

We had an amazing was so nice to see my Dad and Shirley and my brother and his family and just spend some time with them. While the drive out and back seemed endless (a toddler and a preschooler have to pee an amazing number of times on a drive with limited rest stops), it was definitely worth it!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summertime...and the livin's easy

Summer is my very favorite time of year. It's always been that way. I have a summer birthday, school is out, and it's light until late into the evening. Things just seem a lot more relaxed in the summer, and I absolutely love the weather. So...some things we've done so far with our summer!

The beach is my favorite place to be, but Dan has not been to Ocean City except for a couple of occasions (and one of those was in the winter). So, he and I took a mini vacation over an extended July 4th weekend sans kiddos. It was so wonderful! We loved our hotel (The Dunes Manor), we were relaxed, we had fun, and the weather was gorgeous. The only negative that occurred was somehow I caught strep throat, so by our last night, I was feeling pretty terrible. But, up until then, I was LOVING our getaway; we're hoping to do it again next year.

The kids got to spend a lot of time with their grandparents. Dan's parents came to visit in July and stayed for a long weekend. My dad and Shirley came up the following weekend for a wedding, and while the kids only got to spend an hour or two with them, they certainly made the most of it! I'm pretty sure dad was sore the day after hoisting the kids up and down repeatedly on what they fondly referred to as "The Ride".

We've also spent time at my mom and Ron's house, specifically in the pool. Both kids have really taken to swimming this year. Emily and Owen both will swim unassisted with their swimmies, and they will both jump off the side of the pool and swim to the steps. It's amazing how fast they learned!

This summer has been a bit different for me since I don't have the usual time off work. This spring semester, I filled in once again in the guidance office, so I owed ten additional days after the end of school. This time, however, the other counselor decided not to do her ten days prior to school starting either, so I am taking those as well. That means I only get about 4 weeks of summer vacation, and it's been broken up throughout July and some of August. I love the counseling job, though, so I don't mind too much...although come August 24th, I return to the English classroom once more.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Emily's 4th Birthday

It's hard to believe that Emily is already 4! We celebrated her birthday on Mother's Day with family and friends. Some pics of the day...

Emily, Jordyn, and Colton ready to dig into the cake!

Opening presents...she got so much wonderful stuff!

Em's into Minnie Mouse at the moment, so her party had to have a Minnie Mouse theme.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Easter 2011

Some pictures of Easter this year!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Owen's 2nd Birthday

I know it's about a month and a half overdue, but here are some pictures from Owen's 2nd birthday. For the second year in a row, we had very nice, warm weather. We weren't outside this year (hopefully by next year we'll have a deck!), but the new house proved to be big enough to hold everyone.

Owen had a blast opening gifts, although he didn't understand the concept of opening one after the other. He wanted to play with each one in between!

Owen's newest obsession is trains. We accidentally discovered this around Christmas when, on a whim, I found a little Thomas train to throw in his stocking. Well, some of his first words were "Choo, Choo!"

Grandma and Grandpa Koons made the trip up from North Carolina, and the kids loved that they stayed with us. Every night, Emily would ask if grandma and grandpa were going to sleep at our house. Now that the kids are older, it doesn't matter that they don't see these grandparents all the time...they know who they are! Although, since I do know that a certain grandpa reads this, I should stress that the kids would be even more excited if they lived in PA :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I'm Back!

This week was my first week back in the guidance office, and I'm loving it! While I had good kids this semester, there is no describing the weight that has lifted off my shoulders now that I don't have to spend my weekends doing lesson plans and grading. I work hard during the day, but when I leave, I'm finished with work until the next day. And I love the people I work with each and every day. I can't wait for this to someday become my permanent gig...until then, I'll just enjoy the respite from the classroom.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The family that inks together...

Dan was completely tattoo free until about a month ago. He never had much of an interest in them. But...I'm pretty sure he was jealous of my ink with the kids' initials. So...he decided to get the kids' names put on him. The result:

And I just wanted to add to my last night I had this put on the back of my neck. Means "family". Not sure I'm done for good, but I guess I will be done for awhile now.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Healthy Days Ahead?

Many of you know the struggle Dan has had with his health. Two years ago, he was diagnosed with Crohn's disease (after having an ulcerative colitis diagnosis for almost a decade). He has been through so many tests, he's tried several different medicines, and in November he had surgery to remove part of his colon and intestine. Still, nothing seemed to help.

Cut to today - a new doctor suggested he see a specialist at UMMC. After enduring rush-hour traffic into Baltimore and several hours with several different doctors and a dietician, I am extremely hopeful that we will finally find the right therapies to help Dan live a "normal" life. We go back next Thursday so Dan can have yet another colonoscopy, but this time, it seems like the doctor is ready to be aggressive with different treatments and options. Also, Dan is, for the first time since I've known him, not taking any oral meds. He will continue on his infusions, but the medicine that cost us so much each month out-of-pocket (but didn't really help him) is a thing of the past, at least for now.

While this disease is Dan's, I can't help but be excited because it affects all of us as well. I'm excited to see (let's be the Dan who is not tired or worn out from dealing with this daily. Keep your fingers crossed for him that his tests go well, and he is on the road to recovery!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

So...what is that little speck to the left? Why, none other than a kidney stone. I had the pleasure of dealing with this issue again this weekend. Almost five years ago I went to the ER sure I had something very wrong. I couldn't stand up I was in so much pain, and I wasn't sure what was happening. This time around, I knew. The back pain, the cramps that got consistently worse, and the overwhelming urge to brought it all back. So, I procured some pain meds (I refuse to tell how...apparently it's a federal law not to give them out to those they're not prescribed to) and began peeing into a strainer. Sometime late last night, I saw what I thought was sand...turns out, those little granules were responsible for all my pain. I'm hoping I can go at least another 5 years until dealing with these annoying stones again.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Snow Fun

With all the snow we've gotten recently, it seemed like a good time to let the kids go out and burn off some energy. This was really Owen's first time, since last year he was too small to go out in the blizzards we got (I think the snow was taller than he was!)

Sledding is now one of Emily's favorite activities. We have a hill in the backyard they went down, although once the deck is on the house, the hill will be gone.

Emily's other favorite snow activity? Making snow angels! I'm not sure where she learned about this...probably school...but she just threw herself down and said, "Mommy, I'm making an angel!" Too cute.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snow Day!

At the beginning of the week, they predicted we MIGHT get an inch or so from this storm. I'd say they were very wrong :)