Tuesday, September 1, 2009

On The Road Again

No, we're not going on another trip...we're moving! I can't even believe the words as I type them and I've known for over a week now. We have been waiting for this day since about the day we got here! I have been trying to decide what to name this post for days. I decided to call it On The Road Again to see if people would think we were traveling and be surprised. Of course the three people that read my blog already know that we're moving :)!

I thought about naming it Should Have Known. I finally found a hairdresser I like. After three years of running around with bad hair, I found a girl that knows how to cut my hair, and now we are moving. It happens every time. Every time we are somewhere new, just about the time we get all our our doctors, dentists, hairdressers, etc. in place, we move. It just took a looooong time here!

Oh, we are moving back to Springfield, Missouri. We are really excited. This is the third time we have lived there. So, no more moving some place we have never even visited! This is a brand new store, so Todd is on cloud nine. Best of all, it is a new store that just opened a few weeks ago. So, he missed the part of trying to get everything lined up to open, he gets to walk in with everything ready to go. He has heard it is a gorgeous store, as gorgeous as a Sam's is going to get at least! We all enjoyed Springfield when we lived there before. Gannon doesn't remember it, and Callie of course has not lived there, but the rest of us loved it.

Also, I thought about naming it How Weird Is This. The first vacation Todd and I took was to Kansas City, to a baseball game. Imagine that! On our way home we came through Springfield to go to Bass Pro Shops, since that was about the only one back then. As we were driving through town, we were commenting on how "this seems like a nice little place to live". How weird is it that we are moving there for the third time!

I could go on and on, but first things first. And first, is finishing our house. Oh yes, the house. The house we bought a year ago that we were/are remodeling from top to bottom. Sounded like a good idea at the time. We have been working on it little by little, but there is only so much time in a day, so it is not done. We are closer. Mother came from Oklahoma for a week and worked herself like crazy helping us. Luckily she is quite handy since Todd and I are not. (Did I mention we are looking for a house in Springfield that does not require remodeling?) So, this past week we, I mean, she got a lot done. We are down to painting. And more painting. And some more painting. Most everything is in place now, so we just need to paint it all. When we are all said and done I will post some before and after pics. I think everything is turning out really nice. Let's just hope someone else does! Let's just say, one way or another, we are out of here before winter! Actually Todd starts in Springfield on Labor Day. We will be here at least until we get our house listed and find a place there.

So, this is our news for now. No pics to go with the post. I was at the post office when Todd called me to say he got the job, so I couldn't exactly start snapping pictures of our reactions! I will have a lot to say about our time in Iowa I am sure. While it is not a secret that we have been ready to move on, God has blessed us tremendously here. Mainly with some great friends. It may be a while before I can post about it because I can't even think about it without crying. Poor Todd is so confused. He doesn't understand how I can be so happy to leave and so sad to leave! This is a great opportunity for Todd and it is closer to our family, so how could we not be excited about the future?

Pray for our sanity during this time. Pray for someone to buy our house! Pray for Todd's success at his new store. Praying is about all I can think of to do right now! It reminds me of one of my favorite sayings. "If you pray for rain, be prepared to deal with some mud!". We will be dealing with some mud for a few weeks, but then we will be enjoying what we have been praying for for a long time!

Family Vacation, part two!

Sunday was the day we had baseball tickets. We are not really White Sox fans, but we hadn't been to this stadium, so this was our choice for this summer. (We would hate to not go to a MLB game every summer!) They were playing the Yankees which is Garrett's team so it was a good game to go to. And, I like afternoon games. I'm not real crazy about getting out of baseball games late at night in strange cities with four kids. NYC wasn't bad, as everyone is out 24/7, but some cities are a little creepy.

Remember this was the trip we were just winging it, so Mama hadn't set down and mapped out every detail like she normally would. So, we missed the train going to the White Sox game. We didn't think about it being Sunday and that the train we needed would only run every two hours rather than every hour. So, we got to drive to the White Sox game. Oh, joy. It took us two hours, bumper to bumper. If there was no traffic from our hotel to the stadium, it would take about twenty minutes. Of course I don't think there is ever a day without in traffic in Chicago! We finally made to a parking lot and got to our seats at 1:05, game time, 1:05. Todd like to get to games waaaaay early and soak it all in, so he was a little disappointed, but it was fine. Except, that we were sitting in bleacher seats. This the first time as a family we were in bleacher seats. We paid for seats 9-13. We sat in 9 1/2 - 12 1/2. Other than all this I have mentioned, this was once of the most fun games we have been to.

Lovely ballgame traffic.

We weren't really sure what to expect at the White Sox stadium. Everything we had read was that they didn't do such a good job when they built the new stadium. Well, I will say it lacks the charm of a St. Louis, Baltimore, etc. But, it was the most family friendly stadium we have ever been to. They even had kids meals! The best thing was an area for kids to come and "practice" baseball. The boys got to do running, pitching, catching and hitting drills. Our kids are pretty good about sitting down for ball games. I don't let them wander around if they think the game is too long. But, we do usually get up to get something to eat and get a souvenir. This area gave us an excuse to get up for a while. It took us two innings to do all the "stuff". I really think the big boys would have just as soon watched the game, especially since we missed some home runs. But, they were good sports and did enjoy showing up the little kids :). All in all, a fun day. We even saw some sights of Chicago on the way home. We had had to get a new GPS because ours was recalled. What we didn't realize is that it was set to "avoid traffic". You should see all the interesting things you see when you are trying to avoid traffic in Chicago!

The next day we ventured to Gurnee, IL to Six Flags. We haven't done anything like this since we went to Silver Dollar City. Unless you count Mall of America, which was fun, but more like a carnival. The boys were excited to say the least. I really don't have much to say about this since I have to say this was not that fun for me. I felt like I needed to send my parents a cookie bouquet or something for all the times they sat around Six Flags waiting on all of us kids to ride rides! Callie and I did a lot of sitting on benches and waving to the guys as they whirled around us. The guys all really had a great time though, so it was worth it.

Their faces are priceless. OK, I guess it was worth sitting on a bench all day!

Poor daddy! He agreed to do all the water rides with them. (He had just as much fun!)

I wish I would have had a video of this to hear Gannon's giggle the whole ride long! He has the ultimate giggle! Callie doing the wave.

Callie's one and only ride, you can see why! Poor thing, I really thought she would love it as adventurous as she is.

Our last day on vacation we split up for a little bit. The guys went looking for sports memorabilia shops and Callie and I went to the mall. I don't remember what mall, but it was a nice big mall. I really didn't have a lot we needed, but we were avoiding coming home. We were having such a nice relaxing time, we just wanted to prolong it. But, we were too tired to do anything in particular. One nice find at the mall was a store where the boys could build their own cars. Do you know the Build-A-Bear Stores where you pick out a bear and have it stuffed, dressed, etc., for like fifty bucks? It was like that only you pick out a car body, the proceed to pick wheels, engines, etc. The boys loved it. It was great for all ages. You could see the big boys dreaming of the car they think they could actually own. Gannon just loved putting his together. Great idea Build-A-Bear people!

Later that afternoon we headed for home. This is when we realized we had been avoiding traffic the entire trip. I can't even tell you how the GPS was sending us home. There are some really pretty areas around Chicago though. We did enjoy the scenic route. I don't know if we would have switched the GPS to this setting on our own, so it was a nice accident!

Family Vacation

Well, we were barely home a week when it was time for Todd to be off work for vacation. We decided this year to keep it low key. I decided it actually, I just couldn't muster up the energy to chase Callie all over anywhere we went, so keeping it close to home seemed more manageable! This was one of those kind of trips where you sort of have plans, but just take off and see where you end up. We knew we had tickets to the White Sox/Yankees game in Chicago, we knew we were going to Six Flags, and we knew we were going to the College Football Hall of Fame. Other than that, we were just winging it.

Well, sort of winging it. Is it still winging it when you have a GPS and two phones with Internet and Mapquest? (And a map thrown in for good measure!) We decided our first stop would be the College Football Hall of Fame on the Notre Dame campus. Todd was looking forward to this, I was looking forward to getting it over with :)! So, we put the address in the GPS and we were off. It was a nice drive to South Bend, Indiana. But, we didn't realize that the time changes in Indiana, part of the state is Central Time Zone, most of it is Eastern Time Zone. How weird would that be to live in a state with different time zones? We stopped to eat because we thought we had another hour and half on the road, when we really only had a half an hour! Learn something every day!

The Hall of Fame was nice. Just the right size, IMO. Todd thought it was too small, but he is a little football obsessed! There were a lot of things for the kids to to enjoy as well, so it was a nice family outing. Since this is the College Football Hall of Fame, we of course had to dress in our Oklahoma University clothes. We ran into a man from Oklahoma. He lives in Indiana but his whole family lives in Oklahoma and his parents live in Seminole where my dad grew up. I think that is so fun to see who you run into when your traveling. Someone in our family usually has something OU on so we have people stop us, or if Todd sees someone with something OU on he stops them. We've seen people all over the country that are OU fans. Anyway...

Todd and the guys.

Inside the Hall of Fame they had activities for the kids like kicking, passing, etc. Here are the boys trying their hand at being some kind of linemen. Not sure this position is in the cards for any of my boys!

Callie in her OU dress. Luckily we had been to Oklahoma a couple of weeks before this so she had something appropriate to wear!

Just because this is the cutest face! She is so happy because she is out of the stroller and climbing on it rather than being strapped in!

Todd and the kiddos in front of a giant football.

The gang on a mini football field.

Since South Bend is so close to Michigan, we decided to venture to another state. We hadn't been to Michigan before, so why not! We headed in the direction of Lake Michigan and ended up in St. Joseph, Michigan at the beach. This was my favorite part of the trip. The weather was perfect. The crowds were manageable. The only thing wrong was that we couldn't spend more time there! The kids had so much fun. Callie wasn't too sure at first about getting her feet dirty in the sand, but once she got to the water she was loving it.
Confession time. When I had one, two, and sometimes three kids I was always prepared with just the right clothes at just the right time. Everyone had their hair combed, their nails clipped, matching shoes, everything was even ironed. Well, times have changed! I give up. It is just too much for me to keep up with four kids and their clothes every minute of the day. Don't get me wrong, I can still pull out the old ways occasionally and we show up matching and shined. But, not always. And, it is hard work dressing a girl! She is taking all of my energy! So, I say all that because as you will see in the following pictures, we are at a gorgeous beach at the beautiful time of day. Perfect photo op, and we have on OU CLOTHES! We had other things in suitcases, but do you know how long it would have taken to dig it out and change six people? Too long. So, it is what it is. We had a great time and we have some cute pictures, regardless of the non-beachy clothes!

Here is Mama trying to get Callie to leave the sidewalk.

She finally decided it was OK when we got to the water. She loves playing in the water so she decided to sacrifice her pedicure for fun!

Garrett and Gannon splashing in the lake.

Garrett and Kellen playing football (of course) in the water.
Sam's is never far away .

Callie has decided she has had enough of her feet in the sand. I couldn't get her to put her feet down at all! Can you see her little feet barely peeking out of the bottom of her dress?
Family picture taken by some kid on the beach. Not bad, OU clothes and all :)!

Lake Michigan, so pretty.

We did all of the above on a Friday. Saturday we planned to get up do a little shopping then head to some dunes just south of St. Joseph. Well, the day didn't turn out as planned since it rained and rained. Oh well. We shopped a little longer and headed on to Chicago. We made it in time to eat at California Pizza Kitchen and shop at IKEA. Have I ever mentioned that I love Chicago? Well, I do. And, since I like to include lots of pics, I will continue our family vacation in another post. I never know how many pictures and words I am going to be able to do before the blog starts going a little weird on me! So, stay tuned...:)