Tuesday, December 12, 2017

2017: A Year In Review

I logged into the blog and I barely remembered what to do.  
I guess this little blog of mine just doesn't get the attention it once did. 
Maybe it's social media. 
Maybe it's lack of time. 
Or lack of motivation.  
I miss it.  I miss writing.  But I'm not making any New Year's Resolutions this year to blog more.  You see how well that worked last year!  
But I won't give up on my Year In Review Posts.  
So without further ado...

You guys.  I can't even with this kid! 
First of all - He tells us all the time his name is "Oliver Walter Bach Terrones".  Eleanor tries to correct him.  But this kid is stubborn as the day is long.  You can't tell him anything! Oliver continues to amaze us every single day and has probably had the year of biggest change.  I feel like we entered 2017 with a baby and are leaving 2017 with a little man.  Oliver has the heart of gold.  He is kind, caring, and compassionate.  When I lay in bed with him, he covers me with his blanket and rubs my back.  He has sparkling blue eyes and two HUGE dimples.  Do. Not. Be. Fooled. By. Oliver.  He is boy through and through and is a brute!!  On a daily basis I say, "Oliver, don't head-butt me", "Oliver, don't spit", "Oliver, we don't use potty language" (you know, because his favorite words are poopy head, poopy butt...really anything with the word poopy in it - or that he can add poopy to.) Oliver continues to be on the shorter side - just starting to wear a size 3 and at, about, the 24% for height.  But he's right on target for learning and we are happy to believe Oliver has not inherited the color blindness gene from the Schroeder side.  Oliver hates anything loud - and I blame "years" of ear infections for this - but has really started to be "brave" with this fear.  He is the WORST eater.  No really.  The WORST.  As in - he really just doesn't eat. Oliver doesn't care his sister is 6 years older - he wants everything she has.  He loves her dollhouse, her Barbies, her headbands...but he also loves trucks and dinosaurs.  Oliver talks ALL. THE. TIME. And usually what he says leaves us laughing.  Oliver is the light of my life and I thank God every single day for bringing him into my life.  I also ask God, every single day, if he is sure I am capable of being the mom Oliver needs!

ELEANOR FRANCES - 9 (On 12/24)
Eleanor doesn't make the sudden, abrupt changes that her brother makes at his age...but in true Eleanor fashion, slowly, quietly, and without you noticing, she changes.  Eleanor is becoming quite the little person and we just adore her for it.  Eleanor is her own person.  There is nothing that Andy or I or anyone else can do to change that.  And for that, I am thankful.  And I pray that nothing can change that in the future.  Eleanor is in 3rd Grade and is obsessed with reading.  Obsessed.  I have a hard time picking books for Eleanor because the level that she is reading at contains topics that she just doesn't relate to (Probably like a 5th grade reading level).  She reads 2 - 3 books per weekend...when she SHOULD be working on math.  She continues to swim like a fish and loves it.  We talk a lot about swim club or swim team, but haven't made a commitment either way.  She also continues with dance - although she has given up her ballet shoes (much to mom's sadness) and discovered she's more of a Jazz girl.  Eleanor has a very close group of girlfriends and we've entered the world of sleep overs and social events.  Eleanor is still in Brownies and joined Art Club at school.  She is a VERY busy little girl.  If Eleanor has downtime she will be in the basement playing with her Legos.  She loves to build and create!  Eleanor has the largest heart, but is very guarded with who she gives that heart to.  She's empathetic beyond definition, but is cautious and guarded.  Eleanor continues to surprise me every single day.  I'm so sad she's growing up so fast, but I'm SO happy with the person she is growing into.  She's fun to be around and I love hanging out with her (so long as she doesn't have a book with her!)

ELIVER - Eleanor and Oliver
One would have thought that having children almost 6 years apart and of opposite sexes would have allowed them to have very different lives and interests.  Nope. Oliver wants everything Eleanor has - including Barbies and Dollhouses and Eleanor loves playing with all of Oliver's toys.  I can't tell you the amount of times my heart nearly bursts with love for these two.  Eleanor is the most amazing big sister and Oliver just adores his big sister.  Lately, Eleanor has been getting out of bed and getting up with Oliver in the morning so we can "sleep in"...you know...because you never worry when your 8 year old and 3 year old are downstairs alone! :-)  They certainly know how to push each others buttons though!  Eleanor can get SO irritated with Oliver and sometimes you can just see the devil in Oliver as he antagonizes Eleanor.  And OH. MAN. if Eleanor shuts her door and doesn't let Oliver in her bedroom.  Well...you've probably heard the screams coming from our house.  At the end of the day, they are siblings...but I know they are growing as dear friends and I'm just thrilled to continue to watch this relationship develop.  

KARL JEROME - 13 years old
It's safe to say that the toughest month of the year was September.  The month we said goodbye to our beloved Karl.  Karl was starting to show his age.  He slept most of the time, couldn't navigate our stairs as well, could barely jump onto his favorite sleeping couch, couldn't get comfortable sleeping at night, and was having almost daily accidents in our house.  Andy made the toughest decision to put him down.  I had no idea how sad I was going to be.  Karl was the first dog I ever had.  Although he destroyed most of my tupperware, several of my toothbrushes, and any food we left on the counter, Karl had a heart of gold.  It was his personal mission to protect Eleanor and Oliver.  And he was Andy's best friend.  Our first night without Karl the house was too quiet and our bedroom was too empty.  Now, almost 3 months later, I still think I'm going to open the garage door and be greeted by his big, dopey face.  Sometimes, I "hear" his nails on the hardwood floors.   And every now and again even Oliver will ask if Karl is going to come home soon. I do believe the Bach house will be home for another dog in the future.  But not just yet.  Karl left us with a huge void, but we just installed new carpet and we are going to enjoy one summer coming and going as we please.  

1977 - what a year! 
I was so excited for Andy's 40th Birthday!  When I found out our favorite band was playing at Red Rocks 3 weeks before Andy's birthday, I KNEW I had to take him!  What a fun surprise it would be when all our friends showed up too!  But I knew how much Andy looked forward to planning a vacation and having something to look forward to - so I let him know about the concert and we started planning a friend's get away to Red Rocks, CO in September.  Failing at one surprise, I decided to throw Andy a surprise party at Miller Park the weekend of his actual birthday.  However, as soon as I signed the contract, I told Andy.  DANG IT!  I can't keep a secret!  Well, we sure had a fun time celebrating 40 years of this guy, regardless!  Although, there is one secret I kept - and on Andy's birthday we finally told the kiddos we were heading to Disney World at the end of the month!  It was a great cherry on top of celebrating 40 years!
Besides turning 40, Andy continues to work in Sales at Direct Supply.  I guess the biggest news there is he moved his home office from the basement to our extra bedroom. (Whooping it up at the Bach house, indeed!)  He sure is enjoying the sunlight!  Although it's hard for many personal hobbies outside of raising 2 young children, Andy knocked Toronto off his Baseball Stadium Tour List this year and continues to play volleyball from the cold months in spring to the cold months in Fall.  

DANA LYNN -Still not 40
I really am excited to turn 40...but I guess 37 will have to do.  In January I celebrated my 3rd year at LPI.  I continue to love my position there, as challenging as it can be sometimes.  I reached a huge professional milestone in November and received a promotion to Vice President of Human Resources.  I still travel quite a bit for work and with the potential of a new facility opening in 2018, I see some additional travels south in my future.  I'm also very excited to be working with the Marquette College of Business Mentorship Program this year.  The program really just kicked off, but I sure am happy to be back on campus!  Personally, running continues to be my "hobby" and I ran my 2nd 200 mile relay from Madison to Chicago with an amazing group of friends.  I really missed not training for a 1/2 marathon this summer and signed up to run the Madison 1/2 marathon again next August.  I was really looking for a new one...so maybe 2018 will be the year I run 2 1/2 marathons.  It might also be the year my husband official deems me crazy!  I'm still teaching Eleanor's Sunday School class, but I think next year I'd like to switch to teaching Oliver's class - 3rd graders man...I think they got the best of me! Oh...and for the record - can I just say I was the Fantasy Football League Champion in the first official Burchardt-Schroeder-Terrones-Bach Fantasy Football League? (Things aren't looking as good for this year!)

DANDY - 6 years
I believe it was last year that I said maybe some day Andy and I would stop our shenanigans.  Maybe some day Andy and I would turn into that old married couple and stop "dating".  2017 was not the year.  And I really don't see that happening in 2018 either.  Andy is my best friend and my partner in crime.  We have an annoyingly good time together (from an outsiders perspective).  Still, to this day, I question why I am so lucky to receive such amazing love twice in my life - especially as Andy loves and respects my first marriage as much as I do.  Andy and I continue to be grateful for 4 sets of grandparents that help support our shenanigans by watching our kiddos - especially overnight!  We already have many adventures planned for 2018...including some talk of a 5 year anniversary trip.  5 years!  And more in love then the day we met! 

As a family we've had an amazing 2017!   From spring break in St. Louis to camping in the Wisconsin Dells to Halloween in Disney World.  From laughing and making memories to crying and supporting each other in tough times.  We continue to learn and grow as individuals and as a family.  We are blessed beyond words with family and a strong network of friends that we consider family.  We are blessed with health and opportunity.  Thank you to so many of you that helped make 2017 what it was.  We look forward sharing 2018 with you as well!  

From our family to yours - Health, Happiness, and Laughter through the holidays and the year ahead!  

Saturday, February 4, 2017

January 2017 - Bacherrones Family Update

I'm doing pretty good on my New Year's Resolutions. 
I mean.  I can't really think of most of them at the time...but I think I'm trying!

Anyway - one of my resolutions was to blog at least monthly.  I love going back and reading the blog...but if I don't write - I don't have anything to read.  All I have to do is write a monthly update.  12 times in one year...I can do that - right?

So here we go!  

January was a pretty exciting month for us - despite not seeing the sun for weeks and weeks. Despite it being winter and not having any snow!  Despite having to take down all our Christmas decorations and return our house to normal.  Despite giving up nights of drinking Baileys with Andy on the couch.  Despite starting to work out again!

On January 8 we celebrate Nic's birthday (Karl's too, but he's 3 years sober, so he doesn't get a shot!). Andy does shots of tequila 2 x a year...Once in January.  We even got to further celebrate with a Packer victory!

After a few shots of tequila and a debaucherous Saturday evening with too much white wine that left me more hungover than I have been in years, we started our 3rd 24 Day Challenge.  Our glutenous holiday season caught up with us and we welcomed 24 days of whole-clean eating!

And even though we were feeling amazing after just a few days...it didn't mean we weren't sad when Andy's mom brought over the most giant tub of frosting - EVER - for Eleanor's birthday party. 

Also - with how busy we were in December - there was very little time for working out - so when Santa brought us Insanity Max 30 - we were excited to start!  Do you know Shaun T?  Sometimes, during our workouts...I want to cry.  Literally.  I want to cry!  It's crazy intense and SO amazing!  Eleanor and Oliver usually hang out with me in the basement during workouts.  They cheer me on and laugh when I do power jumps!  I hope I'm setting a good example for them!
And even though winter has been incredibly mild, I haven't been running much.  However, just a few days a week of Insanity Max 30 and I was able to run our annual Indoor Marathon Relay with Team Twinkle Toes.  This year I wasn't pregnant, Oliver wasn't sick, or in the hospital, so I was pretty happy with my participation level!  I'll be happy to get back to running though and am super excited it's actually light past 4:30 and may be able to get back outside sooner than later!

Enough about Andy and I, our eating and exercising habits!  Let's talk about the kiddos!

This year Eleanor decided she wanted a winter themed birthday party.  We planned on going to Andy's mom's house to sled down her amazing yard.  We were going to do hot cocoa and cake. 

Mother nature had other plans!  Who would have thought a January birthday party could be ruined by lack of snow?  

So we improvised and had an indoor winter birthday party.  We made snowmen out of each other and toilet paper, we had a snowball fight, we still had hot cocoa and made our own snowflakes with beads and pom poms.  It wasn't what we imagined, but it turned out rather cute in the end!

Little Oliver sure had fun tagging along!  We'll see how long big sister lets him crash her birthday parties!
8 years old!  What?

I don't know.  Maybe I'm being naive...but maybe she'll let him tag along to birthday parties for awhile.

Mom can still get away with matching jammies!  And she LOVES IT!
Oliver always wants exactly what Eleanor has.  Including headbands, hair bows, ponytails, painted nails, stuffed animals. The list goes on and on!  Eleanor is too good with Oliver and usually gives in to what he wants and so we are trying to teach her that it's not "sharing" if he just takes things from her.  But of course it's a pendulum...they are still siblings after all!

I used my final day of vacation to stay home with Eleanor on January 16.  We were going to drive down to Chicago to see my friend Lindsey and her newest addition.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans for us and an ice storm kept us off the roads.  I still had an awesome day hanging out with my oldest buddy...but we were both pretty bummed.
Lucky for us, we didn't have plans the following Saturday and then the entire family got to drive down to meet Emma and see Lillian.  Oliver loved following the big girls around, they were super great with him and I got TONS of sweet baby cuddles.  Guh!  Love the baby cuddles.  I totally could have put her in my bag and headed home!

We were also blessed with some crazy warm weather and hung out for a bit on the patio and listened to the kids play! The day was perfection!

And while I don't have any pictures to document the moment (Andy wouldn't let me take one while she was walking out the door...) Eleanor survived her first sleep over at a non-family members house!  Man.  Did that make her seem grown up or what?  Walking up to bed that night and walking past Oliver's shut door and Eleanor's open door was weird!  The next day Eleanor couldn't stop talking about the sleep over and I see a whole new world open for us!

This month Eleanor also lost her third tooth.  That tooth has been loose since October!  I was concerned it was going to fall out when we were in Vegas!  It was SO loose in the end, that Eleanor would have to push it back into place while she was eating.  I kept telling her to pull it, but she didn't want to/ was too nervous to.  So one night while brushing her teeth she literally SPIT it out!  But she sure was proud to have lost that tooth!  And DANG that front tooth is big!

Eleanor also had her first cavity this month.  I wanted to cry.  But the dentist told us not to make a big deal of it.  She called it a "flossing cavity"...which makes sense, because I'm pretty sure Eleanor never has flossed.  But it's so weird, she brushes, doesn't drink juices and really doesn't eat a lot of candy.  But now we have floss sticks and mouth wash...and we get the cavity filled on February 14 (insert wide eyed emoji!)

Speaking of cavities...We were also busy selling Girl Scout Cookies in January.  Glorious, glorious girl scout cookies.  Although...they've yet to make a calorie free cookie....

And my littlest buddy.  You guys.  I can't even with this kid.  He's exhausting...and he's magical.  I don't even know how to describe it.  He can make me SO exhausted, but then he looks at me with those blue eyes and those dimples.  He talks.  He says something I've never heard him say before.  He sings me a song.  He wants just one more book.  He wants to read the book.  He just wants to help.  He wants to try.  And I need to take a deep breath and let him.  Everything can take 10x as long...but it's 10x better.

I mean...He's even adorable watching PJ Masks (aka Superman) at the kitchen table.

And I bought sunglasses from Zenni.com.  It's a long story.  And I'm not sure I'm an aviator type of sunglasses girl...

Bacherrones Out!  That's our first month of the year...how was yours?!

Friday, December 23, 2016

2016: A Year in Review

If you haven't noticed, the blog has fizzled. 
I guess I became less exciting.  
Or I've learned that life with two children is more complex than one.  
But as the holidays bear down on us I just couldn't imagine not typing a year in review post!  

Oliver Walter - 2 years old
Our mantra with Oliver is, "If he was our first, he would be our last."  This kid has kept us on our toes since the minute he was born!  He started 2016 with an ambulance trip to Children's Hospital which earned him a 3 day stay while being treated for his second case of RSV and pneumonia.  We spent the winter battling more ear infections and finally had a new set of tubes put in in March along with removal of his adenoids.  He spent the summer healthy but hit early winter with another horrible viral asthma attack (possibly RSV).  Good news is that we were able to stay out of the hospital with this round!  Here's to hoping we have a quiet winter!!  It's not all about asthma and illness with Mr O.  He is all.  Boy!  He loves trucks, diggers, farts, dirt, dinosaurs.  He is all toddler, exerting his independence as much as possible saying things like, "I don't like it." And "I do it momma."  He's incredibly polite and loves to help empty the dishwasher, saying "thank you" after each dish!  He loves reading, singing, and being so silly. He loves his big sister and he loves his dog.  As Andy says often, he's becoming a little person.  Doing little person things more and more all the time.  We've put away his high chair and are starting to put away more sippy cups.  After the holidays we are going to see about a visit from the Nukie Fairy.  We talk about things like transitioning him to a big boy bed and potty training.  These months are my absolute favorite age with children as they teeter on baby and big kid.  I desperately embrace both - excited about what's to come and aching at the thought of my baby growing up too fast!

Eleanor Frances - 8 on 12/24
Speaking of growing up too fast!!  Eleanor will be 8 on the 24th.  While I've had a really hard time with her reaching almost every age up until now - 8 seems to be a wonderful age.  We are having so much fun with our big kid that we sometimes need to stop and remind ourselves that she still is, in all actuality, a little kid and just trying to figure this thing called life!  Eleanor had a big year.  After years and years of watching other kids lose teeth, Eleanor finally lost her first one this summer with a second tooth coming out shortly after that.  We currently have two more wiggly teeth!  Eleanor also learned how to ride her two-wheel bike. We've had plenty of scraped knees and band-aids from strangers during bike rides, but overall, she's done pretty good.  It's been so much fun taking family bike rides together on summer nights!  Eleanor still loves school and is in 2nd grade this year.  Reading is by far her favorite and she's been known to be reading 2 - 3 books at a time!  With all that reading, spelling has come pretty naturally as well.  It's the math facts that we need to work on.  So we've been practicing with flash cards and I have to say, my mental math has improved dramatically!  Eleanor loves telling us about all the things she is learning in school.  I officially think she's smarter then me!  Eleanor also keeps herself busy with Brownies, ballet, tap, poms and swim.  She's reached her final level in swim and the next level would begin to prepare her for competitive swim...but she's not just sure she wants to swim races.  We'll see.  Eleanor remains highly creative, loves legos and loves a good musical!  She knows every lyric, good, bad or otherwise, to Hamilton and really enjoyed Hairspray Live!  

Karl Jerome - 13ish
We really don't know - or often forget - just how old Karl really is. But he's OLD and sometimes shows signs of slowing down.  Other times we have to yell at him to remind him he's getting old and can't do everything he used to be able to do - like run up the hardwood stairs!  He continues to keep us on our toes by getting into anything that could possibly, even just a little, smell like food.  But for as much trouble as he can be, he's sweet as can be with the kids and that's all that matters.  Oliver and Karl are best buddies.  Oliver is always getting toys for Karl and telling us what Karl is up to: "Karl sleeping", "Karl poop!" "Karl doing?" and because of it, Karl is very tolerant of Oliver, sharing his dog bed, allowing cuddles, and the occasional ear pull.

Andy - Old, but not as old as Karl
With two very active kids an old dog that acts like a puppy, anything about Andy or I seems pretty boring!  Andy celebrated his 16 year at Direct Supply.  With territory changes and budget reallocation, it keeps him interested and challenged.  He also continues to work from home which is a blessing beyond words!  Andy is still running, but remains committed to the 5K race, despite my teasing every now and again with a potential Las Vegas 1/2 marathon.  Maybe some day I'll be able to catch up with his pace!  He also still plays volleyball in the summer and got to spend some time away from us with his annual Baseball trip (this year was Detroit) and his annual Vegas trip (which was not, to my dismay, very profitable).  And between my work schedule and running schedule and Eleanor's extracuricular activities, he has very little time for much else!

Dana - spring chicken comparatively!
I'm closing in on my 3rd year with LPi and continue to be happy and challenged in my position.  It's so weird for me to not even be considering changing jobs!  I travel more than I would like (and since I hate flying, I would like to never travel) but other than that I have very few complaints!  I started teaching Eleanor's Sunday School class this year and have really had a fun time with it.  I didn't know what it would be like teaching her class, but she seems to do just fine with me there.  I ran a 1/2 marathon in April and said it would be my last...I can't decide if that's the truth or not.  I also ran a 200 mile relay called Ragnar.  It was the most amazing, exhilarating experience and am definitely doing that again!  So maybe I should use a 1/2 marathon for training?

Dana and Andy - (Dandy?)
It is mind-blowing crazy to think that Andy and I have known each other for 5 years this past October.  We just celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary!  We live for the kiddos and nothing makes us happier than a night at home together as a family...but we manage to get out on our own quite a bit too!  Thank goodness for 4 sets of grandparents that adore their grandchildren!  Andy and I have had many fun escapades around town, including kicking off the New Year with a blustery cold Packer Game, our Annual ARCW Make a Promise Gala, Brewer's Games and many, many runs!  We also got to venture to Las Vegas for a long weekend at the end of October.  Alas, once again, we did not strike it rich and it was back to work we went!  Maybe some year in review I'll stop recapping our shenanigans...but only until the shenanigans stop...and I don't see that happening any time soon!

And that is 2016!  It has been filled with love, laughter and millions of moments that created memories.  There were highs and lows.  There were tears and breath-taking moments.  But we are blessed with family and friends that were there for it all.  We are looking forward to 2017 and wish you the same health and happiness!

Love, The Bachs...aka Bacherrones

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A Day In The Life - Vol. 6: Summer 2016 - HOLIDAY ADDITION!

I really had originally planned on doing another birthday DiTL post...but with an upcoming camping trip planned and the DiTL deadline, I knew I wouldn't have time to DiTL on Thursday and get it in on time.  BUT, I think a HOLIDAY addition of DiTL is equally exciting!

So, I bring you - A Day In the Life of the Bach Family - Fourth of July edition.

MONDAY, JULY 4, 2016
Andy - 38 years
Dana - 35 years (for 3 more days)
Eleanor - 7 years
Oliver - 22 months (I can count in months for just a few more weeks - then my baby will be 2!)
Karl - 13 (although, neither Andy nor I can really remember if it's 12 or 13.  Sorry furbaby)

Here's an interesting fact about my DiTL.  I am relying 90% on memory and pictures.  I did very little dictation, but took MANY pictures.  I also ONLY used my phone for this DITL...usually I try to use my big camera - mostly because I need the practice.

6:02 AM || Oliver is starting to stir.  It's my day to get up with him.  By the time I wake myself up and get out of bed, he's full on shouting "Momma....momma..."  It's like he knows it's my day.  

I get him out of his crib and try negotiating the posse we have to bring down with us.  I always lose the negotiation and try to manage the baby, the big blue blanket, Hank the dog stuffed animal, and Roger, the stuffed bear.  

We make it downstairs and cuddle on the couch.  Ah.  My favorite part of any day. 

Oliver is not impressed with my picture taking this early in the morning.  I forget to grab a screen shot of the weather, but for being July 4, it is rather chilly.  This doesn't bode well for our pending pool visit, but I decide to start packing for the pool regardless.  

6:22 AM ||  I grab Oliver some milk.  Random side note, we just switched Oliver to regular milk.  We've been giving him lactose free milk for the longest time.  It's a long story involving chronic ear infections and stomach problems.  But, we are trying full lactose milk for awhile...just to see.  

I take the dog out - yup - down right chilly.  I grab a bag from the laundry room, a few towels and swim diapers.  I'm leaving soon for a fourth of July run and I want to have Andy as packed as possible before I leave.  

6:44 AM || Andy wakes up.  I remind him it's DiTL day, but spare him a morning picture!  I run upstairs to get dressed and grab my and Oliver's pool stuff.  

Back downstairs I grab some peanut butter bread and Spark.  Our friend should be here shortly to head over to the run together.  

7:08 AM || I get a text from our friend Nick - He's in the driveway.  We also receive a text that his wife, Sara, is battling a migraine and isn't sure how the rest of the morning will pan out. She and Andy are supposed to meet Nick and I at the park after the run, with the kids, to swim for awhile.  Andy still plans on meeting us, but we'll have to play Sara by ear.  I hate leaving with plans up in the air...but I don't have much choice in the matter.  Andy and Sara will figure it out.  I'll run.  And we'll all meet up in the end.  

7:18 ish AM || Parking is actually proving to be a bit more challenging then we originally thought, but we grab a place close enough and walk over to packet pick up.  Nick gets his stuff and then runs his shirt back to the car.  I picked up my packet the day before, so I awkwardly loiter around the park by myself.  I text Andy about where exactly the park is.  He was aware.  My bad.

I make a note to myself that if I plan on continuing to run a 4th of July run...I need more patriotic running gear.  I also find Nick again during this time.  At least I don't feel as awkward now!    

7:49 AM || Text Andy that I am heading to the starting line.  I drop off Nick at the beginning and walk back to "my people".  The slow people.  

8:45 AM || I text Andy that we are done.  Well...Nick has been done for awhile.  But I'm officially done.  Not too shabby either.  A 9:30 average - I'll take it.  Nick and I head over to grab a beer.  Let's be honest - the only reason people run in Wisconsin is because every race ends with beer.  

I'm completely hooked on this race too.  I plan on making it a tradition.  What a great way to start the 4th.  

While Nick is talking to teammates from the store he runs with (for?), I text Andy and Sara.  Sara is feeling a little better and is going to tough it out.  They should be arriving shortly.  

9:09 AM || Sara and Andy and 4 kids pull into the parking lot.  We tell our race stories as we head into the pool area.  Our town doesn't have an outdoor public pool, but this one isn't that far away from us.  The pool is a decent size, with 2 awesome diving boards and a shallow enough area, that at least Eleanor can stand in.  Why have we never been here before?

Eleanor goes over to the diving board, but needs to pass a swim test first.  Andy always takes her to swim lessons, so I never get an opportunity to really see her swim and I'm pretty impressed when she shows off her skills to the life guard!  Swimming test passed - Eleanor went right over to the diving board!  No fear!

And speaking of no fear...Oliver.  He just wants us to let him swim.  Too bad he'd sink right to the bottom. But it's safe to say, both kids LOVE the water.  
The water isn't exactly what I'd call warm.  We all get used to it, but when Eleanor and Oliver's lips start to turn purple, we decide it's time to get out.  Eleanor has also declared - about 13 times - that she is STARVING.  Oh the dramatics of my 7 year old girl. 

We change and walk back to the car - discussing our plans for the rest of the day and how awesome a bloody mary sounds.  The plan is for us to go home and put Oliver down for a nap.  We'll call the others when he wakes up and head to the festival.  The parade starts at 1 PM - which is a horribly hot time for a parade to start in July.  None of our kiddos are really parade people, probably stemming from the fact that none of the parents are really parade people. This year we finally agreed to skip the parade and crank out some rides at the festival while the rest of the city is at the parade.  

Sometime after 10 || We get home and I decide both kids should take a quick bath.  I have a thing with chlorine.  

Eleanor grabs a shower in our bathroom. Meanwhile, Oliver is being a total ham in the bathtub.  His newest words are "...are you?" as in "where are you?".   I grabbed a video, but it's not transitioning to the blog very well.  "Fishy...are you..." (fishy, where are you?)  And of course when we get out of the bathtub, my little creature of habit needs to brush his teeth!  I run into his room to grab clothes for lunch and nap.  I guess I know what he was busy doing while Andy was getting them ready for the pool!  Books, books, everywhere books!
Andy put in a pizza while the kids were bathing. It's SUPER early for lunch - I can't believe Andy even suggested it.  But we know the day will be filled with snacks and probably an early super.  You never have to ask me twice for an early lunch - I'm usually ready to eat around 10 AM!

11:02 AM ||  What's more American than Kirkland Frozen pizza?

11:20 AM ||  We weren't sure if Oliver would be ready for an early nap, but I think swimming took a lot out of him.  We settle on the couch for some cuddle time and his beloved Nuk and Bubble Guppies.

11:37 AM || Andy takes Oliver up for his nap and I decide to take the dog on a quick walk around the block.  Our old grandpa's hips aren't what they used to be and so we try and make sure he gets a little exercise every day.  Not to mention - we know we are going to be gone for awhile and I'd REALLY like to avoid coming home to an accident in the house.

Once home I finally get in the shower and get myself ready for the rest of the afternoon.  I head downstairs to find Eleanor on the iPad.  She's playing Minecraft and asks if I want a "tour of the house she built".  Am I the only one that does not understand the obsession with Minecraft?  I mean - she's seriously addicted.

12:45 PM || Her tour of her 3D world makes me motion sick and I ask if she wants to come outside with me.  It's a beautiful sunny day - she's had enough screen time and I need to plant some plants I bought yesterday.  SUPPOSEDLY, the smell of the leaves is a mosquito deterrent.  Our backyard is heavily wooded and I'm petrified of ticks and mosquitoes (this post is really making me sound OCD - chlorine, bugs...I swear I'm not totally neurotic!)  Eleanor wasn't much help, but instead sat in the shade and played music for me.  Gotta love KidzBop on repeat!

12:51 PM || Oliver is still sleeping, which is crazy and wonderful.  Anything past one hour is a blessing!  I end up in the garage and happen to notice what looks like a flag pole behind some shelving, shovels, weed wackers, and other misc. garage junk.  How I noticed it is beyond me, but after some digging I discover it IS a flag pole.  I happen to have a flag in our garage...not sure where it came from, but I assure you, I had it perfectly folded.  I mean...it's like a 4th of July miracle! A hanging American Flag is just so....American!  I love it! 

1:16 PM || Nick texts they are on their way over and at some point during my flower potting and flag hanging, our friend Ryan text Andy that he will also be joining us for a part of the afternoon.  

We are getting antsy to start our fun and just when we think we can't wait any longer...I hear Oliver start to stir.  I head upstairs to grab him, Eleanor follows me and Andy heard him from outside (super sonic hearing) and starts heading up without knowing I'm in there.  Poor Oliver is greeted by all 3 of us.  What a way to wake up!

1:27 PM ||  I try to sneak in some cuddles before everyone gets here, but it's short lived.  Eleanor is....being Eleanor...and Oliver is getting all excited...even though, he's not really sure what he's supposed to be excited for!

1:35 PM || Everyone shows up around the same time.  There is a quick turn around and off we go to the festival!  We have to walk through the parade route to get there and it's packed!  There are huge gaps in the parade, so it's easy to cross the street.  We all agree - even the kids - that we are so happy we aren't watching the parade. I'm a horrible parent.  I've ruined my child!

Oliver has been obsessed with sunglasses lately and I just can't get over it!  Additionally, somehow in our commotion to leave, Oliver still has his Nuk.  Stinker.   

Here's where you get a nice break from the high detail of this post - the next few hours are spent going from ride to ride.  Game to Game.  Beer to Beer.  Funnel cake to funnel cake.  It's safe to say, a grand time was had by all.  From time stamps of pictures I can tell you:

2:23 PM || Oliver's first carousal ride - I think he actually enjoyed it!

Not big enough for much else...my short baby!  

2:33 PM || Eleanor decides to try the swings again this year - even though last year she puked after.  While she didn't get physically ill this year...she sure looked like she could have.  Again I say, spinning might not be her favorite thing!
Watching big sister on the swings.

3:04 PM || Everyone loves some good carnival games!  That woman was pretty awesome and gave Oliver a teeny little bear.  She must have two children too and understands sharing isn't always an option!

More rides.

Our community just built a brand new "All Children's Playground"...and by just, I mean, the ribbon cutting was on Saturday.  So we were pretty excited to finally get a chance to play on it - and I was pretty excited to show the family the pieces I built (it was all volunteer built!)

It's an amazing playground and I felt so comfortable just letting Oliver room the little kid structure without hovering!  What a great feeling for him too!  Freedom!!

We also hunted down and found our family picket!  For a small donation, you could purchase a picket and have something engraved on it.  It's pretty cool to think that some day Eleanor and Oliver might bring their kids to this playground and show off their picket!

3:43 PM ||  I guess when you eat lunch at 11, you start to get hungry pretty early.  But first I had to snap a picture of the sky.  The cloud cover was crazy, but it never rained!

4:30 PM ||  We finish our early dinner with some funnel cake - surprise, surprise, Oliver is a big fan!  We also decide to head back home where we can let the kids run and play, have some adult time, and light off a few fireworks.

Again...a few more details are lacking here...but, once we got home, Ryan had to head off to another party, the girls put on a dance show for us, and the adults sat on the back porch, enjoying a summer evening. And I took my July picture for our family Christmas card!

6:10 PM || The first request for fireworks and sparklers is made.  To be clear - our fireworks cost about $6.99 from the grocery store parking lot.  I assure you, there is nothing exciting going on!  Oliver was a big fan of the sparklers.   

And then it all went down hill.  Nick let off something that snap, crackle, popped and Oliver lost. his. mind. He was petrified.  Again, please remember, these are not traumatizing fireworks.  But he was so scared. The little white snaps (the things you throw on the ground) didn't go over well either. 

I make him do plenty he doesn't want to do and listening to loud fireworks is not one of those things. So I took him inside and tried to calm him down.  But he could hear the fireworks, even with the door closed.  And he was petrified.  So petrified, I didn't even torment him with pictures.  

I went outside to cancel the firework display, but Oliver was scared to even be in the front yard!  We tried distracting him with the pool and the big kids even went to get suits on...but nothing was calming this storm. 

7:00 ISH PM ||  We realize the time - factor in that Oliver never really ate much dinner at the festival - we have one over tired, over hungry, over traumatized little boy. 
I take him inside and give him some cereal and raspberries for a quick snack, a little veg time with the Bubble Guppies and then dad takes over to put him to bed around 7:18.  Oh holiday schedules...
Meanwhile, the big kids keep swimming and causing general havoc.  Oliver falls asleep very quickly and Andy is back outside in no time.  We chill on the front porch and watch kids be kids in the summer, holiday night.  This is perfection!

A request is made for a campfire because "Mom, we ALWAYS have a campfire on the fourth of July."  I can't argue tradition.  And although we have a beautiful fire pit in the back yard, we drag out the rusty, falling apart, store bought pit because the kids are riding bikes and scooters and don't want to go in back.  Sigh.

There are a few more requests for home explosives, but the adults just don't trust a sleeping Oliver and we agree our friends should take the explosives home with them for another time.  We satisfy the kids (and adults) with s'mores!

The sun begins it decent - it's a little after 8:30.  The fireworks start at 10 PM.  I have to work tomorrow.  We all agree none of us are going to make it to the display this year...we didn't last year either...or the year before that...but I proclaim I will never work another 5th of July ever again and next year I AM going to the fireworks (and I won't be pregnant like 2 years ago or have an 11 month old like last year).

So our friends pack their stuff - and their kids - and head home.  We'll seem them again on Sunday!  Someone in our neighborhood has the good fireworks and Eleanor manages to see 2 - 3 good ones before going inside.  This seems to satisfy any need for fireworks!
We corral Eleanor upstairs. She's sleep walking at this point - a long weekend has caught up to her!

Like the true party animals we are - at 9:35 PM Andy and I are in bed, watching House Hunters on HGTV.  I set my alarm, 5:30 comes quickly.  I'm asleep before the end of the episode...I never find out which house they pick!

A pretty anti-climactic end to a holiday, but it was a fantastic holiday, filled with all my favorite things, none the less!  As our family gets older, traditions will change and we'll continue to make modifications and adjustments, but for now...I wouldn't have it any other way.


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