Category Archives: Erin

Summer, Summer, Summer time!

We are getting closer to the end of summer and I don’t think any of us want it to be over! We are having a blast. Here are our July highlights:

  • 4th of July weekend, we went to our friend’s lake house. They have all the fun lake toys: boat, tube, kayak, stand up paddle board…the kids were entertained (and so were the parents). We got to watch fireworks from the boat in the middle of the lake. Wendy and I did early morning walks. It was a perfect get-a-way.
  • On the 4th of July, Ben had his debut show of synchronized swimming. He rocked it! He had a solo to the Lion King’s “I just can’t wait to be King”, duet to “Anything you can do, I can do better”, and a group dance to “Cuban Pete”. The team welcomed him with open arms and Ben had the time of his life! At the end of the season, he ended up getting first in all of the above for his age division against the other country clubs.
  • The boys finished up their swim team season. They had so much fun. I loved having something to do everyday at the start of summer, now I am looking forward to more down time and hanging at home.
  • Josie and Will wrapped up golf lessons. They both got 2nd place in their age division in the final competition.
  • I rode my bike across Iowa, well part of Iowa. RAGBRAI was fantastic.
  • Billy got in as much golf as he could.

Alabama = Bemis Fun

What an amazing trip to the Gulf Shore. We would definitely go back again. It was the kind of trip you don’t need a vacation from your vacation when you get home, so relaxing! The ocean was so peaceful and spending time with our extended family was just what we needed. Even Josie said her favorite thing was spending time with everyone outside of the holidays.

Highlights:

  • Billy kayaked in the ocean a TON. He took out the kids (especially the boys) and the two of us got out there twice.
  • Josie officially turned 10 in Alabama, how cool is that?
  • Joanne and Ben put on a tap dance to Elvis Presley’s “Teddy Bear”. It may be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.
  • We had a fun parents night out while Grandma, Grandpa, and Josie watched the kids.
  • Lots of fun on the beach! We took a sand castle class, we played soccer, raced, walked, and so much more.
  • Uncle Johnny knocked his tooth out when a big wave hit his Stand Up Paddle Board. Luckily, the tooth stuck in the board!
  • The boys had a peanut scare that involved me having to stab them in the thigh with EPI Pens as we drove down the highway to the ER. Will unbuckled his seat belt and later told us he was going to jump in the trunk. I stabbed him about 4 times before realizing I was using the one I already did on Ben. Ben’s entered above his knee cap versus on his thigh (he kept guarding his thigh) so his knee was sore for a day. The check in nurse said, “You’ll hurting anywhere besides where mama stabbed you?!” The doctor said I saved their lives and I cried.

Hawaii 2017

Billy had a work trip to Hawaii the week before our anniversary, which fell on Easter this year. I pretty much assumed this was a sign that I was meant to go on this trip. What spells 12 year anniversary like HAWAII?!

We flew out a few days early and checked out Kauai. It was so green. Chickens were everywhere. We stayed in the northern part of the island and hiked up to Hanakapiai falls. It was worth 9.5 miles of muddy, rocky, “unmaintained” paths for the amazing view. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast at Hemingway’s cafe, pool time, dinner and drinks at the resort, and before our flight left we checked out the southern part of the island. Drinks and lunch at the Beach house and a drive through Waimea Canyon was the perfect way to say goodbye to Kauai.

We went to Oahu for the board meetings and had fun re-creating scenes from our last visit there when the kids were 16months and 3 years. Thanks to Billy’s work we got a private tour of the Bishop Museum and tour the U.S.S. Missouri. We also had two fun nights of Hawaiian cuisine with the board members and co-workers. Billy got a little golf time in and I did lots of reading by the pool and beach, ran 7 miles, and checked out the mall while he was working.

Our final stop was the Big Island. We loved checking out the volcanoes! We landed and immediately drove to Volcano National Park. It was neat to see the rain forrest that grew on top of an un-active lava tube.

My favorite waterfall on this island was the Rainbow falls. It was an easy hike then rock jumping to get to the waterfall, so fun. Billy did NOT like how close I got to the edge of the waterfall, but I seriously think I could have gone a little further!

The black sand beaches at Richardson ocean park were cool to see. We ventured across the hardened lava rocks to enjoy the ocean waves up close. I was inches away from a huge beautiful sea turtle as I crossed the thigh high water…I nearly peed my shorts! It was amazing.

My favorite spot to eat on the Big Island was Hilo Bay Cafe….which was a nice little stroll down from our hotel. We liked it so much, we decided to play a game of stalling as long as we could. They had good music, fun dishes, delicious sushi, and they gave you peppered popcorn in truffle oil while you wait for your food. I may have asked for a refill…a couple of times.

The final day we were on the Big Island, we did a 4:45am boat tour ride out to the active volcanoes. We sat in the second row of seats, which was considered the “hold on to the handle or get a bloody nose from hitting your head” section. The water by the volcano is over 100 degrees warm. The view was something I never will forget. Watching the volcano lava pour into the ocean while the sun rise was surreal. 

House Swap

Grandshe had her Omaha book club come to Des Moines for a slumber party. There were 10 friends that made the road trip. We swapped homes with Grandshe so she could accommodate all her gal pals. We had so much fun vacationing at Grandshe’s place! Josie said, “if anyone asks…tell them we are renting the place for the weekend.” So then we started calling it our VRBO or cottage rental.

It was fun to snuggle in closer corners and watch Saturday morning cartoons. We are in such a habit of watching Netflix or computer time, it was a nice change. And for us all to cozy up on one couch (or around the chair below) made this mama happy!

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Year 3…

On March 31st, it’ll be 3 years. When I turn the calendar to March my chest tightens. I keep myself busy. With three babes, it’s easy to do.

Spring Break. St Patty’s Day. Events. Visitors. Soccer. Dinners. I tend to jam this month with as much as I possibly can. If I keep moving, I don’t have time to feel the pain of you not being here.

I worry that they’ll forget you. The way you looked. The sound of your voice. Your Old Spice cologne. I close my eyes to make sure you are still with me.

They won’t get a chance to know you. I tell them  you loved poetry. Your first language was Spanish. You made the best chicken and rice soup. Big breakfasts were your thing (and now our thing). You supplied me with homemade tamales from your co-workers, when I was in college (we eat tamales all the time). You had perfect olive skin. All three were born with jet black hair, like yours.

i carry your heart, in my heart.

It’s my way of keeping you alive.

 

DAD

January 2017

The first month of the year is almost over, so I figured it was time to do a little recap:

  • This is the first year the we all wrote out our resolutions and predictions for the year ahead. We put them in a jar and plan to open January 1st, 2018.
  • We had a ping pong tournament with some friends, because we lost I am anxious for a rematch.
  • We practiced using an Epi-Pen with the kids. Since they are going in different directions and are older, we figured it was time to go over what’s in the eli-pen bag.
  • The boys got new “soccer” haircuts and look like little men.
  • We played on the frozen pond for the first time since living here.
  • We honored MLK by reading the whole “Who was Martin Luther King” book on our day off from school.
  • We are still in love with Hamilton in this house. Bill and I got to go to the show in Chicago. It was a quick weekend, but we had a BLAST. Great to spend time with friends, my brothers, and watch Hamilton….which the kids and I listen to almost nightly while prepping dinner and doing homework.
  • The kids got to be in a short clip about the Playhouse. They loved sharing their love for the theatre.
  • And probably the BIGGEST news of the month… The boys passed their pecan challenge! We went to Bubba to celebrate and had pecan pie for dessert.

Give Thanks 2016

Operation Give Thanks for the month of November was a big success. We repeated some projects and did some new ones too. New to the roster: making a care package that went to Italy for our pal Jessica, donating to Project Linus, and leaving money on vending machines at the hospital. The kids always want to thank their teachers, this year we had our friend Pam give chair massages at school. The kids escorted teachers to the chair massage room, made introductions to Pam, then gave each teacher a card when we were done. This was the first year that dad was able to go with us to ChildServe to deliver our Thanksgiving cards to the kids who live there.

We also do easy smaller things in the month….like donate collected pop tabs to Ronald McDonald or mail cards to family. These are perfect on those busy school days.

We “adopted” a fourth grade boy from a Junior League friend’s school in East Des Moines. (I had to explain to the boys we weren’t officially adopting this boy). I love doing this because it seems to hit home for the kids. They relate to someone their age and the teacher is good at giving a few details about the kid…more than just a clothing size. For instance, she shared up until recently, his family was homeless. The students get to request one book and one item of clothing. The clothing item he requested was socks. The teacher said she’s never seen him wear socks to school. Something simple that we take for granted. He asked for Magic Tree House books. Josie said she is done reading her books and the boys said they would rather this boy got them than keep the books for them.

Every year I am proud of the kids for playing such an active role in this family tradition. They lead with their hearts, help decide what we will do, and constantly are reminded it is better to give than receive.

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