Mike and I rang in the New Year just the two of us in our hotel room in Rocky Mt. NC. We spent a fabulous 3 day weekend just enjoying one another’s company and relaxing. How lucky we are that Mike’s Mom graciously cared for the boys so that we could have this time away. The weekend ended and the New Year began with Mike driving back to VA and me to SC. My Birthday was a week later and I spent it in the Emergency Room followed by 3 days in the hospital with stomach complications. Fortunately, it was nothing serious and after using my weeks vacation to recover, I was back at work. We spent much of the remaining months of winter cheering Braeden on during his first season of basketball-
He did superb and we see such talent in him as a little athlete. We shacked up with Mike’s parents in late February after the moving company came and packed up our belongings and took it all to storage in VA.
Mike’s training moved from VA to GA at the end of February and we looked forward to Friday night each week, waiting by the door for Mike to arrive home after making the 3 hour drive from GA to spend the weekend with us. We also got a pretty great little snow fall in Charleston in February. It was the first time the boys had ever seen snow and they were both thrilled. They were able to get a good taste of what they might expect during the winter months in VA.
March brought warmer weather and began a new season of baseball for Braeden. He was part of another great team and had by far his best season with hitting, fielding and exercising fantastic sportsmanship.
He did so well in fact, he was nominated to play on the All-Star team (although sadly because of the move, he was unable to play). Papa came to Charleston for a visit in April and Mike, the boys and I stayed on Daniel Island with him. We tried to enjoy some of our favorite spots in Charleston (beach, Poe’s and other restaurants, and the parks on DI), knowing it would be awhile before we had the chance to meet up with Papa in Charleston again.
We spent the rest of the month enjoying the beautiful spring weather in Charleston, spending time with friends and family, watching more baseball (we even took in a River Dogs game) and celebrating Easter
I also finished working for the law firm I was employed with, sadly having to say good-bye to a great boss and co-worker. I am so thankful for the experience I gained working at the firm and have put it to great use here VA at my new job. Before we knew it, May had arrived. We attended one of my dearest friends wedding. It was a beautiful day for Kristin and Sean.
Kristin was in Mike and I’s wedding- in fact, she introduced the two of us, so seeing her so happy was a special moment I will always cherish. Little did we know at the time that she was “glowing” for more reasons than her wedding- she was pregnant with twin boys (whom arrived in mid November perfect, healthy and BEAUTIFUL). We love you Avery and Hutson.
Mikey and I spent an amazing week in The Villages with my parents (Mike joining us one weekend) as Mike finished up his last week of training.
On May 13th, the day we had waited the previous 5 months for and the day Mike worked incredibly hard for arrived and we watched as Mike graduated from the Federal Police Training Academy in GA.
It is one of my proudest moments as a wife. Remember, he was chosen out of 55,000 applicants for the job and graduated alongside only 20 other individuals. After a quick lunch with my parents, we were on our way to VA, pulling a U-Haul and all (with the remaining items we had in Charleston that the movers didn’t take- it accumulated quickly in 3 months).
We arrived safely at Adrianne’s house (a woman Mike had met and stayed with while in VA Dec-Feb and who was kind enough to let us stay with her until we found a home to rent) with a few hours left in the day to celebrate Mike’s 30th Birthday.
A couple weeks later we celebrated Mikey’s 3rd Birthday.
Braeden spent most of the time we are at Adrianne’s visiting his family in Panama City. We did fit in a fun day at Six Flags before he left so he could ride some rides and Mikey could visit Thomas Town.
Braeden had a fabulous time flying on his own to FL and spending time with his Nana, Granddaddy, Aunts, Uncles and cousins.
Mikey and I enjoyed a very carefree schedule, most days not having anything planned. My brother and his girlfriend came to DC for a conference my brother was attending and Mikey and I spent a couple days enjoying the city with them.
Mike’s Mom and Aunt came to visit for the 4th of July long weekend and were here for Mike’s official graduation from all training.
We were all there to watch as he was sworn in as an Official Police Officer for the United States of America. This was a day that will forever be etched into my memory and my heart. I still get teary and filled with emotion when I think of what that day symbolizes- All of Mike’s dreams, education, training and dedication finally coming together for him and opening HUGE doors for us as a family. Way to Go Mike!!!! We are so proud of you. Mike transitioned into his new position extremely well and has really been enjoying himself. In mid July, finally, after being “homeless” since February, we moved into the Townhouse we had chosen to rent. We picked a fantastic neighborhood in a city we really love (far enough away from the “big city” life, but close enough to everything we need as well as to all the fun). Braeden arrived home from Panama City about a week after we’d moved in, and the kids on our street were lining up to play with him. We spent the remaining month of summer becoming acquainted with our new home and trying to stay cool (both from the outside HEAT and the inside HEAT- thanks to a broken AC).
My parents, sister and brother-in-law came in town for a few days in August and we all stayed downtown DC together.
We also took a day trip to Baltimore with them to do a little sightseeing and catch a baseball game.
September rolled around and school started. You’d never know Braeden was at a new school. He transitioned perfectly and fit right in from day 1. His first report card indicated a very successful start to the school year. We are so proud of him and his easy going nature.
Mikey began a 2-morning a week preschool that he really enjoyed.
We absolutely loved fall in VA. Fall is my favorite season, but after being in SC for so many years, I forgot how gorgeous the change of season can be.
Probably one of the highlights of the entire year was the Phillies game we attended in late September.
One of the perks of living in a big metropolitan city is having access to all the professional sporting events. Washington hosted the Phillies and we simply HAD to attend. 75% of the stadium was filled with Phillies fans and it was super exciting to watch our team celebrate winning the game AND their division. Sadly they didn’t get as lucky in the playoffs. Although they did make it to the last series, they lost against San Francisco and didn’t make it to the World Series this year. Braeden was heartbroken.
Speaking of sporting events- Braeden was able to play fall baseball this year. He played kid pitch this season (as opposed to machine pitch he’d played in the past) and he did fantastic. It was a bit more competitive and a lot of fun to watch.
Other than Halloween, the rest of fall was pretty quiet. Mike’s Mom made several weekend trips to see us and spoiled us rotten every time. It seemed as though as soon as I felt the loneliness creeping in, she would come visit and I would become refreshed again.
God answered another prayer in mid November and brought a fantastic job opportunity to me. Not only is this job wonderful experience in a field I love (domestic law) and a huge help for us financially, socially it has been exactly what I needed. Everyone at the firm is super nice and friendly, helpful and CARING! What a blessing it is to be surrounded by such fantastic people every day who take a genuine interest in my life and family. Poor Mikey wishes he could say the same thing about his new school. He is attending a new preschool all day Wed, Thurs and Friday (he’s home with Mike Mon and Tues) and is having a hard time adjusting. We plan to give things a little more time, but may need to look into other schools if things don’t turn around for him. Thanksgiving was quiet this year. Braeden went to Chicago to see his Daddy Aaron and step-mom Nancy and her family. Mike worked and Mikey and I hung out for the 4 days I was off. December was spent preparing for Christmas (see previous blog entry for Christmas details and pictures) and enjoying the first snow fall here in VA.
We got about 8-10 inches and it was a perfect amount for the boys to play in and even enough to cancel school for a day. Here we are now, December 31- Christmas is OVER and another year is about to end! Mike and I have been together 5 years now (as of yesterday) and I can honestly say that things are better right at this very moment than they have ever been for Mike and I as a couple and as a family. I hope and pray that God allows this happiness and fulfillment to continue to grow our strength as a family and that 2011 will be as good as, or even better than 2010 is ending. There are not words adequate enough to express my gratitude for all I am blessed with. If you are reading this, YOU are one of those blessings. I wish the same happiness and blessings to you in 2011 and always! XOXOXOXO
After working a half day last Wed, my Christmas holidays begin. I was until today (Monday) and have really enjoyed the time spent with the boys, Mike and his parents. Thursday, the boys and I ran some last minute errands amongst crowds of people also trying to get things taken care of. It was jam packed everywhere, but I left the house in the right mindset and with lots of patience. We sat in line at the car wash for 1 hour. Apparently no one had washed their car since the big snow fall a couple weeks ago and were all as desperate as me to get theirs cleaned. Mike’s parents arrived after midnight on Thursday and on Friday Peggy and I were crazy enough to run a few more last minute errands along with everyone else in the city. We made it to church in time for a fantastic candle light service. As I sat and listened to beautiful music and a perfect message, this last year was all put into perspective. Sure there were LOTS of stressful days and a whole lot of change, but as we approach the end of 2010, I realize Mike and I are more blessed and in a much better place in our lives than we’ve ever been. Realizing this was my Christmas present.
Braeden counted down the days till Christmas on our Write Plate (thewriteplate.com). He wrote this on Christmas Eve-
In keeping with tradition, after church and pizza, the boys each opened one present. Braeden chose the cell phone Mike’s Mom bought him (he picked it out and already knew he was getting it) and the case to go with it. Mikey opened the gifts Peggy had brought from our dear friends the Kozicks (aka Sayelor and Piper and their parents)-
My 2 HANDSOME guys all dressed for church-
The boys with Mom Mom-
Mike’s Dad wasn’t feeling well (he had an awful sore throat and cough) and Mike was still sleeping since he had to go to work that night, so neither went to church with us. The boys waited until they were back home and in their jammies to get a picture with Pop Pop and Daddy-
Mikey trying to find a gift with his name on it-
Mom Mom taking over-
Mikey opening his first present-
“Thank you for my Thomas Christmas shirt and Toy Story Christmas shirt Ms. Trisse, Mr. Steve, Sayelor and Piper. I LOVE them!”-
He even wore the Thomas shirt on Christmas day-
The Kozick’s always find the most thoughtful gifts. They are the family that Peggy works as a nanny for and they never let any holiday or Birthday go by without acknowledging all of us. They are such special people. Mike and I’s gift was this beautiful candle holder etched with a big M and “Meiner.” We had it lit while we ate our Christmas dinner. Thank you!-
The Kozicks bought Braeden a “Got Utley” hoodie. Utley of course being Braeden’s favorite Phillies baseball player. Braeden opened it on Christmas day and wore it all day and then again yesterday. I washed it last night so he can wear it again.
Braeden with his new cell phone from Mom Mom and Pop Pop-
After enough excitement for one night and hearts and minds FILLED with anticipation, the boys went to bed and were out like lights within minutes.
Before they knew it, Mike was home from work at 6:30am making hot chocolate and I was announing to them that Santa had come to our house. Mikey busted open the bedroom door to let Mom Mom know and off they went down the stairs to see what Santa had left them-
Braeden looking through his stocking-
As he does every year, Santa left Mikey and Braeden each a personalized letter. Here’s Braeden reading his and Mikey’s aloud-
Letters from Santa-
Now onto the MANY presents. Between Santa, and all our friends and family, the boys had SO many presents to open. They are so fortunate and appreciated everything-
Santa, family and friends also coordinated well and had some themes going. First it was Penn State (football, jersey, hat and watch)-
Eagles (sweatpants and hat)-
-”Got Utley” hoodie from Kozick family
-Utley shirt from Granddaddy and Kathy
-Hoodie from Uncle Nathan and Aunt Heather
-Rug from Nana and Roy
-Stay Dry shirt and calendar from Santa
-Silly bands, notebook and tatoos in his stocking
Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief along with the whole Roald Dahl set from Santa, and Moby Dick from Mom Mom.
Harry Potter movie collection-
Mikey was totally content with his hodge podge of items-
A Crayola camera, Toy Story’s Slinky, a Fisher Price Race Track (his favorite item) and Cars rug from Santa-
A Cars scooter, Cars watch and Follow Me Thomas toy from Mom Mom-
After the boys had opened all their gifts, and had truly received more than they wanted or needed, we led them down stairs for one last gift each (their big gifts)-
Braeden’s was a new electric scooter (from Mom and Dad and Daddy Aaron and Nancy)-
Mikey’s was a John Deer tractor Power Wheels (from Mommy and Daddy and Mom Mom and Pop Pop)-
Braeden fell to the floor (literally) he was so shocked and Mikey wanted to get dressed and ride his tractor immediately. Mikey’s hope was fulfilled, but Braeden couldn’t take his scooter out BECAUSE……..
I got MY Christmas wish…….it SNOWED!!!!!
It’s kinda hard to see in the picture but it IS snowing and we are expecting more over the next couple days. Good thing we got a few shovels (one for each boy and one for Mike I will be sure and supervise-
Some other very important Thank You’s-
Thank you Aunt Lisa and Uncle Lorne for Braeden’s DJ Hero for PS3 and Mikey’s Leapster Explorer (which he refers to as HIS DS, “Now I have my OWN DS Braeden!” Also for Mike’s camera case and PSP Go case.
Grandma and Papa for the very generous Target gift cards that will allow us to buy some snow boots, snow pants and sleds.
Peggy and Rodger, for our new JVC Flip video camera, all the gift cards and cash AND for making the trip and spending our first Christmas in VA with us-
Uncle Nathan and Aunt Heather (they gave Braeden the Phillies hoodie) for the generous Toys R Us gift card they sent Mikey.
Uncle Chuck, Aunt Nicole, Charlie and Allie- For the Target gifts cards you sent both boys
Nana and Roy (they gave Braeden the Phillies rug) for the Phillies sweatpant outfit you sent Mikey, the shirt you sent Mike and the gift card you sent me.
The Kolinski family for the Hex bugs you sent Braeden- OMG they are hilarious and BOTH boys love them.
Uncle Jack and his girlfriend Lisa- for the Epic Mickey Wii game for Braeden, the play dough for Mikey and the delicious cookies that Mike and I devoured.
And for all of the wonderful gifts I received from people at work, as well all the beautiful cards we received in the mail. Looking at all the cards is one of my top 5 favorite things about Christmas.
Thank you Lord for allowing me to get through cleaning up this MESS without losing my mind.
Our first Christmas in VA truly was a fantastic one and we feel so blessed for all the goodness our lives are filled with.
Mike got home from work this morning and said, “We are supposed to get 1-3 inches of snow today.” I walked outside and laughed. There was not a hint of snow, not even a flurry. As I sat at my desk and looked out of my 5th story office window about 2 hours later, I chose to eat my words. It was SNOWING and very quickly I saw more snow than I’d seen in years! It looked so pretty. The schools closed an hour early and after Mike picked up both boys, the 3 of them bundled up (poor Braeden didn’t even have snow boots yet- on my To-Do list for the weekend for sure) and headed out. The boys were so excited. They don’t even need Santa to come next week. Playing in the snow was Christmas to them. Mike said he’s never seen them so excited and so amazed. He made me proud by snapping so many pictures, since I (sadly) was stuck at work and didn’t get to experience it with them.
Mikey chasing Braeden with a snowball-
Braeden trying to block the snow ball-
“Daddy, this is SO cool”-
Braeden practicing his baseball slide. Its a lot easier in the snow-
He can’t get enough of it-
“Hmm, whatcha doing Braeden?”-
Mikey giving it a try. I don’t know why but this makes me laugh-
A little help from brother-
My precious little angel. This one is going in a frame for sure-
Thankfully our neighbor had a shovel and was kind enough to shovel our driveway for us (another item on our “to buy”-
Our office ordered lunch in today so by the time I walked out to my car at 5:30 it had about 5 inches piled on top of it. Add car scraper to that list. My sweet co-worker not only let me use her scraper, she helped me get the snow off too.
I know the boys can’t wait for more snow. Hopefully we’ll be more prepared though.
I ordered this clock from Uppercase Living. Everything they sell is sticker based, but very good quality. You would never be able to tell it is a sticker. It looks like it is painted, AND it works like a real clock. Everything they sell is very reasonably priced too. I ordered a couple of Train stickers and then bought a canavas board to put them on. The same train picture would have been about $50.00 in the store, but only cost me a little over $10.00 to make. I will take a picture of the train canvas soon.
PS. I got caught up on my postings tonight and posted 3 other new entries before this one. Scroll down to see them.