Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016- SO THANKFUL!!

Family, football, food, ocean views, and wine… These are words that describe our Thanksgiving. What a wonderful time we all had! It was truly a vacation I won’t forget.

The 3 of us headed to see my Dad and Cory at their house in the Central Coast of California. Matt and Kristin were there along with 2 of Cory’s boys, Eli and Simon. It’s been YEARS since we’ve all been together. We flew out on Wednesday and got to their house after lunch. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, we love going to their house. It’s so calm, and breezy, with very little things that we have to do. We love being able to walk around the yard, hang with the cats and chickens (who are friendly to each other!) and just be. There is never any agenda, or solid plans. It’s always about doing what we want to do, when we want to. Hence, we spent a lot of time eating, watching football, playing video games and wine tasting. Sounds perfect, right?
Jason, AJ and I stayed at the Spyglass Inn in Pismo Beach which was about 10 minutes from my Dad’s. We had the perfect amount of “us” time hanging at our place, walking on the boardwalk, and playing at the beach a short walk away. But we also spent a lot of time at my Dad’s too. Matt and Kristin and I also stayed at the Spyglass Inn so we had some time with just them as well. We were even lucky enough to have AJ stay with my Dad and Cory one night so we could go out on the town. (THINK OYSTERS!!!)

The view from our ROOM!

Doesn't get much better than this!

The first morning, checking out the ocean

Morning hair :)

Just outside our hotel.

On Friday, my Dad rented a minivan so we could all fit and go wine tasting in San Luis Obispo. It was AMAZING! We didn’t have any plans, or know really where to go, but we found a map and made the most of it. We started out at Talley Vineyards and had the BEST time learning about and drinking wine with our new friend Terry. He was so knowledgably and told the best stories! We also went to Kenzi and Baileyana vineyards too. What an awesome day!

The winetasting crew! (AJ and Pop were our drivers)

Eli and AJ had the best time together playing and talking video games

Love this guy!

Matt, Kristin, Jason and I after nearly 3 dozen oysters.. OH MY GOODNESS!

Our last day.. We had so much fun!

2 of my MOST favorite people!

We would really love to make this a yearly tradition if possible. I wouldn't change a thing about this trip. We had beautiful weather, some rain (which never happens in CA so it was neat), played blocks, watched football and just had quality family time. Couldn't ask for more!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Disneyland Vacation 2016

For Fall Break, we decided to take a family trip to Disneyland! While we've been there a number of times, this time we stayed at the Grand Californian Hotel, which was AMAZING. I haven't ever stayed on the property before and this was fantastic! We could get into the park early, come back and rest, and go back to the park for more fun. We were able to go to both California Adventure and Disneyland.

Cars Land!

Lunch at Rain Forest Cafe

Ready for the Materhorn!

Crazy Driver! Autopia

Riding the swings with Dad- Mom cannot handle swings!

We were also really lucky that we got to go to Mickey's Halloween Party. They shut down the park and only people with a special ticket can come in. We went trick or treating and went on rides and watched the amazing Halloween Parade!

Kylo Ren

Trick or Treating with Dad

Rae, Kylo and Iron Man (Jason isn't big on dressing up)

This is only SOME of the candy he got

Grandma came to visit us for a few hours in Downtown Disney. She and AJ made this awesome remote control car- Thanks Grandma!

Lego Hulk

We had the BEST time and really didn't want to leave.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Swim Team! ( So PROUD!)

Yesterday was a big day for AJ! He made The Rock Swim Team, which is a competitive swim team in our town. Here's the story:

As I've said in past posts, AJ didn't know how to swim across the pool at the beginning of summer. But he joined Cruisers and did fantastic! Cruisers isn't a competitive team; you really just compete against yourself. It's very relaxed, but fun.

Once Cruisers ended, Jason and I wanted AJ to continue to swim and improve his skills. So, we looked into The Rock swim team, which is at the Rec Center. This team requires try outs and is year round. Kids practice 4 days a week and there are also swim meets some weekends. At first, I really wasn't sure about that kind of commitment, but I wanted AJ to at least try out.

On our way to try outs, AJ was nervous and told us he hoped he didn't make it. Jason and I told him to just do his best. If he doesn't make it, no big deal. If he does, we'll talk about it.

We had to do the make up try outs, so we didn't really get to see the other kids and compare them to AJ. But he did a great job; swam all 4 strokes, listened to the instructor and really did his best. I found out that night that they had 30 open spots, but 55 people trying out. Honestly, I wasn't sure if he'd make it. While we were watching him, Jason and I both agreed- we wanted him to make it! With Jason traveling and me working and AJ having homework, going across town 4 nights a week for swim practice would be A LOT of work. But Jason agreed that we would do what we can to make it work.

When AJ got out of the water, he said "That was SO FUN!" I was thrilled to hear that! I wasn't sure if he'd still not want to be on the team; in fact I expected him to say it was fun, but he doesn't want to do it. (That's what's been happening lately.)

Yesterday at work, I kept checking my email waiting for the coach's email saying either he made it or didn't... And HE MADE IT! I can't even tell you how proud Jason and I are. This is so exciting!

I told AJ at tryouts that I'd get him a medium icee for trying out, and an extra large icee if he made the team. So, I picked him up from school yesterday; didn't mention anything about swimming and started to drive to the gas station where they have icee's. He was confused- asking me where we're going. Then realized it was Maverick. He said he knew he was getting a medium. I didn't really say anything... And then it hit him.. and his eyes got big and he got super excited and said "Did I make it? Can I get an extra large??" He was BEYOND happy! So proud of himself! I explained to him that it's a 4 day a week commitment and was he ok with that. He said he was so happy to be on the team and really wanted to do it. I was THRILLED.

And to top it off, he REALLY enjoyed the icee!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Nanny for the Summer.. The BEST Decision

We have some friends, Chris and Ashley Sommers who have 2 kids that are good friends with AJ. We've known them since preschool and over the years have hung out more and more. They are such a nice family and their kids are REALLY good. A few years back, I saw Caleigh and Cooper at the park and asked where their parents were- thinking I'd say hi. Right then, this young girl walked up and introduced herself to me as their babysitter, Analisse. At this point, we really didn't have a solid babysitter that we used and I immediately jumped on it and asked Analisse for her phone number. She was just so polite (called us Mr. and Mrs. Lewicki until I finally had to tell her to stop!) and kind and I immediately trusted her. (Yes, I know I shouldn't steal people's babysitters, but I did tell her the Sommers had priority over us!)

We have been using Analisse for a few years now and she has been wonderful. She's responsible, kind, makes AJ obey, and is honest when I ask how he was. I'm so glad she doesn't tell me he was perfect, when he wasn't. We have also used her at times with the Sommers and she'll watch all the kids together.

Late winter of this year, I asked Ashley what she would think of us asking Analisse to nanny for us- and at times she would have all the kids. She was totally into it and so was Analisse so I told her not to get a real job during the days- that we'd hire her for the summer. We worked out the details and the kids spent a few days all together and some just on their own with her. It has been FANTASTIC! In fact, Analisse has taken all the kids to swim practice all summer and they've done other fun things like pools days, movies, county fair, hiking and so much more. They've had so much fun that at times Ashley and I have had to ask that they have "down days" because they are so tired!

Well, now the summer is coming to an end and we're SO SAD to see Analisse go back to college. She has been just the best for us and I think the Sommers family would agree. I only hope she comes back next year and can do this again for us!

Today on Facebook, Analisse posted this and it just melts my heart and makes me smile.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Cruisers Swim Team

I cannot tell you how impressed I am with how much AJ has learned on swim team this year. I'm just blown away...

Let me start from the beginning. Last year, a bunch of my friends were signing their kids up for swim team. It's call Cruisers. All that the kids needed to do was swim across the pool once (even with assistance!) and they could sign up. Well, at this time, AJ couldn't swim across the pool unassisted and was lacking confidence. It just didn't click for him even after years of swim lessons. He was afraid he would drown and therefore fought me on joining the team. I KNEW if he joined, he would get better and like it, but he put his foot down. He was NOT joining the team. (Even bribery didn't work!)

So, last summer I heard my friends talking about how fun Cruisers is and how much their kids were learning. I hated that AJ wasn't doing it and decided he was doing it this summer.. no matter what!

Practices started at the end of May and he was nervous, as I expected. He was afraid the aid in the pool wouldn't see him and he'd drown. Of course I told him this wasn't going to happen, but he was still scared. The first few practices, he cried at the beginning. It was nerves. I understood that. But the more he went, the more confident he became. And it helped that he had some friends who were doing it with him. He also loved the aids and thought they were so cool! (Teenagers)

There are so many great things about Cruisers, but one of the best things is that the kids can practice as many times as they want each week! They have morning and afternoon practices so they could go 2x a day if they wanted! We started out a little slowly and eventually he started going about 4x a week. They also have a few swim meets on Saturdays and the kids race themselves. The goal is to beat their previous time and if they do, they get a ribbon. It's pretty neat!

AJ's first meet was a little sketchy. We went to a "practice" meet so we could all see how it would flow. I tried to explain to him what it would be like, but he still had no idea. It was loud, tons of people, lots of commotion and overwhelming. He didn't want to swim and what stunk is that the heat he was swimming in was near the end so he had to sit and think about it for a while. He told me a few times he didn't want to do it, but I wasn't going to let him skip it. When he finally jumped off the blocks and into his lane to swim the 25M Freestyle, he was nervous and had to take breaks down the lane, but he did it. And that was all he needed. His confidence since then has SOARED! He went from needing to take breaks and needing someone in the pool with him at all times, to swimming the 50M freestyle (alone, with no breaks!), learning to do flip turns and diving off the block! I just cannot believe it! He also is going down every slide at the pools he goes to - something he could have done last year, but was too afraid. I'm blow away!

Here are his times from his first swim meet and his last:

25M Freestyle   6/11 44:47 seconds       7/11 31:34 seconds         11 second difference!

25M Backstroke  6/11 1:12                    7/11 47:95 seconds         24 second difference!

25M Breaststroke   6/11 DQ                   7/9 Also DQ'd but I don't know why. However, he's gotten MUCH faster.

50M Freestyle    6/25 1:32                      7/9  1:21                          13 second difference!

He was the heat winner! And Grandma was there to witness!

So proud of this guy

When they aren't swimming.. this is what it looks like

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Finally.. An Update. Catching up from December 2015

Wow- has it really been 6 months since my last post? I really suck at blogging lately. I’ve thought about it, but again, if I wait too long I get overwhelmed!

Anyway- here’s what’s been happening.  For Christmas, Santa brought AJ a new dog! He is a Boston Terrier and he used to be an elf at the North Pole. He was 4 ½ years old when he came; he had finished his elf duties and needed a new home. Santa thought our home was perfect! Burt has been a WONDERFUL addition to our family. He and AJ have this amazing bond. They sleep together, cuddle together all the time and just are best friends. Burt has been to Camp Bow Wow (Doggie daycare) a number of times and has done great there too! We really love our Burt-Burt! 

Sweet Burt is such a snuggler!

In January, Grandma had both knees replaced so I went out to California for a week to help her. I was happy to help her but also dreading being gone for an entire week. It wasn’t so bad- thank you FaceTime and she did AMAZINGLY well. It was good to be out there and I was able to see Matt, Kristin, Dad and Cory too!

We continued our tradition of skiing a lot. Our pass this year allowed us to go to Breckenridge, Keystone and A-Basin. We went to Breck the most and really loved the mountain, but it’s just not an easy mountain to get to.  There’s a lot of walking involved and it seemed like each time we’d go, we would leave the house and 6 and not be on the actual runs until almost 10! Too much.. So, this year we’ve decided to go back to Copper Mountain. We love it there. And we will also be able to go to Winter Park and Eldora. We haven’t skiing Eldora before, but it’s A LOT closer to us and there’s very little traffic. It’s also a smaller mountain, but we’ll give it a try. Also, this was AJ’s first year using poles! He rocked it! He’s such a great skier. He was out looking for jumps every time we skied this year. 

Uncle Matt and AJ at Breck

AJ, Dax and Skylar

LOVING the crepes we got for breakfast. So worth the hour long wait!

In March, Jason went with a bunch of guys to Spring Training in Arizona. He had a lot of fun, watching baseball and hanging with his buddies. He never goes on guy trips, so I was happy he was able to. Lord only knows what else they did there… haha!

AJ did some fun after school activities this spring. He signed up for Spotlight Theatre at school and rehearsed for 12 weeks for the play Annie, Jr. He played the Ward and President Roosevelt along with an orphan. I was really surprised he was happy to do it and also a little worried about how he would be on stage. In the end, he was great! He said he was so nervous his hands were sweating and his stomach hurt, but he still pushed through! 
AJ at the end of the play

The cast of Annie Jr.
AJ's class put together a "living wax museum". He decided to be Nicola Tesla. He got to read his biography (below) to all the students and parents.

AJ also did a fun thing at the library called Reading Buddies. He did it for 2 sessions and really enjoyed it. Each week, he would meet with a teenager (Hannah) and they would read to each other and play games. She was great with him and always gave him candy and treats. I think it helped him enjoy reading a little more which is a good thing. 

Football was also happening. AJ joined the Dolphins team through our local rec center with his buddy Dax. The great thing about this was it was only once a week on Sundays! They would practice for an hour, and then have a game after. Somehow Jason got recruited to be a coach, which I think he really enjoyed.  Jason and AJ practiced football all the time in the backyard and we found out AJ really has an arm on him! The boy can throw!

The Dophins

Also in March (I think), Jason got a new job with Microsoft. After a few jobs that just weren’t the right fit, Microsoft has been wonderful. It’s a lot of work and a lot of stress, but he has a fantastic boss and is really doing well in sales. I’m VERY happy that he’s happy. 

Speaking of jobs, I spent 5 weeks in Oklahoma, thanks to Verizon. Our Union workers went on strike and the company sent 1000’s of non-union workers to do their jobs for an undetermined amount of time. I was given 2 days’ notice that I was going to Oklahoma and was told they didn’t know when I’d come back. This made going to California for a week seem pretty easy. I was devastated. It was incredibly hard to leave. We all said, if we just knew when we’d be back, it wouldn’t be so hard. But of course, we didn’t know when the Union and Verizon would come to an agreement. 
Shout out to Colorado from Oklahoma!

I spent Mothers Day in OK, so Jason and AJ sent me some gifts and a very sweet card.
I was out there for 3 weeks in a row, before I came home for my 40th birthday weekend. It seemed like an eternity to be without AJ and Jason. I was working 12 hour days, 6 days week and living in a hotel. It was VERY tough.  It was incredibly hard to miss AJ’s Annie Jr. Play and his football games, but I was so thankful that my mom flew out for a quick trip to see his play. That made me feel so much better. 

When I came home that weekend, Jason had planned a birthday party for me with a ton of friends and had flown Matt & Kristin out as a surprise. It was really such a nice weekend and so good to be home! But, I had to go back that Monday. While I was there, there were so many rumors about how long the strike would last. First we heard, end of June.. then possibly OCTOBER! Thank God, they came to an agreement just before Memorial Day. I had been home that weekend because of a pre-planned camping trip (after 10 days in OK) and didn’t have to go back. I was THRILLED to be released. 

Some friends in OK, decorated my desk for my bday.. so nice.. and MESSY!
The trip wasn’t all bad though. I made a lot of friends and new work connections. I made a ton of money working all that overtime. And I found myself becoming more confident in myself with regards to work. I was mad at Verizon for making me do this and that anger made me realize it was time to find something else to do for work. So, now I’m working on that.. 

In May, AJ ended 2nd grade (HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE!) and I was lucky enough to be there for his last day of school. He had a great year and got excellent grades! The only thing he didn’t do that well with was listening which wasn’t too big of a surprise. He also started a swim team called Cruisers. I begged him to do this last year, but he put his foot down. He was too scared. This year, I didn’t give him a choice, and he has LOVED IT! He has been swimming 4-5 times week with his buddies. This has been AJ’s summer to really learn new things and take chances. His bravery has completely shocked me! Within a week of swim team, he was swimming across the pool without stopping. Two weeks in, he was diving off the block and now he’s doing flip turns and practicing the butterfly stroke! I am incredibly impressed. 


In early June, Dad and Cory came to visit for a long weekend. We had THE BEST time! They are so easy going and we just do what we want to do. No over planning. We spent a bunch of time working in the yard- like we always do. They were so generous and bought us all these flowers and baskets and Cory planted it all. My dad took out these ugly, dead bushes from our backyard which was so great! They’ve been dead in our yard for too many years. We also went to this super fun wool festival in Estes Park. I had no idea it would be as fun as it was. We watched people spin yarn and walked around all these cute little booths. Then we also saw tons of livestock. Fun day! We also celebrated AJ's and my Dad's birthdays while they were here (a little early). 
8 and 73! Looking good!

Dad and Cory also got to go to one of AJ’s swim meets! Oh my gosh, these are so fun! They remind me so much of when I was a kid and we’d go to soccer weekends with friends. He gets to play and run around and has a ton of freedom, and then he swims a few heats. He has improved so much each week; he continues to beat his time and he even won his heat last week! It’s been amazing for his confidence. 

Just this past weekend we celebrated AJ turning EIGHT! Really? I have an 8 year old?! How did this happen?? We went to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo with about 7 of his buddies and had a blast. They put on a great party with pizza, cake and ice cream and they all got to hold an armadillo and get a little lesson on the red river hog. We decided it was the perfect amount of kids and almost no work for me. In the past I always try to go above and beyond; this year, I didn’t have the energy. So, it all worked out great. We got AJ and new bike with gears and our hope is we can do some fun family bike rides this summer. 
He is 8!!

Speaking of summer, AJ has had the summer of a lifetime this year! We hired his babysitter to be his nanny 3 days a week and some of those days, he is being watched with his good friends Caleigh and Cooper. They all swim together for Cruisers and then they spend the day either at the Rec Center or at the Grange pool swimming. He’s exhausted every night but having a blast!