Saturday, July 28, 2007

Old Friends, New Friends

"The better part of one's life consists of his friendships."
- Abraham Lincoln

In the past week, I've had the joy of being with two of my "old" friends, and also meeting a new friend. I'm the type of person that HAS to have friends. I've found that to be more true the longer I live! Anyway, pictured above is me and my new friend, Christine! I actually made her acquaintance through my old friend, Lanee'. One Sunday, a few months back, Lanee' called and said "I've met a girl on our road that has PPCM." As she told me about Christine, I realized I had found someone that I could talk to. She is close to my age, a Mom to three, and was diagnosed right after the birth of her youngest. We emailed for some time, and then got to meet each other for the first time at Brianna's birthday party. What a joy! We found out after talking that Caleb and Abagail were both 15 mo. old. Here's the interesting twist...they both were born on April 20th.

Her oldest girl Megan and Lauren became fast friends! They are not quite a year apart in age. Megan shares my Mom's birthday!

"A friend is one who walks in when others walk out"

And here I am with my dear friend Lanee". We became friends while I was expecting with Lauren. I'm still not sure if I'm happy or sad that she broke the "Nancy-Lanee" spell. And what exactly is that? Well, this is how ours lives have coincided. Chris and I were married in June "97. She and Aaron in July '98. I had Lauren in July 2000. Brianna was born in July 2001. Michael came along in June '02 and Logan was born in Aug. '03. I lost my m-i-l to cancer just 3 years ago. She lost her m-i-l to cancer just 2 years ago. I had Caleb in April 2006 and a few months later I learned she was expecting again. I was pretty certain she would have a boy....but alas...she had to go and break the spell! Danielle was born on July 2nd this summer. It's been lots of fun sharing these memories together.

"Life is partly what we make it, and partly what is made by the friends whom we choose."
- Tehyi Hsieh

"Good friends come and good friends go, but only the best friends stick around forever."

This is my friend Rebecca who I was able to spend the day with after not seeing each other for almost 3 years! We manage to stay in touch mostly by phone. and it seems every time we see each other, we just pick up where we left off. We have been friends since I was around 13 or 14. We were in each others' weddings, and have shared many memories, happy and sad, over the years. In talking together this last time, we realized that since neither of us had a sister, maybe we fulfill that role for each other. I can't say for sure because I've never had a sister, but if I could choose one, it probably would be Rebecca!!

Rebecca and her little doll, Kaitlyn! She is 7 mo. old. The jumper she's wearing used to belong to Lauren. I almost have a hard time believing MY little girl used to wear that! It's such a joy though, to see her with her little girl. After 3 boys, she finally has a girl.

."Piglet sidled up behind Pooh. "Pooh," he whispered. "Yes, Piglet?" "Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you."
- Winnie-the-Pooh

Although there are other close friends that deserve mention, just know I treasure you all very much! It's also been a blessing to have great sister-in-laws who just happen to be my friends too!. Just want you to know, even if we weren't related, I'd still choose you for my friends!
Hope you all have a WONDERFUL day!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Happy 7th Birthday, Lauren

Happy Birthday to our sweet girl, Lauren! You have brought so much laughter and sunshine to our lives! You are a great big sister to your two brothers! We love you very much!
Love, Mommy and Daddy

18 mo. old

with Daddy about 6 weeks old

just a few hours old

5 mo. favorite

7 mo. old

8 mo. old

2 years old

4 years old

5 years old

Where has the time gone??? I find birthdays so bittersweet. Time is flying by so quickly and the children are growing so fast. Lauren has been such a joy to raise. I can hardly remember her when she couldn't talk...of course I don't know where she gets that! lol. She could say at least 50 words plainly when she turned one and was talking in complete sentences by 18 mo...all very easy to understand. She hasn't ever stopped talking!!! On a typical day, she rattles on so fast and long about the American Girl books she reads, Michael and I wish she would just give talking a rest! really, it's not that bad all the time. Her loves right now are American Girls....all books and DVDs....and anything to do with history. She's been a joy to teach because she learns so quickly. She loves playing with Michael and Caleb, and enjoys making friends.
I have always felt so blessed to have a girl. Although I love raising two boys, there's a special bond between Mommy's and their little girls. It's always been SO FUN to pick her clothes and comb her hair!! When I was expecting her, she decided not to cooperate during her ultrasound, so we got to enjoy the surprise of not knowing what we were having when we went to the hospital. When people asked, I gave the usual "I don't care of it's a boy or girl as long as it's healthy" answer. Although I meant that, deep down I secretly wished for a girl. Needless to say, I was thrilled to hear "It's a girl"!! And Chris, who had been wanting a boy, quickly changed his mind. So much so, I had a hard time believing he ever really wanted a boy! I truly have been blessed beyond measure, and I realize yet again, how good God is!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Vacation Part III Mayan Ruins, Tulum Mexico

The last day in Mexico we visited the Mayan Ruins in Tulum. The Tulum ruins are the third most visited archaelogical site in Mexico behind the city of Teotihuacan (in Mexico City) and the ruins of Chichen Itza (recently voted one of the new 7 wonders of the world). Rather than describe all the photos from memory, I just decided to cheat...just cut and paste from a travel website. The ruins were a striking contrast to the beautiful Caribbean that lies below.

Tulum was once called Zama, meaning ¨place of the dawning sun¨. How it got this name is obvious as this ancient Mayan city is situated on a cliff which faces east toward the beautiful turquoise waters of the life-giving Caribbean. This is surely one of the most scenically beautiful of all the Mayan archaeological sites.

Tulum was a city of main importance between 1,000-1,600. This was a place for the elite of the Maya world. At first glimpse one might mistake Tulum for an ancient country club, with its beautiful grounds and sweeping views of the sea. If one explores deeper, however, this illusion is disturbed by the presence of a large twenty foot wall that surrounds the site which bespeaks of the need for defense against invaders from both land and the sea.

Tulum is one of the first cities that the Spanish Conquistadors encountered in Mexico. It was the only Mayan city still thriving that they found. Intimidated by its size and grandeur they didn´t stay to visit. A wise decision as the residents of Tulum are known for a tradition of rebellion that lasted for several centuries, never falling to Spanish rule. They eventually abandoned the city but not until almost a century after the Spanish conquest. During the War of the Castes in the 19th century, it became a major center of resistance to Mexican rule. Tulum didn´t sign a treaty with the Mexican government until 1935.

The Mayan ruins at Tulum have a number of interesting structures from the ancient Mayan world. Graceful columns and elegant carvings give one an appreciation for the architectural achievements of the Maya. Some of its main archaeological features are the Temple of the Frescoes, the Castillo pyramid and the Temple of the Diving God. Unique corner masks grace the outside of the Temple of the Frescoes. Inside are fantastic 13th century murals depicting ancient ceremonies. One of the few surviving images of the Mayan goddess of fertility and medicine can be found here. Red paint still clings to the stucco on the outside of the temple. It is believed that at one time all the buildings in Tulum were painted red.

The Castillo is known more for its scenic location than its size. Although its front facade has all the features of other Mayan temples, its back side seems more like a fortress. Small windows face out toward the sea, providing an excellent lookout post from which to watch for sea faring invaders. Visitors feel compelled to photograph this impressive structure standing regally against a backdrop of the beautiful Caribbean.

Iguanas "sunning" were plentiful....I think I snapped about as many pictures of them as I
did of the ruins....I knew Michael would LOVE to see them.

This iguana was devouring some kind of pods that had fallen from a tree overhead....yuck!

A view of the Caribean below, taken from the ruins above.
Many people visit the ruins and enjoy the white sandy beaches as well.

Friday, July 13, 2007

4th of July and Zoo days!

Here are a collection of pictures from our latest activities and outings. On the 4th, Chris decided to tackle the Little Miami Scenic Bike Trail. So, we all loaded into the van and took him to the start of the trail in Xenia, OH. The plan was for him to bike the trail, call us when he got to Newtown and we would pick him up and have a nice 4th picnic. Well, because of some "technical difficulties" with his bike, he only got about 14 miles down the trail. Basically, the kids and I were home only about 20 minutes and then we had to go up to Waynesville to retrieve him and the bike. I had not been home long enough to fix any sort of a picnic, so since he was waiting at the Domino's Pizza in Waynesville, I did what any thinking lady would have done....ordered pizza! We took it accross the road to a lovely park, and the kids had a lot of fun.

Yesterday, we visited the zoo with friends Jen and Katrin Eckert. Caleb and Katrin are only 3 days apart. The Cincinnati Zoo had a special sand sculpting exhibit last week, and left the giant sandbox behind. It is full of sand toys and with the lovely cool weather we had yesterday, it made for one LOVELY day at the zoo.
To end up the day yesterday, the ice cream truck drove by about 10PM. You never know when he might be driving by! We've about decided that ice cream truck is his only mode of transportation, so it drives by at all hours of the day and night! Only in Mt.! Caleb is VERY aware now when the older kids get a last night, he got his first Popsicle and ate every bite!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

What would you have said???

A few days ago, I was on the phone being questioned for an up-coming research project. I frequently get these calls and enjoy participating in the focus groups if I qualify.
The last question I was asked was, "If you could spend an entire day with any public figure, who would it be and why?" I had never been asked this question before,and so for once, I was at a loss for words. I thought for a few moments, my mind just spinning with possibilities and after about 10 seconds responded with "I guess Dr. James Dobson. The lady responded with "Who??" I explained who he was and the reason why was "because I would just question him from dawn till dark about parenting, children, marriage and such because my husband and kids are pretty much my favorite things and I want to be the best mom/wife I can be". She said, "Well....that's original. Usually we get the president, (I of course had thought of him, but what would we talk about for an entire day???) or various other political figures. " I got the research project. I doubt it was all based on that question, however.
Want to know my runner-up?? Laura Bush. I also thought Oprah would be a very entertaining person to be with as well.
As soon as I hung up, I knew I had a great question for the blog... :) I'm so curious as to what other people would say...especially other Moms. So there you have I will sit back and enjoy your answers! Have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Congratulations Leanna!

Congratulations Leanna on passing your state boards. We are all so proud of you.


Chris & Nancy
Lauren, Michael, & Caleb

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Saturday Evening Field Trip

Three ready to eat!

Saturday evening, we visited Jungle Jims in Fairfield. In addition
to the grocery store, they also have a shopping plaza, which is where
we found one of our favorite restaurants....favorite to the kids, that is.
Cici's! The kids love the cheesy bread there!

Caleb....14 months old and growing!

The unique restrooms in Jungle Jims. Once inside the
doors though, it's just a typical grocery store restroom.

Hungry???? Jungle Jims seems to be the one place you
could find practically ANYTHING you might be craving.

What about chicken feet...been a long time since you had those??

....or maybe it's duck heads you're wanting....

If you're having company, maybe you could treat them
to the expensive rattlesnake $76 per snake!
In addition, we saw beef hooves, pork snouts, ground antelope,
kangaroo medallions, and ground reindeer.

Very fresh talapia was on sale!

and they offer many kinds of other "stinky, smelly" (in my opinion)
seafood. Seriously, it smelled horrible.

Choosy about hot sauce?? this is one aisle...just A - D brands!

Store fronts representing the many kinds of national
foods they offer. They have several aisles of groceries
for each country. So, hey, if you're in this area, it's fun and free to
check out. The kids really enjoy all the sights. One thing that is
a must for me, everytime we go, I buy Amish Pumpkin good
with lots of creams cheese filling...yummmmm...theirs
is the best I've tasted.