Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Grandma Gets Re-Married!

We never would have guessed at the beginning of the year that we would be attending a wedding for Grandma Betty. I don't recall when she decided to start dating again after the passing of her husband, John, but I know that she put all her faith in God to lead her to the right person. The Lord did just that and we are all so happy to see her happy and excited about life again!

Our family met her new 'mate in July when the 7 of us took a hike up Morrell Falls. This was where she expressed to me how much in love with him she was, and that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him! John later confessed something similar to Perry while they were out grilling. A few short days later, we received a call announcing that he did in fact propose and they were planning on an October wedding, a little over 2 months away. We had spent one more weekend with John and Grandma in Washington when he was introduced to Em and Colin before their wedding.

They planned the wedding for October 15th at Rich Ranch near Seeley Lake, MT. It was a beautiful ranch! Though the weather hadn't been favorable all week, the rain held off on Saturday and was a nice warm-ish fall day. 
In the morning after every had breakfast, most of the wedding guests loaded into the wagon for a horse ride around the ranch. I hung back at the lodge so I could work on assembling and decorating the wedding. While I would have had time to get it done after the wedding, or even after the wagon ride, I preferred to work on it when there was a lot less to distract me. Like kids... 
 Everyone that went enjoyed the little excursion - HD especially because he had to ride up front to make room for everyone in the back! He loved it!
 While we originally weren't expecting Cameron, Erin, and Stevie to be able to come to the wedding, because Erin just had sweet little Addyson only several weeks prior, we're so happy they made it after all! I was so anxious to meet the newest member to the Dustin family!
The wedding was short and sweet and turned out just perfect. She looked so pretty in her grey dress. At the end of the ceremony, John surprised her by singing her a song he had written for her. So sweet!
There was lots of dancing going on throughout the afternoon that was entertaining to watch. Little Stevie sure has some killer dance moves! Perry joined in and showed off his stellar moves, in hopes that Stevie would copy him. That was fun to watch! Perry has some serious moves! I danced only a little - I had to lead the group in the "Chicken Dance" only because it was too painful to watch them do it wrong! 
After dinner I brought out the cake for everyone to enjoy. I love how it turned out! She wanted a simple cake with three red roses. I messy frosted the outside to make it fit into the rustic decor and the wooden slab fit in perfectly! She loved it!
There were a couple toasts to the bride and groom and then they cut the cake and each had a turn smearing it in each others faces. 

Perry and I made a quick trip into town to stop by one of my former co-workers' wedding, but I didn't realize the reception was somewhere else, so we missed out and headed back to the ranch earlier than planned. We brought Ms. Gail with and she fell asleep in the car on the way back - worked out perfectly! 
Dancing was winding down when we came back to the lodge from putting Ms. Gail  to bed. HD managed to sneak a dance with Grandma before the night was over and JP caught a few pictures of Perry and I dancing together too. Pictures of us together (other than selfies!) are far and few between! Thanks JP!

I'm going to wrap up this post with a few little out takes of Ms. Gail and I. That girl... All mom wants is ONE good picture!

And in her best pose, she blinks. *face palm*
We did manage to find one decent one out of the bunch Perry snapped :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

2016 Fall Soccer

The soccer season started a game late for the boys. I had planned on the games starting after the Labor Day weekend, like last year, but they bumped it up a week to try to get more favorable weather. They had pretty nice weather for most of their games. The first one we were at had pretty wet grass. My feet were FREEZING!
 I'm so glad the boys are finally on the same team! It makes going to practices and coordinating the game schedule much easier! 
JP started the season out pretty well. He did volunteer to sit out first every game though. HD played goalie a lot too. He said he wouldn't play unless he was goalie. I was impressed with how focused he stayed. I didn't get many pictures of their first game. For the second half of the game, I Face Timed my mom, who was just across the parking lot at Community, recovering from her double mastectomy, so she could still watch the game. Aunt Bobby and Aunt Kim attended the game via phone too. 
When the game was over, I brought the kids by the hospital to see Nanny before they went to the cabin. Aunt Kim walked them out. They adore her!
Perry loves soccer so watching him with the boys melts my heart! HD is very coachable right now, and improved significantly over the course of the season playing goalie.
JP is still working on his skills. He gets more excited about going to practice than to the actual game. 
I was happy to catch this gem on film! HD was watching the ref to let him know when to kick it, when the little boy playing behind him dropped his pants and started to pee. His dad, in the black, was oblivious. I tracked down which mom the boy belonged to and sent her this picture too! 
Every game, the boys had a nice little cheering section! Charli enjoy her snuggles with Aunt Bobby.
 Some times they were hard to cheer for...JP was frequently caught like this. and HD had a few off moments as goalie...
 But even though the team went the whole season without scoring a single goal, there were a few exciting moments. Pretty much anytime my boys kicked the ball.
 They were super excited to get their "medals" for playing, which is simply a team picture.
Before they headed out to the "Go Pink for Breast Cancer" football game on their anniversary, Nanny and Papa, along with Aunt Bobby, Aunt Kim, and King Julian, stopped by the field to watch the boys' last game. They're so bless to have such a big support system!

Monday, October 24, 2016

The August That Changed Everything

August was a really rough month for me. I was really hesitant to write about it, but I think that part of it really helped me to adjust to the all change that would be coming my way.

In July I volunteered at work to help cover the maternity leave of one of the girls at the front desk that would start toward the end of August. The days I volunteered to cover were Wednesdays and Thursdays, which were typically days I didn't watch the twins, but two of the three days I watched my neighbor's daughter. Leading up to the time I actually started going back to work, I was very open with both of them. I ended up working a little more than planned at the beginning of August as we struggled to find someone to cover for our weekend night auditor for a few weeks while she was recovering from a cold.

Just as August got into full swing, every sort of "normal" went out the window. On Tuesday the 9th, I received news that the night auditor we had been filling in for passed away. I was heartbroken. A little shocked, but she had health problems already so we knew it was just matter of time. But I did my fair share of mourning. I really enjoyed our chats when she'd get on shift and I'd be leaving. (This was also the same time that my month-long cold began.) I filled in for those shifts again working 11p-7a a few more times, which is draining when you're sick.

The following week, one of my dear friends' dad passed away in a tragic accident. I took this news a lot harder than I expected. I was a wreck for the entire week leading up to his funeral. I golfed in league that week with Kim just to try to get my mind off things, but even the golfers we were playing against could tell something was up. Pastor Tim was like a dad to me when I was young. While he didn't tell us the story every time there was a sleepover, I heard the story of "The Big Blue Ape" so many times. The sound effects were gold! Even though the Ape is Blue in the story, I always imagined it as Purple. He was also one of the Pastors that married Perry and I. I was sad for myself, but I was so sad for Kelsey and her kids, and her mom, and her brothers. I can't even. (This was also the same week Perry began interviewing for a job on the West Coast so I had that looming over my head too. And I'm still sick.)

Both services were held the same day, and though I would have liked to go to both, I couldn't not go to Pastor Tim's service. I needed it for myself but I also wanted to see Kelsey and just give her a hug. I rode with my mom to Spokane Thursday night and then Kile drove us all to the funeral on Friday. It was a long, emotional afternoon. After the service my dad started frantically calling Kile and I to get a hold of my mom. Then there was an unsettling feeling as my mom started calling "the office" and they wouldn't give her the "results" until she spoke with the doctor. Knowing that she just had a mammogram earlier in the week, we could only just begin to put pieces together.

When we arrived back at Kile's, I went to lay down for a nap, only to have my mom call us to the living room where she began to explain the happening of the past few days. Only hours after the funeral service, I got confirmation that yes, my mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer. My boss kept hoping for me that things wouldn't come in threes for me, but it did. And it didn't stop coming. I was overcome with stress and anxiety about potentially moving, and so my cold only continued...

My mom and I arrived home Saturday afternoon and then Perry flew out to do his second interview and would be gone Sunday- Wednesday. Even though I probably should have just stayed home, I volunteered to cover another audit shift Monday night and had Aunt Bobby sleep at the house while I was at work. As soon as I got home from work, I laid down on the couch to grab a hour and a half of sleep before the neighbor baby arrived. My kids love sitting on top of me, and I'm still sick, so when she arrived, I was exhausted, sick, and couldn't sit up because of my kids. After I reassured my neighbor that her daughter could stay (I had the twins coming later anyways) she scooped up her kid and stormed out, insisting she'll just take her to work today.

At the end of the week, the kids and I walked down to her house because Charlotte had been begging all week to go down and play with her friend. I saw they were out in the yard, so we wandered down. All the kids played outside for a while, as I waited for her to come out of her house so I could remind her about the following week. When she finally did come out, she avoided me, and not knowing she was mad at me, I was really confused. I eventually said something to her about how we were going out of town the following week so the days I could watch her daughter were different. And then she lit into me. I don't even know if that's the right phrase to use because she just began yelling at me, in front of all 7 kids that were there, and her husband who pulled up shortly there after, about how I was just a horrible person and there is absolutely no communication with me. I apparently left her high and dry without a babysitter when she stormed out of my house earlier in the week, even though I said she could stay, as I had been planning on it anyways. By the end of the discussion, which probably isn't the right word to describe it, I was in tears.

My world was changing around me so quickly that I had no time to adjust to any of it. Had I known she was upset with, I wouldn't have went over in the first place. I told the kids they weren't allowed to go down to their house anymore, because I didn't want to have another confrontation with her again. Hunter rode down shortly thereafter and told her that he didn't like the way she treated me. Heart of gold that little boy has!

For the next two weeks, any time I went outside, I was overcome with anxiety. My heart would start racing and my palms would get sweaty, and my legs would start feeling weak. Just by stepping outside my house, even if it was just to get in the car. It must have been knowing that she could be outside, because she can commonly be spotted at my end of the lane. She later (days later) apologized for yelling at me after I explained what was going on in my life, but I think it could have been handled differently. While my anxiety is still present when I go outside, it's not as prominent as it was. I couldn't even walk to the bus stop without becoming anxious! I take them down in the morning, but I can't seemed to go down to get them after school anymore.

Over the Labor Day weekend, Perry and I took the kids out to Seattle to see Aunt Em and Uncle Colin. It was so nice to get out of my neighborhood for a few days. On our way out there, we stayed the night in Ellensburg and in the morning I had the task of keeping the kids entertained while Perry had his final interview via the phone in the hotel parking lot. Talk about stressful! Now at the end of August, I'm worrying about moving at the same time that my mom is starting her breast cancer treatment. Seriously. Could August have been any worse?!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Labor Day Weekend in Seattle

Just after school began, we wrecked the kids' perfect attendance by taking them out of school to go to Seattle to see their Aunt and Uncle. We left on Wednesday night and were planning on staying with Aunt Kile and Uncle Chris. When we arrived at the intersection two blocks from their house, we discovered it was blocked by a hazmat team so Kile directed us the back way around, except when we got there, it was blocked by about 30 more emergency vehicles due to an ammonia leak at a nearby restaurant. Hearing that they were going to close the interstate, we jumped back on and continued to drive to Seattle before pulling over in Ellensburg for the night. 

Let me just say it's so peaceful to drive without kids fighting each other in the car. Night driving rocks, if you can stand to look at nothing but darkness. Ugh. I missed everything! Before we left the next morning, I occupied the kids while Perry interviewed via phone with his regional vice president. It took forever! Or maybe it just felt that way because I have rambunctious kids...
As soon as we settled into Em and Colin's house, the kids found the bubble gun and enjoyed chasing and popping bubbles out on the deck.
Before the rain hit, we spent a little bit of time at a really cool park, even though all I wanted to do was nap! The past few weeks had just been exhausting...
 The boys discovered there were dinosaur bones buried under the sand in the sand pit. They had so much fun pretending to be paleontologists! 
Shameless dinner time selfies. My kids look so thrilled.
 First thing Friday morning, we took the kids to the aquarium. I had never been to one before and was just as excited as the kids were to go! 
 Perry really enjoyed watching the sea lions. All the kiddies were fascinated by them too!
 In an attempt to get more pictures with my hubby, we took a quick selfie while at the aquarium. The last one before I chopped my hair!
 The kids could not get over the fact that there happened to be a "sleeping" fish in this tank to the point that Ms. Gail decided it was her job to make an impression of the fish. See that fish laying against the back wall? I'm sure it's dead. 
 I also attempted to get a decent picture of the boys, but this fish biting HD's ear was the best I could do for him.
 JP was just uncooperative. This is literally the best picture of him. Pretty awesome...
Before we left, HD stopped to check out the starfish exhibit again. Perry was getting antsy to go, but I didn't have the heart to interrupt HD's mini-lesson. He was curious! I love seeing him this way! It's rare to see him so focused.
As soon as we arrived home, Cami went down for a nap so Em could take me to the salon to cut my hair. To say I love it would be an understatement. If only I could re-create it!

We stopped home to pick up Cami and then Em and I headed to the airport to pick up Grandma Betty and John. Traffic was horrible at 5pm! Not looking forward to city driving in that regards!

In the morning ran a few errands and hung out in the backyard to waste time until Aunt Em got off work that afternoon.
While guys were practicing their golf skills, HD and JP found these monster slugs out back. I tried to convince the boys to race them, but they weren't too interested in that.
Grandma and Ms. Gail also spent some time picking blackberries from the massive bushes in their backyard. 
When the kids were getting restless around the house, we went to a near by park and played for bit before walking down to the docks to feed the ducks.
Who doesn't enjoy feeding ducks?! So much fun for everyone!
Ms. Gail and JP even had the opportunity to hand feed a duck!
We walked to the end of the pier and my stomach was in knots the whole time. While my kids can kind of swim, I don't know how they'd do if they just fell overboard. Perry and I were both anxious to get the kids back to land.
HD spent the rest of the afternoon making himself in to a box troll. He attempted to go down the stair and instead fell down them. He was fine and uninjured so I didn't feel the need to cover up my giggles. JP tried to dress himself in the outfit after HD took it off, but really struggled, so then I wondered how HD did it alone...

That night Em and I went out wedding dress shopping with Grandma Betty and spent a few hours trying on dresses until we found the perfect one. It was a long grey dress with sequence. So pretty on her!
 After lot of confusion on how to actually get to Pike's Market after parking, and lots of walking, our family met up with the rest of the group and strolled through through past all the vendors. I could go broke in there! 

 Before we started the long trek home, we stopped at Ivar's, you know the restaurant that pretty much only serves fish. I had 3 choices other than fish and went the seafood route ordering prawns. They were tasty but the fish smell from everyone else was not so awesome for me...
We crashed at Kile and Chris' that night so Case could finally see his cousins. Kile took the kids out to gather eggs in the morning. Ms. Gail was so exciting she started banging them together! We ended up just tossing those ones out! Hahaha!