Tuesday, September 27, 2011

School Updates! :)

I mean, really?!? Have you ever seen a more adorable school picture!? :)

I just wanted to post an update about school, Abby's darling school pictures and a little someone else who gets a lot of time and attention in this house these days....Griffin!

Here is Abby's Kindergarten class! :) Aren't they sweet!? Can't they just stay this size forever! It's so awesome, though, to know that she will be growing up with such a good group of kiddos. I think back to elementary school and how many of the people that were good friends of mine, are good friends of mine still to this day. I can't believe in just the blink of an eye these kids will be grouped together again in caps and gowns!...okay, I am getting a little ahead of myself and a little emotional now! ha!
See that little ham in the front row, center? Yeah, that's Griffin!...the love of Abby's life! ha! Here he is with his 'stick up hair!' as Abby calls it! Apparently, Griffin only has 'stick up hair' on special days! ha!
So, from Day 1 the shining light of all of Abby's school experience has revolved around Griffin! All we hear is, 'he's so funny, he did (this or that) at recess, I was on Griffin's team in PE and we won, Griffin tried to hold my hand (he actually had to be moved from her table because I guess this got to be an issue-ha!), Griffin talks to me the most, my locker is right next to Griffin's, Griffin likes me!' You get the idea! Well, you know me, I had to get in there and get to know this Griffin kid! ha! And, I am happy to report, he's a total cutie, comes from a great family, etc.! Some of my favorite Griffin stories thus far:

*"Mom...Griffin showed me his belly button today and he has an outie just like Liv!" ha!

*He will come out and sit down by me when I am at the school to pick up Abby in the afternoons. Abby will mention something about lunch, etc. and he will nit pick at her and correct her...example:Abby-'We had applesauce today @ lunch!' Griffin-'No, I think it was pear sauce or something, remember?' They are like an old married couple! HYSTERICAL!

*Friday night Abby tells me that we need to go to the Central football game! I was surprised as 1. I didn't know she knew that Central was the name of the local high school, 2. how did she know there was a game. I ask why, and then she starts....'Well, two of Griffin's older brothers, Luke and Caleb, play football for Central and Griffin wants me to go to the game, blah blah blah! I asked how she knew all of that: brothers, their names, they play ball, etc!!! 'Oh, Griffin told me!' Of course he did! ha!

*Today as we were waiting for the kiddos to get released we got on the subject of Abby and Griffin and some of the parents were laughing about stories they had heard, telling me that he is so much older acting because he has three older brothers, we were laughing about Abby trying to meet him at a game. As we are talking about all of this, here they come and we hear...'Hey, Abby...look at me, I'm carrying my brothers back pack, it weighs about 55 pounds!' We all just cracked up, and one of the Dads turns to Abby and says, 'in other words, he wants you to see how strong he is!' haha! Abby just gets so embarrassed when people talk to her about it. It's so funny!

I wanted to make sure and document this because I just have this feeling that we will hear about and see lots of Griffin over the years! :)

And, in other school news, Abby is doing great. After that first week or 2, there hasn't been a single tear shed! She is doing awesome, she loves it, she has met so many sweet little friends, she has never moved off of green in any area (green is the best, meaning that you excelled in the three areas: attitude, behavior and community) and she aced all of her initial screening tests. Actually in Pre-Math (shapes, patterning, etc), Number Sense and Pre-Reading (letter recognition, etc) she got every single question correct. And, in Pre-Reading (letter sound recognition) she only had a few in the incorrect box. I am so glad that it appears that she will not have an issue with all the testing. I am amazed at much she is learning as far as writing and spelling. And, she could read quite a bit before she started school, but she is really starting to recognize words and sound out the ones she doesn't already know, even street signs, store signs...she's wanting to read everything now. We are so blessed that this is all coming so easily and naturally for her. She's always been a smart little cookie, so I am not surprised...it's just nice to know that it's official! ha! ;)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Scott's New Toys!

I need to get better pictures when it's not getting dark, but they were so excited to ride it! Scott's brand spankin' new Polaris!

There they go...off for a little ride before I make them come in! ha!
And, his new trailer to haul above 4-wheeler!
And, Liv and I stayed back to play while Abby and Scott rode around the neighborhood!
What a little goof ball! :) She wasn't too thrilled with the 4-wheeler at first but she likes it now.
They would ride it all day. Scott bought it mostly for hunting because he leases 60 acres with a friend but for now we just tool around here with it. In the evenings there are more 4-wheelers on the road in our neighborhood than there are cars...rural living for ya'! (as rural as you can get in Southern IL, that is-ha!) But, it's fun to ride over to the neighbors. There are 8 kids that are in Kindergarten at Abby's school that live in our neighborhood! Basically, our neighborhood makes up about 1/4 of their class! ha! Thankfully, they split them pretty evenly between the 2 teachers/classes. However, I fear for us adults when they are all teenagers! haha!

Dancing Queens!

The day I have been waiting for since I heard, 'it's a girl!' at Liv's ultrasound! Both of my girls... heading off to dance class, cute little leotards, sweet little shoes! Abby is an old pro when it comes to dance so she was excited to get back to business and show Liv the ropes! ha!
Abby in her first big girl class. Since she will be SIX (oh my word, that is hard to say and even harder to believe), she was bumped into the classes where they not only group them by age, but also by experience/skill. She's the littlest one in the class and LOVES to remind me that there is a second grader in her class! ha!
She is good at tap and she likes it, but she LOVES ballet!
Liv going into class! Look at that cute little butt in a leotard! LOVE! :)
Opps...she's in the wrong class! hahaha!
Okay, we got her into the right class! Look at that face, no doubt saying, 'Really, Mom!? I have to dance with these little kids...take me back to the big kid class!' haha!
Abby's second half hour is ballet. There she is at the bar with her fave teacher, Miss Katy! :)

And, in keeping to the fact that my children are TOTAL opposites, Liv could take or leave ballet, but give this girl a pair of tap shoes and it's ON! She taps to the beat of any song and shakes that little ghetto booty for all it's worth! ha!
Since it was the first night we were able to watch Liv's class, so Abby gets done 30min. before Liv so she came in to show the little ones a thing or two! ;)

And, my favorite picture of the night! The teacher told them to do what she does and follow her, then she turned around to face them, so Liv turned around, too! hahaha! She danced the whole section like that and never missed a beat! She doesn't need no stinkin' teacher! ha!
I can't wait for recital! I just love that the girls love it so much! I danced for MANY years and loved it. I also think it taught me so much. I enjoy watching them enjoy themselves and learn new things, learn the value of team work, following directions, responsibility, coordination, etc.

It also hit me last week that the 30 min overlap while they are both in class will be my only 30 min of alone time each week while Scott is gone! Pathetic, huh!? haha! In other words, they will go to dance every week whether they want to or not because Mommy needs her 30 minutes of sanity! haha!

Friday, September 16, 2011

First Jobs!!

This weeks blog off is first jobs.

I had the best first job EVER! I worked as an assistant to a beautician at Hair Nails and More. Started when I was 15. I answered phones, swept floors, removed nail polish...you know, all of that very difficult, very important stuff! ha! I got my nails and hair done for free and when I turned 16 and got my license, I got to run errands for the girls at the salon and drive my bosses yellow mustang! Oh, and I only worked on Sat. mornings and sometimes a night or two during the week! Like, I said....VERY serious job! ha!

I didn't have time to work during the school year because of cheerleading. I had either practice or a game just about every night. And, I also ran track a few years, so if cheer season was over, it was straight to track season. But, during the summers, I worked. I was not a fan of babysitting, so I always made sure to snag a fun job waiting tables. I worked at Kelly's Korner Kitchen in Greenville one summer and at Sam's @ Highlander Point one summer. LOVED working both places, made great money actually and had a lot of fun.

The summer before I went off to college a friend of mine talked me into working at a daycare center with her....HATED IT! NOT. FOR. ME! But, I stuck it out for about 2 months and made the most of it.

During college I worked at the World's Greatest Restaurant, Dumplin's! I was the dessert girl and worked my way up to waiting tables! ha! I also worked as an assistant for a man that sold Allstate insurance. LOVED the job, but he was a hot mess. I grocery shopped for him and everything. Totally ridiculous, but he paid good and I worked when my schedule allowed, so that was nice. I also worked for the university my last 2 years at Murray State. I was hired on as an Orientation Counselor/Ambassador. It was THE job that everyone wanted and they only hired about 30 students each year. LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it. They paid us $100/per orientation session...that's BIG time for a college student. That's a lot of beer! haha!

FUNNY WORK STORY! I got hired to work at Fred's my junior year of college. A few of my friends worked there and I thought it sounded fun. First of all, the horrible boss lady came out with my name tag on my second day of work (all I did the first day was fold clothes-ugh)...anyways, she comes out with a name tag that says ANDI and gives it to me. I tell her my name in Andrea. She says, 'we already have an Andrea here!' I say okay, 'I will even go by Annie, but NOT Andi!!' (I mean, really!? ha!) She says, 'sorry, we also have an Anne, so you will be ANDI!' I was almost in tears at this point. I put my f-ing ANDI name tag on and go back to sort more shirts when she comes out with a shirt for me to wear. Everyone has to wear red polo shirts. Not a big deal, I can handle that, until I unfold mine and it's an EXTRA LARGE! So, here I am with my extra large red polo and my Andi name tag! I go to the bathroom to put it on and just start sobbing. I actually walked out of the bathroom and QUIT! Somewhere I have a picture of me AND my room mate in the shirt (AT THE SAME TIME-ha!) with my ANDI name tag, and I have looked everywhere for it and can't find it. :( Hopefully, I will run across it soon so I can post it for you all!
And, there you have it, folks!

Love always,

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Homework...now here's a new adventure!

Look at those little ones...busy with school work! :)

Last week started a new adventure in the Utley Household...HOMEWORK! Here are a few homework observations:

1. Since Day 1 of Abby's life I have been her teacher. I feel as though I sent her to Kindergarten totally prepared with the basic knowledge a 5-6yr old would require and then some, and I have always enjoyed teaching her new things and not to toot my own horn, but I have always had a lot of patience when it comes to teaching the girls. TOOT! TOOT! ha! (my sister in law and mother in law, both who are teachers, have even commented on many occasions that I should seriously consider going back to school for early education and teach) HOWEVER...now that there is REAL, ACTUAL homework involved, I am fully able to say that I think this is going to be an area for Scott because:

2. Abby and I are. TOO. MUCH. ALIKE. We are both hard headed perfectionist that think we know exactly how to do things and we are both waaaay too hard on ourselves and expect perfection from ourselves. (I received my first B in high school and cried for 3 days....true story-haha!) I can see too many arguments during homework time, so I am admitting now that this might be Scott's area of expertise. I was ready to explode on the inside the first night of homework and I caught myself many times from correcting her or telling her how I would do something.

3. Learning skills: While not a total bad thing, Abby also seems to have my learning skills...AKA: a wonderful memory! I have a phonographic and photographic memory (to some degree), so aside from a few math and biology classes, I never had to study. I could crank out anything I ever heard or read from memory! Great for making good grades, not so great for retaining that information for really, really long periods of time! So, while I am trying to show and teach her skills to prepare her for reading, etc. other than her memory, she sits at the bar singing Justin Bieber songs, leaving one to think that there is no way she could be doing her homework correctly, only to hand it to me while finishing it in 30 seconds flat with everything completed perfectly! ha! I remember 'studying' for HUGE vocab exams in high school on the 25 min. ride to school! (as a rider, not the driver...although judging from my driving record in high school, you would think I was doing homework while driving-ha!)

Not to be left out or out done, Liv always has to do her 'homework' too! ha! Now, what might be even more difficult than homework with Abby will be homework with Liv once she's in school. She has a mechanical mind, very unlike me. She learns by doing, she is very resourceful, she can figure out the inner workings of things, when we do math related projects and 'lessons' she will often 'get it' before Abby does. She has no time for sitting and listening to something....I joke that Abby will be the total book worm, reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, the kid that LOVES doing extra credit, etc. and Liv will be the kid that runs in and is like, 'okay, someone give me the answer so I can get to recess faster!' haha! Again, we will give homework duty to Scott! ha!

Liv's 'homework!'
Abby's homework!

Man, this school thing is going to do us in one way or another, isn't it!? ;) haha!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Blog Off-September 11

The blog off for this week is where were you on Sept. 11th. I know I will never forget the day...

It was a Tuesday morning and I had an early class. I went to the my first class and moved on to my next class, unaware that anything had happened. When I got into my class the professor had the TV on. Not totally out of the ordinary because it was a journalism class, we watched a little bit of the news footage and saw the 2nd plane fly into the 2nd tower. Our professor said, 'get out of here, go home, go back to your dorms!' I hightailed it to the Sigma house (our sorority house), still not totally sure what was happening. I ran into the chapter room and people were starting to gather around the TV. We all just sat there in shock. I bet we sat there that day for 12 hours straight...there was probably 30+ people gathered around the TV at all times that entire day. Every where you walked on campus, people were huddled around TV's, almost all classes we canceled for that day and night (all of mine were). Sept. 11 is my Dad's birthday, so as soon as I realized what was going on, I called Dad to make sure everyone we knew was safe and accounted for and to wish him a happy birthday. I called Mom and she was at work. She was working for Dr. Dan Eichenberger and his brother worked at the Pentagon, so everyone was praying to hear from him. And, a friend of ours was worried and couldn't contact her Dad, he was also at the Pentagon, so we were all praying for him...and for everyone! I still remember what I was wearing, where I was sitting in class that day, where I was standing when I called my Mom and Dad, the panic in everyone's voice that day, the sadness we all felt, how scared everyone was. I was pretty obsessed with it...I watched a TON of news coverage and read every article or story I could get my hands on.

I was still in college (and not dating Scott) but 9/11 was Scott's first anniversary with NGA. I can not even imagine what that place was like that day, and of course, he can't say much, but he has mentioned how scared everyone was. Here he was sitting in an intelligence agency!! Planes were targeting these places! He said they thought for sure that they would be hit next. He had to begin 12 hour shift work immediately after that.

I didn't know anyone that was directly linked to the deaths/terror that day until 6 years ago when I met my friend, Erin. Her brother in law, Matt, works for Cantor Fitzgerald. They lost more employees than any other organization in the attacks, 658 people (every employee that was at the offices that morning). You might remember Matt's story. He and 3 other employees were preparing for a fishing trip that morning and either didn't go in that day or had been there early and left before the attacks. Here is an article that mentions him, Matt Claus, and his story. He has been chosen to read all 658 names at memorials over the years!


Friday, September 2, 2011

If we don't change, we don't grow...

...if we don't grow, we aren't really living! With Abby being in school all day now and it just being Liv and I at home, I have been thinking about how much things have changed in the last 6 years. These 2 pics of the girls are old ones, but I LOVE them so much! They are perfect examples of the bond my girls have...they are sisters, friends, enemies some of the time, but when it comes down to it...they would chose one another over any one else. I hope THAT never changes! :)

Anyways, I was thinking about the almost 3 years that Abby and I had together before Liv was born. I quit my job when I was about 5mo. pregnant with Abby. I knew that I was going to stay home with her and Scott got the opportunity to to do a 12 week 'deployment' in Tampa. We thought it was the perfect chance for one more last adventure before the baby was born, so I gave my notice and we went to Tampa, where they put us up in a gorgeous Condo with all the amenities. I only stayed for 7 weeks (the longest my doctor was comfortable with me going in between visits), but we had SO. MUCH. FUN! I have a lot of wonderful phases in my life, and God willing, there will be many more, but my pregnancy with Abby and those weeks in Tampa are without a doubt the best times of my life. The glow and excitement of our first baby on the way is something that is beyond words. Plus, I basically lived a life of leisure for 7 weeks! ha! I slept in, got up and worked out, spent a few hours at the pool, read a ton of books and shopped. When Scott would get home from work we would go to dinner, shop, site see, we went to ball games, the beach, the casino on the reservations, Mom and Dad came a stayed a week with us...it was truly awesome! :) Shortly after that little Abigail was here! I will not sugar coat it one bit, the first 4mo. or so were ROUGH! She was not a good eater, a TERRIBLE sleeper, we had issues right after she was born and ended up back in the hospital with her...it was just stressful times and I fell into a little bit of a funk. Not PPD or anything, I just didn't know anyone here yet, I was alone at home all day with a new baby, I never left the house unless I had to because it was winter and flu season and I was scared to death someone would breathe on Abby or touch her! haha! Finally in May I had had enough. I got a membership to the gym and started to get back to my old self. Abby was getting bigger, things were easier, I was determined to meet some people. Once Abby was about 1 we started going to story time and other little things around town. Once she was a toddler, I was in full suburban stay at home Mommy mode....she was in Little Gym, we were part of 2 story time groups, we had real deal play dates, we went to the Parent/Tot days at the school. While I laugh at some of this now, I met some wonderful people during these years, some that are dear friends of mine...and, don't worry, I was never one of 'those Moms'...we had some good times and good laughs at the die hard Mommy Nazis! You know the ones...the ones that ask if your toddler can read because theirs can (puuhleaze!), the ones that swear their children are going to be MENSA members because they breast fed and you didn't. The ones that have nanny's 2 days a week so they can shop and work out! Yeah, we had a lots of fun with those Moms! haha! Anyways...here is my little doll during those years....Abby @ age 2!
A few weeks after Abby's second birthday, we found out I was pregnant! Exciting times, of course, but it was different than Abby's pregnancy. I was very sick the first 12 weeks (just like with Abby) but once that wore off, I would really go some days and almost forget I was even pregnant. I was busy with Abby, we were doing renovations to our house to get it on the market, we were busy selling and buying our new house and there just wasn't time to bask in pregnancy glow like there was with Abby. ha! I spent most of my time worrying about how we would all handle the adjustment of another baby, how in the world could I love another baby as much as I love Abby, I also had some issues with the pregnancy (nothing major, but stuff that had to be monitored a little more closely) so when I was engrossed in pregnancy mode, it was mostly with worry! We moved into our home a few weeks before Liv was born. When she was born, it was life as normal but with her in tow, and she fit perfectly into the chaos. She was the total opposite of Baby Abby. Liv was easy, laid back, she ate, she slept, she cuddled, she was always happy and she has the most ROCKIN' hair I have ever seen on a baby (just a side note! ha!) But, things just got busier and busier...I started coaching at a gym when Liv was just a few months old (I hadn't worked since I was newly pregnant with Abby), Abby was starting preschool, there were no more story times or organized play dates! ha! They played with each other or the neighbors! Now, here we are and Liv is almost 3, Abby is in full day Kindergarten, I am working, Abby is in dance, Liv is starting dance, we have whatever other things Abby gets into (soccer, tball, Girl Scouts), my house is never as organized as I would like it to be, we have met so many great people and are involved in so much more now. Sometimes I feel bad that Liv doesn't go to Little Gym or the other 500 activities I used to do with Abby (but she goes to work with me which is WAY better, in my opinion-ha! ;), but I don't think she's worried about it, do you? ha! :)
We actually did meet a friend at story time a couple of weeks ago and Liv hated it! She said she never wants to go back! ha! I just think it's so funny to reflect back on how much has changed in such a short amount of time. And, now we are getting ready for another big change with Scott leaving...and when he gets home, I am sure it will be something else.

About Me

Welcome to our life! :) Our life seems to be a constant 3 ring circus these days, but we have a lot of fun, laugh a lot and enjoy every minute of it (okay...almost every minute-haha!) Scott and I have been married for almost 9 years, and we are the parents of 2 amazing daughters, and another little one on the way. This blog is a way to keep in touch with family and friends. It also serves as a 'year book' of sorts for our family. Enjoy!!