Friday, December 7, 2012

We're still chugging along...

I just wanted to check in and let everyone know we are still here and doing good! I just finished sorting through photos and I have about 15 blog posts I need to do to get caught up: our summer vacation, back to school stuff, fall soccer, karate, Liv's 4th birthday, trips home, Halloween, work, Thanksgiving, Abby's 7th birthday...just to name a few! Sheesh! :)
Here is just a quick version of life around here...
*We spent almost a whole week at home for Thanksgiving and had a great time with family. It's always my favorite holiday because everyone is home, I get to see my sister and her family for longer than a day or 2, we always have a blast, the girls love playing with their cousins, we do our annual Black Friday shopping, etc.
*I am about to wrap up my first semester as a college instructor and collegiate cheerleading coach. It has been a wild, but really awesome and really fun semester. We have our Christmas dinner and Secret Santa gift exchange tonight after our game. Coaching college aged kids is a BIG change from the younger kids, and even the high school kids I am used to, but it has been a lot of fun and I am loving the change. I am still teaching tumbling about 6hrs a week at the gym here in town, too, and I love it now that my schedule is a little more managable. I cut a lot of hours to make more time for the cheerleading gig, so it has all worked out, and while it's very busy at times, I enjoy it. 
*Abby turned SEVEN on Monday! :( I can not believe it. Nothing about seven sounds little and I don't like it one bit. Her party is Sunday. :)
*Liv has her first school Christmas program this Sunday, also. They have been practicing for what feels like months now! haha! She sings Christmas carols all. day. long. :) I love it and can't wait to see them perform.
*Scott is still working craptastic hours and shifts. Every month is a new shift. So, this past weekend was the first time he was home on a Saturday since September. He will have a few weekends off, but now he is working awful hours and we get to see him for, maybe, a few hours each day. I'm exhausted and I know he is, too, but it is what it is, right?! :)
*We got our house plans finalized a couple of months ago, and we currently waiting on bids back from two builders. Exciting. I think I told you all that we bought land here in the same neighborhood where we live now! ha! Yes, we are those people! ;) You can look out our back door now and see where our new house will be. We'll have a couple of acres, a little area of woods, a creek, etc. Not the 300 acres Scott would like, but a nice compromise until retirement! ha!
*Abby was promoted to Junior Black Belt in November but has decided to take some time off of karate to think about if it's something she really wants to continue (the junior black belt program is more of a time commitment, more serious, etc. so we are making her take it seriously and really think about it). She loves karate and is very good at it, so I hope she starts back up soon, but we will see.
*Both girls are heavy into gymnastics/tumbling still. (another reason why we are taking a karate break...Abby has had a renewed interest in tumbling and is wanting to spend more time on that.) Abby loves it, she takes classes with her BFF's, they have so much fun and I just love watching them together. She does a great job and when she works hard, she is fantastic. Her teacher told me that she is so funny to watch at recess because she will be over teaching 10 other girls a cheerleading or dance routine. ha! Her and her little friends even got in trouble the other day because they were stunting and tossing one another in the air. :/ They said they had to laugh, though, because while they couldn't allow them to do that at school, they knew Abby knew exactly what she was doing! ha!
And, I seriously hate even saying it because it sounds like I am just bragging because she is mine, but Liv is for real a super star. I have coached hundreds and hundreds of kids and she is one of the most naturally talented I have seen. It is so easy for her, and she is so good. And, it is all she wants to do...all day, every day. I usually have to tell her to stop and take a break, instead of urging her to practice! ha! She just turned 4 in Sept. and she is in classes with girls that are 3 and 4 years older than her. We are going to keep her in classes with me for a while longer to get all the basics taught and mastered and then if she is still so into it, we are going to look into moving her to a new gym where she can try out the beam, vault and bars...and I am turning her over to another coach! ha! :) It's so nice to have always been able to coach and teach the girls myself but at a certian point, I don't want to be the coach any more...just Mom. :)
*Abby is also doing Girl Scouts this year, and I can't say enough good stuff about that program. She loves it, too. :)
*It's crazy town around here, as always! ha! But, we are all doing good...everyone is happy and healthy, and there is nothing better than being able to report that! We are gearing up for Christmas. Lots of fun stuff planned for the next couple of weeks. We went to see real reindeer and lots of lights last weekend. And, Scott took me to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes for my birthday/anniversary! I was in heaven! ha! LOVE, LOVE, LOVED it! :) The girls have a few little parties coming up and programs at school/church. We always get angels from the angel tree and this year we got a 2yr old little girl so the girls really enjoyed shopping for her. I think it's so important that they know and understand how blessed and fortunate they are, and how very important it is to do for others every. Abby's school also collected toys, coats and food for a local charity. Their goal is to fill a whole bus and it makes me so proud that Abby comes home talking about that every much they have, how much they still need, how she needs to bring more, etc.
We all have our moments, too...their has been plenty of naughtiness to go along with all of the good and exciting stuff! ha!...I was cracking up because we had our big tree up for 5min. before Abby cartwheeled into it, nearly knocking it over and breaking ornaments in the process, Liv wrote all over the couch with a red permanent marker a few weeks ago, the dog literally ate the girls trampoline (its nearly's been out back for months but for some reason he started chewing on it one day! grrrr...), and both girls got their first real 'grounding' for acting like fools while at the eye doctor with Scott. ha! They got TV and their V Readers taken away for 48hrs. But...I'm sure we will all squeak by on the good list again this year! :)
If I don't get around to posting all of the things I need to post before Christmas...Merry Christmas, from the Utley Crew! I hope you all have a blessed and happy holiday season! :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Count your blessings...

I just had to write a little about something that's going on around here, and I think this will be a good outlet for me, plus I know I have the BEST blog readers and stalkers, so I know I can count on your extra prayers.

I have a dear friend that I met as soon as we moved here. Think of the nicest person you know, now multiply that by 10 and you have my friend. Three years ago, her son (who was 21 at the time) passed away in a car accident. While this might have broken most people, she continued to have faith in God and his plan, she continuted to put others before herself, and she is just one of the strongest ladies I have ever know. Last week (on the 3yr anniversary of her oldest sons death), her other son passed away (also at 21yrs old). I feel like I have been witnessing a real life nightmare the last week...or hell on Earth, as I can't imagine anything much worse than burying 2 of my children. Last night was her son's memorial service, and thank God she has her daughter (who is just a year older than Abby) or I am not sure why else she would go on...but she does. Even in the midst of all of her grief, she is still concerned about others, asking about others, etc. I am just so heart broken for her and her family. I can hardly stand to look at Facebook or read a newspaper or even have a conversation because I just want to yell every time I hear someone complain..."Do you want to hear about a bad day?! You have no f-ing idea what a bad day is!" I have no idea why something so horrible could happen to someone so wonderful. It just does not make any sense to me.

I am asking for prayers for her family. Prayers not just for now, but for years to come. And, count your and every day. In the blink of an eye, everything you know could shatter. The world as you know it could forever be changed. I wish I could carry some of their burden because I don't think any one person should have to know heart ache that deep. Her daughter has experienced more loss and tragedy in her short 8yrs than most people experience in a life time.

Who cares if you are running late, who cares if the kids make a mess on the carpet, who cares if your car breaks down...none of that stuff matters...none of it. Just be thankful that you had some where to be, kids to make a mess, a car to drive, etc.

With that being said, and I know it's cheesy, but during this month of thanks...I am thankful for you family and friends that read our boring blog! ha! ;) And, those of you that I 'met' through a blog of a blog. If you care about someone, let them know. Today. Not tomorrow.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Tutu and Bowtie Extravaganza!

Each year a local photographer does a tutu and bowtie photo shoot to raise money for a charity. I have been wanting to have her photograph the girls for years and it finally worked out during this event. The girls were sassed up and ready to go! :)

And, Anna did not disappoint! All of the photos were AMAZING! I ordered a collage with about 8 poses and then ordered prints of the 2 below (my favorites!:), which is why these 2 were on Facebook. And, since I have her photos on here :), I wanted to link to Anna's blog. Check out all of her work. Beautiful...all of it!

March-May 2012

With 15 photos, I am going to get caught up on March-May of 2012! ha! Can it be done?....Oh yes, it can! Well, not as good as if I would actually keep up with things, but good enough! :) And, since I can't for the life of me figure out how to load the photos so it will let me type ABOVE the first photo, please see above. Scott missed A LOT of holidays while he was in Afghanistan, so when he got home we had to celebrate them all! This was his pile of Christmas and Birthday presents!

And, below is what he looked like after being home with us again for just a few hours! hahaha!

Apparently his trip wore everyone out! ha! This was the day after he got home. They were so happy to have him home, they didn't want to leave his side...not even for a nap! :)

Unfortunately, his Great Aunt passed away the weekend he got home. So, we headed to Paducah to celebrate the wonderful life of Aunt Loree, and got to spend some time with sweet 'Baby' Will!

Before we knew it, it was Easter! Easter has always been one of Abby's favorite holidays! We have some SERIOUS egg hunts in this family!

Seeing what goodies they had in their eggs! It's not all goodies, either! Some of the eggs had 'tricks' in them, like left over chicken from dinner, dog food, etc. Life is hard, have to teach that at an early age! haha! Just kidding! The girls LOVE the trick eggs and think they are hysterical.

Impromptu concerts! We have LOTS of those...and dance parties, and dance recitals, and cheer competitions, and tumbling contests, get the idea! ha!

Easter Bunny loot...he brought Mommy a, I mean....he brought the girls a trampoline!

And, we headed to Scott's parents in Dixon for Easter. I LOVE this photo of Liv. Click on it to see a larger view. It is SO her, and what everyone adores her! She is a ball of energy, fun and mischief! ha!

Another egg hunt with the kiddos.

One of my favorite snap shots of our family! :)

Putting the trampoline together. Yes, I realize this is probably dangerous since the outside is not done yet, but back in the day, they didn't have nets and foam bars and we all managed just fine! haha!

All done!!!

We also had a hail storm that damaged 2 of our vehicles and caused us to have to replace our whole roof. Good times!

I introduced the girls to jumping on the trampoline with a sprinkler under it! This was a favorite of Summer 2012!

Aunt Sara, Uncle Jeff and Baby Will came to visit! Don't be fooled...that really is Will's happy face! He LOVED the gator!! :)

We watched 'Mother Goose' sit on her nest down by the lake for months and for one afternoon she had all her little babies out on the pond with her before they flew off! It was SO cute! She was SO mean! ha!
And, that gets you caught up to May, where I will now try to do some good, normal posts about our vacation, the girls dance recital, summer break, back to school, etc! I'm getting there, folks...slowly but surely, I am getting there! :)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Flashback Friday!

I am LOVING reading all the Flashback Friday posts, so I am jumping on the bandwagon, too! I wasn't on Facebook until after Liv was born and I didn't blog until I was pregnant with Liv, so unless you are close family and friends, you probably don't know much about our lives before blogs and Facebook! :) So today my flashback is to the BEST time of my life. I tell everyone that there was never a better time than when I was pregnant with Abby. Here's a little backstory...I was never one to say, 'oh, I can't wait to get married and have kids!' Nope...I was on the path to a career, looking into applying to law school, happily ready to head into my last semester of college, move home or possibly Indianapolis, and then...enter Scott! ha! Now, we had known each other for years, his sister is my best friend, etc. but we reconnected at a friends wedding shortly before the summer of '03. There was just something there. In all the times I had talked to Scott, been around Scott, had his mother forcing us together-ha!, this time we both just had a feeling BUT he was leaving for Africa for work! (Timing was never my thing! ha!) Anyways, he went away for a few months and at a welcome home party in July we kissed and the rest is history! I called him the next day and knew immediately that we would be forever together...the wedding I never dreamed about, the kids I wasn't in a hurry for...all of that was over! I knew we would get married, I knew I would be a Mom, I knew I would NOT be at home or Indy working! And, I was right! :) We were engaged 6 months later and married 9 months after our engagement and 4 months into our marriage we found out Abby was on the way! ha! :) Being that we lived away from all of our family, it was either move home (which there was no way we could leave Scott's career) or I would be a stay at home Mom. When I was about 5months pregnant, Scott got the opportunity to work for 3 months in Tampa, FL. We decided I would go ahead and quit working and go with him!! Woooohoooo! We had the BEST time! We lived in a condo that his work was paying for...I worked out, shopped and spent my days at the pool! Rough, huh!? haha! I stayed as long as my doctor would allow between visits and then I flew home and waited for him to finish out the job and get home so we could have our sweet baby girl!
 Mom and Dad came to visit us while we were in Tampa and this is from a night out with them! We were at a casino on an Indian Reservation! Super cool! And, Scott and I won like $600!! ha!

I felt great my entire pregnancy, everyone was SO excited about Abby's arrival, it was just THE BEST, most fun, exciting time of my life! This was at one of our many showers! We are so blessed to have so many people that love and care about us! And, OH MY WORD, we look SO young!! We were SO young! ha! I turned 25 just a few weeks before she was born!
At another shower! Scott will probably kill me for posting this photo, but I don't care! I love it, it's funny and it's one of my faves!
 And, then one cold December day, life changed forever and we were responsible for this beautiful, perfect little girl! (Lordy, I am sitting here crying now! haha!)
 And now, almost SEVEN years later, she is still so beautiful and perfect! This is her school picture that we just got this week. I had a girl that is in 5th grade tell me last week, 'Abby is the cutest kid in the whole school! We just love seeing her in her bog bows, and she is always so funny and sassy, even our teacher talks about how cute she is when she walks past us in the hallway!' haha! That's our Abby...funny and sassy! Too cute!

Friday, September 21, 2012

In which I fail AGAIN!

My goodness! I got us caught up through March and now I am nearly 6 months behind again! *sigh* I am just going to do an update and then try AGAIN this weekend to get caught up!

Scott-Started a new position at work in August. He will work a year of crazy hours and whacked out schedule. (Just what I was hoping for after he returned from 4 months in Afghansitan! And, if you can't feel the sarcasm dripping off of that comment, then you don't know me very well! ha! :) BUT, he REALLY likes the work and is very happy, so I can't complain. Of course, I have NO idea what he does and I never will, but that's okay because at least he can't come home complaining about work or talking about work! :) He would never admit to this but he is in the best shape of his life probably and has been looking forward to some races we have coming up. We ran a 5K at Abby's school last weekend and he finished 17th OVERALL!! He's a great runner and really enjoys it! He is also gearing up for hunting season! BLAH! ha! :)

Me-I am still coaching about 8hrs a week of tumbling at a gym here in town. I love the girls I teach but it's just so hard to fit it in with everything else we have going on right now, and I hate that all the classes are in the evenings so that is time away from Abby (after already being away from her all day while she is at school) and it is also REALLY hard on my body. It's basically hour after hour of lifting and flipping and my shoulders are shot and I hurt my knee about a month ago so I am just not sure how much longer I can keep it up without burning out! After this session I will have to cut even more hours, too since things at KC will be picking up since bball season will be starting. I am also teaching a course at KC (Kaskaskia College) and coaching the cheerleaders! I LOVE it! The squad is doing great and working really hard and I am having a blast with them and being back in the 'college atmosphere!' I am also substitute teaching at Abby's school now, too. I LOVE it so much! The kids are great (mostly subbing for a 4th grade teacher that has to miss often for admin duties because she is also the asst principal). And, despite what Abby thought about it at first, she loves having me there and asks me every morning if I will be there! I am also busy with her school stuff, I'm serving as the PTA vice president for the next 2 years and we have Grandparents Day coming up, plus fundraisers and all of that fun stuff! :)

Abby-She is well into first grade and loves it. We are so blessed that school comes so easily for her. She loves being with her friends and is a little social butterfly. She has a much busier social life than I do! ha! She started karate this summer and we thought it might be a short lived thing but here we are months later and she LOVES it. She recently broke her first board and received a belt promotion (she's now a yellow belt :), and she's working hard to earn more stripes and move up another belt before the end of the year. She is also doing Girl Scouts this year and has only had one meeting but she's really excited about it. Her BFF was in New Jersey for the last 2 years (they live just down the road :), but they moved back in June and they are pretty much joined at the hip! They are in the same class this year, too. Poor Mrs. Lampe! ha! :)

Liv-Oh, Liv! She just turned 4 this week! She is in preschool now. She only goes 3 mornings a week, but she loves it. She is VERY shy at school, which is very surprising but she's doing better all the time, and Lord help them all once she comes out of her shell! ha! She is playing soccer this fall...or I guess you can call it playing. Not too sure if soccer will be her thing or not! ha! But, she is doing better and better all the time and she enjoys it, so soccer it is for the next couple of months! :) She LOVES gymnastics and is always practicing and flipping aroung the house. And, much to Abby's dismay, is pretty much doing all the same skills as Abby now!!!! It's good for them, though...little healthy competition! ha! They are both doing great, it is just all very easy for Liv and it comes naturally for her.

So...that is what is going on around here and now I will try my hardest to get photos of all of it on here, so it will be offically documented in the blog world (and mostly for me to have when I slurp the blog books! ha! :)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Random Stuff from this Winter....

Scott doesn't like to talk about the holidays or any of the stuff he missed, but I have some random pics that I wanted to post about. We went home on Christmas Eve to spend the holiday with my family. It was the first time since I was in college that Mom had both me and brother there on Christmas morning. She was a little thrilled, to say the least! :)
 Christmas Eve (above, with Britt and Austin) and Christmas morning MADNESS with Mom, Dad, the girls, Tim, Marsha and Timmie. We had so much fun.
 Having breakfast and singing Happy Birthday to Jesus. We always make him a cake and sing.
 I LOVE this one. Liv was shooting marshmellows into Uncle Ronnie's mouth with the marshmellow gun! haha! So gross but SO Live and Uncle Ronnie!
 Uncle with his girls! :) They sure do love Uncle. When my Mom is here, Abby always takes her phone and sends text messages to Uncle, and he is the ONLY person she will text or send pictures, too. He would be SO done if he had a girl...he's a TOTAL push over! haha!
 Melissa and her family were also in town and they came by to see us one night! It was my first time meeting Miss Harper! :) We decided we still look JUST like we did in high school so just go with it, okay!! ha!
 With our kiddos. Thanks for cooperating, Liv! UGH! She was so tired, then she got her fingers smashed in the door as soon as they got there. She's 0 for 2 with our visits with them. (She was a total stinker when we saw them at the beach last week, too!)
 Sweet kiddos. Cade is such a ladies man and he always fancies right up to Abby! ha!
 One weekend in Jan. Britt and her cheer squad came to St. Louis for a competition. It was so awesome to have her and Deana here and to watch her perform (and they kicked ass and swept the whole competition so that is always fun, too! ha!). We took the girls to the Arch for the first time. They were SO excited.
 Mom, Britt and the girls went up in the Arch....Deana and I happily stayed down and waited...and people watched! ha! (I've been up before, but since Mom and Britt wanted to go, I was more than happy to NOT go this time!)
 Also in Jan (or maybe it was Feb, who knows at this point! ha!), I decided to take the girls on a Staycation. We went to the Science Center and the IMAX and we stayed in a hotel in St. Louis.
 It was great. We had the whole place to ourselves pretty much, we ate at a great restaurant that was attached to the hotel, we swam and just played and realaxed and did whatever we wanted!

 At the end of January, the undefeated Murray State Racers played in Edwardsville (which is only about 40min. away from here) so Mom and Dad came to town and we all went to the game. It was SO MUCH FUN! I saw so many old friends and familiar faces and the girls got to cheer on the Racers and they WON! My future Racers! ;)
 Fred Bird was there, too! AWESOME!
 My girls...they sure do look good in blue and gold! :)


Ahhhh..the big homecoming! :) Not sure if you all remember the news from back then, but about 2 weeks before Scott was to come home, someone walked into an office building and shot 2 military personnel in their office...on a secure location. Well, that was in Kabul, where Scott was. That was when I really started to panic. I got the news early one morning and then couldn't get a hold of him. It was awful, we were afraid they would suspend air traffic and not let anyone come or go, thus delaying his return. It was like we sailed through 3 1/2 months and then it was going to come to this and all hell was breaking lose. He was supposed to be home on Wed. March 14th (his birthday), but on that Sunday he called and said, 'what do you think about me coming home TOMORROW!' Oh. My. Word! I went into full panic mode! ha! I thought I had until Wed! ha! Thankfully, my Mom was here that weekend so I was able to spend all day getting ready for his homecoming.
We made our signs, I signed Abby out of school and we were on our way!!! :)
 Of course...his plane from Chicago was delayed...and delayed...and delayed! We found plenty to keep us occupied, but man that is a tough wait. Knowing he is in CHICAGO!! I was about to tell him to just cancel the flight and we would drive the 4hrs north to get him! ha!
 Look closely at the corner...she woke up that morning with her first loose tooth, so she added to the sign...'I have a lose tooth!' It was so sweet! I bet 100 people commented on her sign! :)
 FINALLY...we saw him coming!!!

 What a wonderful feeling to have him back on safe soil!...and, sporting a new mustache! ha! (FUNNY side after he made it home, we were sent many sweet messages, texts, emails, calls, etc. and then my BFF and roommate from college sends me a message that said, 'what the hell is up with Scott's 'stache and I know you will make him get rid of it soon!' hahaha! She knows us all too well! :)...and for the record he is STILL sporting the 'stache! He says the old ladies at work love it! haha! :)
 The girls were SO happy to have their Daddy home!
The transition was a little rough. Getting back into the grove of being home, the girls contantly demanding time and attention, etc was a little hard for him. We really didn't get any time to just 'be' after wards. We, unfortunately, lost a family member the week after he returned so we were traveling and the girls were busy and Scott just had to jump right back into what was going on because things didn't stop here, so that was less than easy. I think he had been home for over a month before we had a chance to have dinner, just the 2 of us. But, the transition was smooth and passed quickly. We are very grateful for that, and mostly grateful that he is and sound! :)

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!!