Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ten on Tuesday... Wednesday

It's been a while since I gave some McDowell updates so I thought I'd do my best today... er, yesterday. Yeah, I started this post on Tuesday and then had an issue blow up at work.

1. My new job has gotten quite busy. I'm still blessed with a ton of flexibility though so I'm not complaining. I work from home 90% of the time. I am able to run the dishwasher, do laundry, squeeze workouts in... and still work longer hours than I'd be able to if I had to commute to the office.

2. We're starting an allowance with Reid this Friday and going to get him his own savings account. We haven't decided the criteria or amount yet... any suggestions? Reid has now read ALL of the Diary of a Wimpy kid books except for the 6th one. The waitlist at the library is HUGE so I'm thinking that's something he can work on saving his money up for.

3. Ryan has kindergarten round up on 3/2. He's doing SOO well at school this year. He loves to write and draw and is starting to sound out words. He is doing pretty good on his sight words and loves to read books before bed. We've actually decided to keep him in "school" (his daycare) over the summer to keep up with his routine since he's doing so well. He's been at home the last three summers but I think he'll really like school too - they do a lot of field trips and splash days over the summer.

4. Ross... ugh, Ross. He's a challenge most days. Tonight we were debating whether we thought two or three would be more rough with him. He is Mr. Independent, wants to do EVERYTHING by himself and screams and throws fits when he doesn't get his way. He also hits and bites. Doesn't he sound like a joy? He's actually starting to get that we're not going to put up with it (I think)... after a few consistent trips to the time out room he usually improves... usually.

5. The big boys are all registered for spring sports. Reid chose to try flag football (he's been begging for a couple of years) and Ryan chose basketball (it's 3 on 3 for 4 and 5 year olds). They are also both going to do spring hockey (Reid is skating out). We're not positive what rink they are going to skate at yet. We're thinking Ryan at KCIC (Shawnee) and Reid at IEC (Independence) but we're waiting for them to release their season details.

6. The spring race schedule is SET! I have four half marathons this spring (4/14, 4/22, 5/12, and 6/2). Russ and I are also doing our 8 hour adventure race on 5/5 in Smithville again this year. Along with our adventure race, Russ is planning an obstacle run on 3/31. The weather has been gorgeous lately so I've been able to get several good long runs in - two 10 miler's already. I hope February is just as nice to us.

7. I broke up with about five of my "shows" this winter... it's actually been very freeing and nice. I even find on the nights that I have time to sit down and watch a show (like tonight - Russ took the boys to the basement to play) there is nothing on my dvr and nothing on tv that I even want to watch.

8. I just finished reading "The Devil in Pew Number 7." I highly recommend it... true story, good book.

9. I've done a decent job of staying up with my project life, weekly documenting for 2012 but I don't have any pictures today as I got a new phone today and all of my pictures from the last week are on my old phone. I got an iPhone 4S, essentially for free :)

10. Today is February 1.... it's going to be a LONG month. I threw down the gauntlet and challenged Russ that I could go ALL month without sweets. No chocolate, candy, Orange Leaf...Yikes! Of course we had Orange Leaf last night to get my last fix in :) Wish me luck! I survived day one :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Week 2

1/9 - 1/15

** Started the week off with boy scouts on Monday night. Reid got to throw a pie in a leader's face for being the 5th top sales guy on popcorn.... Sorry Jay Donley!

** The weather this week was fabulous... 50s, 60s. Just amazing for January. The boys and I spent some time outside in jackets doing some sidewalk chalk.

** Ryan and Ross' daycare e-mails out a daily sheet almost every day for their classroom. I love getting them and seeing how their day went, etc. This picture was on Ross' daily sheet one day last week and I HAD to ask the teacher to send it to me. His quote on the sheet was "I'm a princess."

** Ryan had his first Learn to Play Hockey class on Saturday. He did great, lasted the whole 45 minutes! Reid wants to skate out in the spring season so he's actually going to start taking the class with Ryan next Saturday.

** Reid started complaining at Ryan's skating that he had a headache and then complained as we were leaving for his own game Saturday night that he didn't feel good. He completely bombed! Had no energy, didn't try, looked miserable. We weren't sure what was going on. On the way home from his game he completely passed out in the car (which never happens) but then denied that he fell asleep. Surprise, surprise Reid... of course we took a picture! :)

** Sunday was an easy day for us. Reid still complained that he didn't feel good so we made him rest in his room or on the couch most of the day. Ryan had a birthday party but it was two hours and parents didn't have to stay so I took Ross and got my car washed and ran some errands.

Hmmm.. what else happened Sunday? Oh yeah, Russ beat the number one team in men's league hockey. He was pretty pumped. The game went to a shoot out and he stopped all of those shots. He's been playing real well lately. I wouldn't know as I don't go watch like I used to... it's just too hard with all three of the boys and Russ' games being so late.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

2012 - Week 1

* All good things must come to an end. We left Hawaii on 1/2. We flew, without problems, to Oahu but then our flight was delayed out of Honolulu so we missed our flight out of Dallas. So we spent about 4 hours in the Honolulu airport and then another two in the Dallas airport. It wasn't horrible but it was a LONG day (day/night) of travel. We got home mid-day on 1/3. After switching cars we drove the 1 hour, 30 minutes to Holton to pick up the boys, loaded them up and then drove the same drive home... continuing the long theme of travel.

The boys were really excited to see us and very hyper that night.

Thankfully we had taken vacation days on 1/4 as well. The original plan was to send the little two to daycare/school but since we got home later than anticipated on 1/3 we felt like we needed some more time with them. We ended up taking them all to see Alvin and the Chipmunks, Chipwrecked. This was Ross' first movie ever. The movie itself was pretty bad, and this is coming from someone that actually LIKES kids movies.

Ross did okay for about half but then he was tired and losing it so I took him to the entrance and held him and rocked him and he ended up falling asleep in my arms.

Thursday morning was hard. I don't think anyone was ready for the reality of going back to work/school/daycare but we did it and we all survived.

I've started a 2012 Project Life scrapbook so I'm trying to stay current week by week. Nothing major happened once we got home but here are some pictures from the week:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Kauai Part II

We woke up early on New Year's Day and set out to go hiking at Waimea Canyon. I LOVED ziplining, I thought tubing was fun, laying out by the pool and beach is my ALL TIME favorite thing to do... but I "think" this might have been the most fun I had on our trip.

It was over a 30 minute drive to the canyon so we put the top down, enjoyed the view, and got a little silly...

There were several lookout spots on the way up the canyon so we stopped several times and took pictures of the gorgeous views...

I did say we were a little silly... Russ caught me trying to stand up on a guard rail - didn't happen, it was really wobbly. - Boo

As we drove up the canyon the temperature continued to drop. It was 70s at the bottom of the canyon and into the 50s at the top. One lookout that we stopped at was 3400 feet elevation and that wasn't even the top.

More pretty views...

One of the many other Hawaiian islands. This one has one of the largest Hawaiian native populations (200ish) and is closed to tourists. (I read the sign... but I don't remember what it's called). It's owned by the Robinson family, who seems to own a good portion of the Hawaiian islands.

Ok, finally we stopped at a state park and got a map to do some hiking and started out. See this ridge below. We were hiking around it. The lady told us that it was not a "destination hike"... so we weren't trying to get to a certain point (like a waterfall or anything), just doing it for fun. We decided that we would go out to the one mile marker and then back... easy enough, right? HA HA HA

About a quarter to a half way in... piece of cake, beautiful views, nice clean shoes...

(I tried to get some better pictures of the height but if I even got close to the edge Russ started freaking out on me... something like 'get your butt away from the edge of that, you are not leaving me with three boys to raise')

Umm... then it got a little bit muddier...

And then more treacherous...

And started to get very difficult...

But we made it out one mile. See the red dirt in the picture... that's back where we started. The picture is zoomed in, it just doesn't do justice to how hard we worked. Time to head back.

The hike back proved to be my downfall. My shoes were covered in mud and slick. I fell about four times. The first time was a very HARD fall... big bruise on the butt and mud on my favorite shorts :( After the first fall they weren't as bad but I just never got my footing back as well as I had it. We both got VERY worn out. After this hike we were going to go to one other hike that would take us to a waterfall but we decided that we were done. We finished and decided to be done. We drove back down the canyon and back to the hotel. After showering and cleaning up we got some lunch and split up - Carmen to lay out, Russ to watch some bowl games... the perfect afternoon!! Gorgeous laying out weather :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Kauai Part I

We flew out of Oahu into Kawaii early the next morning. Arrived in Kauai around 9:30, picked up our rental car (mustang convertible) and then went to Kmart to get some alcohol and snacks for our hotel room. We found our hotel very easily (right next to airport). They didn't have a room ready for us so we went to lunch at Duke's (next door to our hotel)... it was pretty good and right on the beach so very nice view!

We killed time until our room was ready and then got dressed for dinner out at Duke's. I ate SOOO much!

The next day we went zip lining. I didn't realize Russ was so nervous about this adventure or that he was afraid of heights but he said he was freaking out. He kept it all internal though, seemed pretty cool on the outside. I thought it was fun, not quite as exhilarating as I thought it would be but fun still. The trees provided kind of a false sense of how high we truly were and I'm not scared of heights so it just seemed like a long swing ride or something.

This is me carrying the camera as I zip lined:

Russ doing the final one:

We were down below eating lunch (so no clue who this is ziplining) but it was a good view of the top zipline... and you can see the others down below in the video as well. Basically we just zig zagged from the top to the bottom over this same area...

After ziplining we went on a drive to see the lighthouse on the north end of the island and stopped at several spots for some great views. We also made a stop at Bubba's Burgers for lunch. The burgers were pretty good and the onion rings were some of the largest I have ever had... and very good.

This is the koi pond in our hotel courtyard. They did a feeding at 9:00 every morning and this was right after one of their feedings.

The day after zip lining we went tubing down the ditches that were originally dug out for the sugar cane plantation. We got to go into five different tunnels which I thought would be scary but they weren't. They were plenty big and in the first four we had headlamps and light. On the last one we turned off our headlamps and went dark which was very cool. At one point in the tunnel it seemed as if you had completely stopped as you had no light for frame of reference and couldn't feel yourself moving. It was fun but we didn't take our cameras so no pictures :(

New Years eve night we went to dinner at Duke's for the second time. It was really good food and had a great salad bar and huge desserts!

Kauai Part II - coming next... our big hike on New Year's Day

Monday, January 9, 2012


We flew out to Oahu on Tuesday morning and arrived around 3:30 Hawaii time (7:30 our time). It was a long day of flying but we downloaded a whole previous season of Survivor and never really got bored. Our bottoms got sore... very sore... but we were entertained.

After such a long day of doing nothing we just checked into our hotel, found dinner (Cheeseburger in Paradise - pretty good), and then went to bed.

Wednesday morning we had a 6:30a.m. bus tour. The time actually wasn't that bad given that it was 10:30 a.m. for our bodies.

First stop - Pearl Harbor.

We had some free time before we actually went out to see the Arizona and the memorial so Russ spent some time looking at stuff and doing the Tebow pose:

Pear Harbor was neat. I can now say that I've been there and seen it... but I said if I ever get to go back to Hawaii I could skip this part and just go straight to the beach :) I tried my best to be a good wife and act interested most of the day... when I wasn't picking up flowers and sticking them in my hair or texting Catherine ;)

Not the greatest picture but we didn't get a lot of the two of us together since that requires always asking total strangers to take your picture.

Second stop: U.S.S. Missouri

Here Russ was playing with a big gun. 50 something... I don't know... but he was having fun. If you like history, this blog post would probably be written much better by Russ :)

Third stop - Punchbowl Cemetery
I was really tired on the way to the cemetery and actually dozed off on the bus for a few minutes. The cemetery had a large hill that we climbed up and looked out on - that was pretty. They also had maps of each of the battles of WWII and surprisingly, I actually found that portion of the tour pretty interesting for a while... but it did get long. Russ liked pointing out all of the facts that the tour guide had wrong. I think they got the majority of them right but they certainly made some up here and there.

And that my friends is how a non-history lover takes a 9 hour bus tour and summarizes it in one blog post.

That night we went back to the hotel - HUNGRY - we'd only eaten a bagel breakfast and then two hot dogs all day. We got back around 3:30 and went and sat by the beach for a while (which seemed like and eternity) waiting for the restaurant by our hotel to open at 5:00 for the all you can eat prime rib buffet... we should have went back to the Cheeseburger in Paradise place we ate at the night before. It was okay... but wasn't worth their price tag.

I promise this won't be all complaining... we had a great time... more fun and details in later posts.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Christmas Morning/Day

We had a great Christmas Day. The boys got up around 7:00 which was plenty of time for Russ and I to already have been up, showered and waiting for them. Reid got up first and we let him wake his brothers up.

Reid: Xbox 360, new hockey leg pads, a Jr Mavericks warm up outift, new book, nerf gun
Ryan: Easel, tons of new drawing stuff, Leappad, memory game
Ross: Kitchen, table & chairs, miscellaneous toys

Pretend like this isn't over two weeks late...

As brief as possible... but updating some great moments so I don't forget:

12/21 -

My alarm went off at 4:30 in the morning for my 5:15 workout class that was BRUTAL. I went from there to daycare dropoff to Reid's hockey clinic, through a drive through for lunch and on to a play date at Leaping Lizards for the oldest two boys. We went from there to the airport to pick up Aunt Courtney and on to another drive through and car picnic for dinner. Courtney and I then took all three boys to Reid's holiday party to ice skate. On the way home we made a pit stop on Metcalf to watch the Christmas lights with music and home at 8:30. A very exhausting, but fulfilling day...

p.s. - I should mention that this was Ross' first time on skates and he loved it! It killed my back but eventually we got him a walker that helped a bit. It was so much fun to see how excited he was though.


On Thursday Courtney arranged and treated us to a sleigh ride on the plaza. The boys loved it and we had a ton of fun. It was chilly but not too cold and we didn't have a line at all so it worked out just perfectly. (Dad was gracious enough to keep Ross at home as we didn't know how long we would have to wait or how cold it would feel on the sleigh. It turned out that I think he would have been fine... but better safe than sorry). This was my favorite picture of the evening:

As if she hadn't spoiled us enough, she then gave the boys some gift cards to eat at Fritz's. We gave them the option of saving the gift cards and just eating somewhere on the plaza but they wanted to go so we went there on the way home. Yummy and fun!


* As far as I can remember we copped out and didn't really do an advent activity this evening. We went up to Grandma Cella's house and we just called that our activity :)


We had our annual Christmas at Grandpa & Grandma Sharp's with all of the boys' cousins (and my sisters). It was a great night. The boys had a great time and really enjoyed the gifts they got from their cousins. Santa showed up at 6:30 to get any last minute requests. I wasn't sure how Ross would react but he loved Santa... this picture is actually his SECOND turn on Santa's lap... didn't want to forget anything.

Reid was kind of the big surprise. He "knew" it wasn't the real Santa and he had no interest in sitting on his lap. We tracked Santa on our iPad, checked Santa's naughty and nice list and then headed on back to OP to wait for Santa to visit our house. When we got home we whipped up some breakfast casserole for the morning and some cookies from Santa (I was so unprepared - must do better next year). The boys actually went to bed and stayed in bed (first Christmas Eve that I can remember).