Thursday, May 10, 2012

Refreshed & Renewed

This past weekend, Michael blessed me immensely! As his birthday/anniversary gift to me, he basically kicked me out of the house on Friday night after he got home from work, and wouldn't let me come back until Sunday afternoon. He reserved a hotel room for me at the brand new Town Home Suites for two nights ALL BY MYSELF! It was glorious!

Friday evening, Linda stayed with the children while Michael took me out to dinner and a movie. We saw The Avengers at the re-opened Opry Mills Mall. We ate delicious salad and tuna sandwiches at a new "fresh" deli, and then we walked around the mall to see all the new and re-designed stores. It is a huge mall, so we got lots of good exercise! The movie was really entertaining even though I fell asleep at one point. It didn't start until 9:45 so it was right at my bedtime! But once the action started, I was wide awake and enjoyed it very much.

He stayed with me at the hotel that evening, which was a nice break for both of us. We slept in until 9:30am and then went our separate ways. He went back home to relieve Granny while I started gallivanting around town. First, I had an awesome gel pedicure at The Nail Bar, which was the coolest nail salon I have ever experienced! Then I had a massage with a $39 Groupon (can't beat that price). She was a licensed infant/child masseuse and taught me the benefits massage can have on children in their common childhood plights.

I then had delicious vegetarian enchiladas at Chuy's Mexican Restaurant, which was fitting since it was Cinco De Mayo! I read a book and leisurely enjoyed my quiet lunch. Anyone with children understands what a TREAT this would be. A quiet meal...reading a book...without, pure pleasure!

Shopping at The Galleria Mall in Cool Springs is always fun, and I strolled in and out of stores sometimes trying on things, sometimes not. It was just relaxing. I actually found a cute new swimming suit, which was NOT the plan...and we all know how frustrating shopping for suits can be! Having the leisure to "just try" this or that on was so nice. When you have children along for the ride, you must have a purpose and a plan. This day was pure, unabashed freedom! It was so, so wonderful.

My friends, Kathy and Stephanie, met me at our most favorite sushi spot in Nashville, Virago, for dinner. We were there for three hours!! They're young mommas, too, so they were enjoying the night out with the girls. We walked down to a local music bar, Tin Roof, and enjoyed live music for awhile. It was interesting, however, because that particular "scene" just isn't typical for any of us anymore. It was enjoyable nonetheless! The whole evening was a treat.

On Sunday, I slept in my hotel bed until 8am (yes, that is sleeping IN for me!). I enjoyed the make-your-own-waffle breakfast and coffee in the hotel, then spent the rest of the morning in my hotel room. I prayed and read and listened to music and took a short nap then showered and walked out of my room at 11:58am. Check out was noon. Yes, I milked that one for ALL it was worth!

It's interesting the change of perspective one takes on after having children. The former often common "luxuries" in life aren't so common anymore! So when you do experience such luxuries (i.e. pedicure, eating out, shopping, sleeping in) without the usual responsibility of caring for/tending to children, you appreciate them SO MUCH MORE! I cannot tell you how many times I've gazed at my beautiful, pink toes and smooth heels with pure appreciation this week. :-)

All in all, it was a much needed respite for this stay-at-home Mom. I gained a refreshed and renewed appreciation not only for the finer things in life, but also for my precious family whom I love dearly. Coming home to those sweet faces - all FOUR of them (Michael, PJ, Grant, and Maya!) was the perfect end to a perfect weekend. I thank God for His blessings in my life, and I specifically thank my wonderful husband for giving me the BEST birthday/anniversary gift this year (which will probably become an annual thing)!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy New Year!

Wow, I guess it's been a long while since I last posted a blog. So much has occurred since October! Baby Grant turned ONE on November 12, and we threw him a sweet and simple birthday party at our house. I also invited all of my fellow mommy friends and their children over the following week for a playdate/birthday party. It was a total hit! Grant and PJ got to have cake twice - they didn't mind that at all.

Thanksgiving was wonderful. We celebrated at home in the morning with our tradition of pulling our king size mattress out in to the living room floor, and we all piled on top of it to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade! I made breakfast casserole and pumpkin rolls and drank lots of coffee. It was great family time. We had a lovely dinner that afternoon at Uncle Jess & Aunt Elaine's home. It was very comfortable to be with them, and it was nice to see the cousins play together (Payton, Grant, Lauren, and Maxwell).

Payton Joy celebrated her THIRD birthday (December 17th) in a majorly FUN fashion this year. We hosted the party at My Gym and invited 20 of her closest friends. It was a great hit. Everyone had so much fun, and PJ was especially fond of Stephen the MyGym employee who had them all giggling like crazy, running around, and playing hard. She is STILL talking about "My Stephen" and her birthday party!

Christmas and New Year's Eve were wonderful family celebrations as well. We stayed home on Christmas morning and Granny (Gaga) Linda and Robert came over for breakfast. It was fun to have everyone together at OUR home - even though we still don't have a dining room table! We just sat around the kitchen bar and made the most of it! Later that afternoon, we went to my cousin, Jeremy's house for more food and fun. It was especially enjoyable to see the children play together; although, I will admit that I spent most of the evening chatting with the women in the other room while Michael and the guys hung out in the play room. Score!!

New Year's was nice because my sister and brother-in-law, Shelley and Garry, visited for the weekend. We spent most of the time at our house just relaxing and being together. The funny story of the weekend, however, was that we wanted to make a good but fairly simple dinner for NYE, so we ended up buying a grill JUST for that night! We grilled steaks and had baked potatoes and broccoli and some really great wine. It was the perfect evening. My cousin, Jeremy, and Kimberly joined us, and the six of us rang in the new year with lots of laughter! I really could not have asked for a more fun evening. And remember, that night holds special memory for me and Michael: he proposed to me on New Year's Eve 2005!

Lastly, I want to share a major milestone that occurred for little Payton Joy today. Let me preface this by saying she had her first dental appointment on Tuesday this week, and she was the perfect little patient! She was brave and confident and full of joy. I was so proud of her! We read books about going to the dentist the night before so she was a little prepped before going in but, let me tell ya, it worked like a charm! Becoming aware of her teeth and the importance of taking care of them has been a HUGE enlightenment for her.

So tonight the three of us came home from eating dinner out with Daddy who had to make a stop on the way home. As I was getting Baby Grant ready for bed, I told PJ that she needed to start getting ready for bed (which usually prompts very little action on her part). She proceeded to go potty, wash her face and hands, and brush her teeth - ALL BY HERSELF! Then she put on her pajamas ALL BY HERSELF! I was seriously amazed and so excited about HER excitement. She was so proud of her accomplishments! I am overwhelmed by the obvious feelings of..."my baby is growing up!"...but I'm more excited for HER than anything. Of course, I had to double check to make sure there were no spinach leaves stuck in her teeth or that her pj's weren't on backwards, but for the most part, she DID IT right. We have been flossing every night since the dental appointment, too! It's an important habit to get started early...let's just hope Momma sticks to her guns about making it part of the routine.

Thus concludes my update. What a great start to a new year. I hope and pray that 2012 finds you all happy, healthy, and blessed beyond measure. May the Lord bless you and keep you, and may He make His face shine upon you and give you peace!