Friday, August 30, 2013

Another Ramsden Moves South

Well, it was bound to happen...another one of my parents kids have moved South.  Greg and Kelly moved to Georgia last week, Kelly received a job offer she couldn't refuse (she just got her masters in Occupational Therapy).  I'm sure its bitter sweet for my parents, but I know they are looking at it as they have another place to visit.  Truthfully, my dad especially can't be too upset.  He's the one that made us crazy travelers while we were growing up.  We had the best childhood because my parents gave us the opportunity to get out of Michigan and explore new states.  I know for me I always thought I would move to Arizona since we traveled there quite a bit.  I loved how hot it was and we always had the best time.  Another place we traveled quite a bit was Florida which is obviously where I ended up and then South Carolina was another hot spot which is where Natalee ended up! Georgia is something new to all of us.  We haven't had the opportunity to explore this state, but now that my baby brother is there I'm looking forward to checking it out!

(Cute Couple)
While we were in Michigan Greg and Kelly had a going away party where my some family and their friends got to send them off with a bang.  John and I were super excited to get out without the kids and have some fun and fun is what we had!
(It was getting late...I'm not looking too hot)
(I love this girl)
Not only did I get to hang out with Kelly and my brother, but my friend Laura who I use to work with at Ceridian and her husband met us there too.  I finally got to meet her amazing husband and hear about all the things they've been up to.  It was really nice to see her and see how grown up she is.  When we worked together I really liked her, but I always looked at her as being a youngin.  Of course with the growing up I've done I laugh and feel bad at the things/moods I put her through.  Luckily we're obviously past all that and we actually keep in contact quite frequently.  I'm so happy she's found love, has an awesome job and her life is just how she hoped it would be one day!  
(Me and Laura)
Of course one of my brothers crazy parties wouldn't be complete without a game of flip cup...with over 30 people.  The bar was super cool about it and we were able to do like 3 rounds before it got kind of old.  
(Flip cup times 30)
Overall it was a great night with my amazing husband and of course seeing some of Greg's friends I haven't seen in forever and meeting their friends I've never met before.  I'm super excited for this new adventure that Greg and Kelly get to have and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that there will be a wedding or proposal soon!  ;o) 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

3 Boys + 1 Girl + 2 Adults = 6 Beautiful Hlavin's

In order for my trip to Michigan to feel complete, I had to make sure to put visiting my friend Melissa on the agenda.  I wasn't able to visit her the last time we were in town in December so there were no ifs ands or buts about it, I HAD to see them. 
Luckily my mom was just as excited to see the Hlavin family as I was so she was all about taking us over to their house on Sunday afternoon.  They just moved into a beautiful new house and to top it off I finally got to meet their newest addition Lillyana!  Ohh my goodness, this baby girl is so darn cute its almost hard to put it into words.  As soon as Brody and Addison saw her they were all goo goo and gaga over her.  It lasted a couple of minutes and then the kids broke up to play with their own age groups.  Addison had a blast running around the neighborhood with Dylan and Carson and then Brody and Levi played inside while the adults caught up.  A major bonus to visiting this time was seeing Nathan.  I haven't seen him in such a long time since most of the time I visit during the week and he's at work.  I just love this family.  Melissa and Nathan are the cutest couple ever and they make some pretty cute babies too.  It was so weird to let the older ones take off and do their own thing (I kept saying to Melissa how awesome that she lives in a neighborhood where she can let them do that).  It seems like just yesterday Melissa and I were holding our little babies Dylan and Addison.  6 years later I have 1 more and she has 3 more!  I'm always giving her props for being one of the most amazing mother's I know.  She's constantly doing fun projects with them, taking them places and she even has the time to feed them well.  Seriously, I can barely do half of that stuff and I only have 2!  As Melissa and I grow older our bond only gets stronger.  We don't see each other very often, but our friendship is so easy and we have nothing but love and excitement for one another.  I feel so lucky to have her in my life.  She's helped me realize what friendships are all about which has lead me to make the friends I have here in Florida.  I mean how can you top that?  Of course it felt really nice that as we were leaving Nathan was begging me to move back to Michigan and it wouldn't be the same if Melissa asked me..."so is there any chance your going to come back"?  I sadly had to answer no even though you never know what the future holds.  As I left their house I was able to confirm once again I have some amazing friends at "home" (MI will always be my home) and my love for them grew even more.  I'm a really lucky girl to have this family in my life!  Just knowing that we will grow old together as friends even if its in another state is exactly why I ALWAYS make a point to see this them when I'm in town.

(Brody and Levi bonding)
(Two beauties)
(Addison is so good w/babies)
(Every visit group shot)
(More love from Addi)
(Mom's w/our babies)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Figone Love!

What's better than finally getting to spend some time with the Figone family?...they live in Michigan now!  Jen and John decided to move to Michigan back in March and temporarily live with their Aunt Terry.  This works out perfect since the trip out to Washington is so long and we haven't had the guts to take Brody on that long of an airplane ride.  Now that they live in Michigan it will be a lot easier to visit them more often or even have them visit us here in Florida.  It was nice to see John bonding with his sister Jen and then to have Tom have both his kids in one place.  I missed the first day with them since I went to a concert with my mom, but when I got there the next day I couldn't believe how big the kids had gotten and was still in shock that Jen and John actually are living in Michigan. 

The kids got along perfect, really that's an understatement.  The kids were beyond excited to see each other, it was all Addison would talk about when we were making the trip there.  She was so excited and even told my mom she couldn't wait to see them and that would be the best part of the trip...ouch!  It made sense though, Addison hasn't seen her cousins for a really long time.  Before we left Addison would look at Erin and Allie's pictures and ask "when can I see my cousins"?  Addison and Allie were attached at the hip, while Brody LOVED Erin and spent most of his time with her.  Erin was perfect, she helped take care of him and they even slept together during our sleepovers!  It truly warmed my heart to see this cousin bond and wished we had more time to spend with them.  Unfortunately we only had a couple of days with them because we had to move on to the next event.  As we were leaving Erin explained she's going to start saving her money so she can come visit us.  
We love our Figone family so much, we had the best time seeing them and making sure they knew even though its been a long time since we've seen them we love them dearly and hopefully this will be the end to the long periods of time that go by before we see them again. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Autumn's the BEST Time of the Year!!!

Most people assume I'm talking about the season, but nope I was talking about my beautiful niece Autumn!  For the 2nd summer in a row the Vranich family was lucky to have Autumn come stay with us for about 2 weeks.  To say we had so much fun is an understatement, it was probably the best 2 weeks we've ever had!  While we stayed busy and tried working on our tans the whole time, it was nice for me to have someone older to hang out with (older than 6), help me with the kids and of course to just have lots of one on one time with my niece.  Last summer we didn't do too much since Brody was still a little younger and it rained ALOT, but I for sure made up for it this time around.  We spent lots of time hanging out by the pool, went to the Clearwater Aquarium, went to the beach twice, had a smores party with my friend Erica and her kids, went bowling, Adventure Island waterpark and even went on a Dolphin watching boat ride (unfortunately that was slightly a bust).  The one thing John wasn't too happy with is the fact that she got me hooked on Pretty Little Liars.  So, whenever we were home we turned on Netflix and got obsessed with the show.  Seriously, I went through 3 seasons in like a week (now I have to wait until this season goes to Netflix b/c I've already missed too much). 
Overall, I hope she had as much fun as we did.  It was nice to have a couple of days of her to myself since I shipped Brody off to daycare and Addison off to Gymnastics camp.  I love the time and the talks we got to have, but more importantly how much closer we are.  Autumn's trip went way too fast, but I think she was ready to get back to her friends.  Plus I think it helped since she knew she would see us again in about a week since we were going to Michigan.        

(Talon Loves Autumn)
(Autumn's setting up the train for Brody)
(This girl is in LOVE w/One Direction)
I love you so much Autumn!!  I can't wait to see how we can beat this years trip next year! xoxo

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Free Time = Kids Back in School!

Brody finished off his adventure at Miss Anita's August 1st before we left for Michigan.  It was bitter sweet, but she was so excited for him to move onto a big boy school and frankly so was I!  Brody was starting at his sister's old school LCC, just two days after we got back from our long vacation to Michigan.  I was so nervous we would have issues with him regressing with the potty training that he decided it was time to do.  In order for him to be able to go to school he has to be potty trained with no pull ups or diapers.  Luckily he stayed on track and I didn't have to worry he would be kicked out the first day for peeing on the floor all day!
(Last Day at Miss Anita's)
Luckily everyone we visited in Michigan was so excited about our little guy starting school so we were constantly talking about him going which made him excited to start this new adventure.  He sees Addison go to school and camp all the time so I really didn't think twice about how he would react when I dropped him off.  The first day came and he was super pumped.  He may of been a little confused why Addison wasn't going too (she didn't start until a couple of days later), but I think he felt special that he was off doing something and she wasn't.  It was super cute to watch Addison get excited about her brother going to her old school.  She got to go with me to walk him in and meet his new teacher.  I remember in the middle of the day thinking "I wonder how he's doing and how many "accidents" he's had".  It was hard to wait until 3 pm to find out if we were still in fact allowed to continue bringing him 3 days a week!
(Camera Shy)
Brody actually ends up having 2 teachers each day at school.  He goes Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:30-3:00.  He has Mrs. Mallue the first half of the day and then Mrs. Silk the 2nd half basically for lunch, nap and playtime at the end.  Most of his classmates go home at 11:35, but we decided to keep him in full days.  I like the fact he'll actually take a nap there and even eats all his lunch.  I receive a note from the teachers with an update on how he went potty, how long he napped and how his day went.  Thank God he's doing AMAZING!!!! He even went on the potty unassisted on Friday!  The teachers seem to love him and he asks me everyday "I go school?".  He still asks if he's going to Anita's every once in a while, but now he laughs after he says it so I think it may be more of a joke now.  I'm so happy to get him into school, he really needs this and really likes it.  The bonus of course is I get 3 days to get stuff done around the house, run errands or even be lazy (shh don't tell John).  It is quite crazy that my baby has officially started school!
I'm not gonna lie, I think I was a little more emotional about my sweet baby Addison going into first grade than I was when she went to Kindergarten.  I mean Kindergarten is still about playing and then of course later I learned towards the middle of the year about reading and writing, but after Kindergarten its no joke...your in the big leagues. 
I mean c'mon I have a first grader, that makes me sound so stinkin old!
Thank God Addison loves school, from the day she got out in the summer she was asking me how many days until she went back.  Its so nice I don't have to worry about dragging her out of bed fighting about not wanting to go each morning.  This girl loves to learn and is all about keeping her mind working.  With her excitement I decided to not drive her to school myself and walk her in amongst all the chaos.  Erica and I decided to start up our carpool right away and Monday morning Addison was off to her first day of being a 1st grader without mommy holding her hand.
We got super lucky, she has one of the best teachers this year (we've actually been lucky since she started school when its come to getting teachers).  Mrs. Baez was a substitute teacher for the teacher next door to Addison's Kindergarten class when she had her baby and now she is a new 1st grade teacher.  My friend Erica and Beth both knew her since Sailey and Carter had her and continued to tell me how amazing she is and how lucky we are to have her.  It was awesome to not stress about who she was going to get since we found out the last day of school.  Addison was super stoked too.  She really liked Mrs. Baez and already knew her so there was no anxiety in that department what so ever!  We had Open House later in the week and once again I felt completely comfortable about the teacher she got, but not so much about all the work that goes into being a 1st grader.  I knew I wasn't completely crazy about that feeling I was having from moving to Kindergarten to 1st grade.  There are so many more rules, lots more homework and to be honest I'm hoping the only person that's going to be complaining about all the work is ME!  Addison's going to be great, she's at a wonderful school and with having a great teacher its just the beginning to where this education is going to lead her.  The skies the limit and she's ready to soar.  Holler!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Magro Party of 5!

Baby Dylan Grant arrived 8-5-2013, weighing in at 8lbs 8oz's and 20in!

One of my very bestest friends Beth finally gave birth after a really long month of thinking it could be any time!  I was totally convinced that Beth would have her little man before I left for Michigan on August 2nd.   Especially since she had been having some crazy signs for seriously over a month from her due date and our long talks of her symptoms we just knew this baby was coming early!  BOY, WE WERE WRONG!  So, when August 1st rolled around and there was no sign of him coming I had to see her before I left town for 10 days.  I was seriously devastated, I mean in my mind I was going to be the one to deliver this little guy whether she liked it or not.  Like I said I knew I was going to miss his birth so I took a little visit to the Magro home and showered her with flowers, a balloon and lots of love (trying not to burst into tears that I wasn't going to be there to visit her in the hospital).
I have a really funny story about how Beth and I became friends.  Like most of the friends I have I met her through Jen (my other bestie & Brody's godmother), but before Jen ever introduced us I would constantly see Beth at LCC where Addison went to school or just out and about.  I was honestly so jealous that Jen was friends with her and I wasn't.  Whenever the Magro name came up people only had the nicest things to say.  I mean she's beautiful and her husband Jono isn't too bad either.  ;o)  Other than this family seeming so beautifully perfect I had this strange feeling like the two of us would really get really well.  The day finally came where we got to hang out and I must say, my gut was pretty right.  She is the most lovely, funniest and disorganized person I know.  After that first day we spent time together we knew...we're stuck with each other!  In all seriousness, I love Beth like a sister.  She helps me when I need advice, she laughs at my stupid jokes and I can count on her for anything.  This is when I can say that I love getting older, because as I've gotten older I've met the most amazing people that are like family to me.  Its the best feeling knowing that even though you don't have your blood family nearby you have a handful of some pretty amazing people that will still do just about anything to help you and love you.
Sooooo...Beth and Jono had been contemplating for a while whether they wanted to have 1 more baby to see if just maybe a girl would join their group of all boys.  I don't think any of us really thought they would go through with it simply because it was always just a "hmm" conversation.  Well, it happened and Beth got pregnant.  I was seriously so excited that a new little baby was going to be coming along into our "group".  I mean all of us are pretty much done having kids and our youngest are terrors right now, so to have a little innocent baby to spoil made me want to dance.  As you can see Beth ended up with her 3rd boy, but of course couldn't be happier.  The day I got back into town I rushed right over to see this new addition and I was in aww.  Beth looked great, everyone seemed so calm and Dylan was just sleeping away.  Mr. Dylan is too cute, I'm looking forward to watching him grow and being part of his life as much as possible.  I feel like a proud Aunt!  I need to come up with a word for Friend Aunt...Frant?  I'll work on that!  

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Need to Relax? Rose City Sounds Perfect!

The kids and I took a trip to Michigan for 10 days.  While of course I had our agenda filled to the max, I planned a little getaway to help us relax and enjoy some Grandpa Dennis time.  We decided to head up to good ol’ Rose City for a couple of days to enjoy my dad’s amazing 2nd house/Grandpa Wes’ old farm.  My dad has done some amazing things with the house; it’s a major bonus that we don’t have to rough it even though most people who have 2nd homes up north usually do.  
(This is the life)
The kids wasted no time by running around the property while my dad and I could relax and catch up over some wine and cheese.  It’s the weirdest feeling to just let your kids roam free without constantly looking over your shoulder to make sure no one’s going to take them or they’re going to get hit by a car.  My dad has an apple tree behind his garage and the kids had a blast picking tiny premature apples.  Brody even bit into one and totally didn’t care.  It was nice that I didn’t care either, it was probably dirty and of course not ready to be eaten, but that’s how relaxed I felt.  I let the kids play in the sand that my dad had around his horseshoe pit and they got nice and dirty…I didn’t care.  It’s the best feeling especially for me to just let things go and be ok with the kids exploring at their own pace without me constantly saying “don’t do that, go wash your hands right away”…the list can go on and on.  We went with the flow, ordered pizza when we wanted, roasted marshmallows, watched the deer each morning and night grazing across the street, took it day by day as to what we wanted to do. 
("Let's go explore")
(Brody attempting to eat the apple)
(Smore time)
(The deer were always hanging out on this hill across the street from my dads property)
The second day my dad took us to this cool playground over by the creek that we spread my Grandpa’s ashes.  We let the kids play for a while and then took an amazing walk around the creek.  The history of this city is so intriguing.  My dad was telling me about the little cabins that still stand around the creek; they use to be rented by people that wanted to camp there.  They can’t be used now, but they were so tiny and really old looking.  As we walked closer to the spot where my grandpa was laid to rest in his special town of Rose City I found myself breathing in the air and just enjoying the silence all around me.  I felt so calm and at ease.  My mind actually stopped racing for a minute and I wasn’t thinking about the next thing we needed to do.  I was living in the moment (extremely rare for me).  My dad was trying to show the kids how to skip rocks and I must say he still had the touch.  Addison was trying so hard while Brody was just dumping a bunch of rocks into the creek.  These are the moments I’m going to look back and cherish with my dad and my kids.  It takes everything in me to not get a little emotional when I head up to Rose City with my dad, he loves this place and loves it even more that he gets to make memories with his Vranich grandkids.  It’s like watching a kid in a candy shop.  The excitement in his eyes can take your breath away; this is where he wants to be and where he wants to take people to enjoy life.
(The kids and I enjoying the beautiful creek)
(Love that old cabin behind the kids)
(Hi Grandpa Wes)
(Skipping rocks)
(Mysterious old cabin)
(Grandpa with his Addison)
(Brody's exploring)
(Even Addison enjoyed the fresh air)
By the end of our short trip we had lots of fun and the most perfect time having my dad to ourselves.  My kids will never forget this and as they get older I can say “remember when we went to Grandpa’s place in Rose City and we saw those 2 Llama’s running down the street”, they will respond with how crazy and funny that was.  I know at least Addi (hopefully Brody will remember too) and I will talk about that experience at least until I’m in my 60s or 70s.  I’ll eventually sound like my dad who constantly brings up going to my Grandpa’s farm.  I love being reminded of all the adventures we had with him and while I don’t remember some of them, there are plenty that I do.  This is what life is all about, I want to embrace my parent’s passions and while they spent most of their life trying to make me happy, it’s my turn to return the favor. 
Thanks Dad for such a wonderful trip that I don’t think any of us will ever forget!