Saturday, June 25, 2016

Moving ... Not for the faint of heart

Moving ... Fourteen years ago when we survived our first move, I told my husband that I never wanted to move again.  It is so much work and no matter how hard you try to simplify the process, it is stressful!!  We keep telling ourselves, baby steps.  Every box we pack, every trip to the storage unit, and every bag of trash we throw away, gets us closer to the finish line.  We are shocked with the amount of stuff that we have accumulated over the years.  I am convince that our stuff duplicates when we sleep.  It seems like a never ending mountain.  In the midst of the chaos, I find myself sad about leaving this home.  It has been a blessing in so many ways.  The memories that we have made in this house are many.  We brought four babies home from the hospital to this home. Kallie was only 2 weeks old when we moved in.  I remember the first time we meet our amazing neighbors.  A sweet and loving family from school that have become like family to us.  We would love to pack them up and take them with us.  Zoey (our dog) would love that.  She gets totally spoiled!  Our home has been filled with family and friends, celebrations, times of joy and times of sorrow.  I don't think my husband and I would of thought that we would be raising six kids in this home, which is the reason that we are moving.  We need more room.  I know that our new home will bring us a new set of amazing memories, but as I pack and stress out about getting everything packed in time, I will cherish the memories that I have and look forward to the new memories to come.  Home is where your heart is.  I guess it is time to get back to work ... We will survive!

Our old home.
 Our new home!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Five Years Later ... Baby, Full Time Job, Moving ... The Adventure Continues

Wow! It has been a while since my last post.  A lot has changed in the McElroy Family in the last 5 years.  Our biggest change is our newest addition to the family.  Reece Micah Rex was born on June 5, 2015.  He shares a birthday with his big sister Emma.  (She loves it!)  He was a huge, unbelievable, an amazing surprise that we were not expecting.  My "baby" Tanner is 9 so we thought we were way past the baby stage.  I guess God has a special sense of humor.  Didn't see that coming.  Reece has blessed us beyond our wildest imaginations.  I can't fathom life without our little miracle.  He is the best baby ever.  We just celebrated his first birthday.  Lots of cake and frosting everywhere, but what a fun day!!

I am currently working full time as a 4th grade teacher.  I just finished my 4th year.  It has been  challenging at times, but I love teaching.  I had the opportunity to teach Emma this year.  It is always a joy when I get to teach my kids.  Next year, I will have Tanner in my class.  I thought that would be the start of retirement, but Reece has changed that plan.  I have a few years before I get to teach him.

We are currently in the middle of selling our home and moving to a larger home.  These kids keep growing no matter how many times I tell them to stop and stay young.  As I look back over past posts and share them with the kids I am amazed at the many blessings that God has blessed me with.  What an unexpected adventure.  This is just the beginning ....

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Confessions of an Amateur Runner ... 8 mile run

One of the things that I love about running is that you don't need lots of expensive gadgets to enjoy this wonderful sport. That being said, I couldn't run without my music (my other passion) and my Asics running shoes (the best shoes, ever). These 2 treasures make my runs so much more enjoyable. I am currently in training for my second 1/2 marathon in March. Why, you ask? Well, because I enjoy racing and I love to run. Enjoy running... did that really come out of my mouth? If you would of told me 6 years ago that I would be running 8 miles and training for a 1/2 marathon, I would of told you that you didn't know me at all. Running has developed into a wonderful hobby that I love and get to share with some great friends. Somedays I really need to get away, enjoy the fresh air, and get a great workout in. Plus, it gives me an excuse to listen to my music.

Ok, sorry about that rant ... back to training. The 8 mile run. For some reason this run was scaring me. My training has not really gone as planned, due to five, adorable, but sometimes needy kids. Getting back on track has been a bit tricky. I was lucky to have a good friend join me for this run. A running buddy is a lifesaver when running over an hour. Even I can get bored :) The clear, blue sky and bright, shining sun that I woke up to this morning, made me believe that this run might turn out ok. A bit chilly, 32 degrees, but I can work with that. It was one of those runs that was on track from the start. First 4 mile lap went smoothly, a little windy, steady pace, and my legs were feeling strong. Lap 2 would of been perfect, minus the sidewalk that tried to take me out. I caught myself, luckily. I must of looked real cute trying not to face plant onto the sidewalk. ( Quit laughing at me)

Running has taught me a lot of life lessons, today I am reminded: why worry? I know that I will have good and bad days running. Worrying about which run I will face when I put on my running shoes robs me of the fun of running. If I can't enjoy the run, why run?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A little bit of everything ...

Well, so much for my goal of keeping my blog updated. Life is more crazy and busy as usual ... I am trying to stay above water. It is a challenge. Here is an update of my adventure called life.

Winter is dragging on and the family was hit with the flu bug, a real nasty one. One of the downfalls of having a family of 7 is that when a bug hits, it is almost impossible to get it to leave. Two and 1/2 weeks after the first family member got hit, we were done with round one. This week, round 2 hit. So far, 2 casualties, but I fear the war is not get over. These are the times when my patience as a mother is tried to the limit. Cleaning up sickness, getting sick, and taking care of the sick, get old very quickly. I am now praying that spring will come and the fresh air will help to air out the germs.

On to more exciting news .... Steve and I are planning a little getaway w/o children to Mexico this spring. We get to enjoy this trip with my mom and dad and we are really looking forward to it. We have never been out of the country (except Canada) so we are in the process of getting passports. Seems simple enough. Some paperwork, some fees, and wait. Oh, I only wish. Getting our original birth certificates have been a complete nightmare. Last week, after another issue, I almost lost it!!! We are finally in the final stages and now we just have to wait for processing. I am praying that 3 to 4 weeks, really means 3 to 4 weeks. April is right around the corner.

This once in a lifetime, romantic getaway has me thinking about getting my body swimsuit ready. No easy task, let me assure you. Yikes!!! Some days, I am convinced that a mother of 5 should never be allowed to wear a swimsuit!!! My brilliant plan to loose weight was to enter a half marathon race in March. I am a genius .. I know!!! I am now into week 7 of my 12 week training and I forgot how much time was required to train. What was I thinking. Weight loss is slow going and I am actually building muscles in my legs, which you would think is good, but not really!!! To add to my trouble, with all this working out, I am so hungry all the time. In my desperation, I may attempt the Cabbage Soup Diet, but I don't know if I am strong enough. Cabbage gets old very fast.

Well, that is my life this last month. It is not all bad. I do have an amazing husband that puts up with all my drama, 5 wonderful children that make life full and exciting, and my dear friends that keep me balanced when I start to fall. My life is pretty good, looking forward to the next month's challenges. I am stronger than I think ... at least most of the time :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

January 11, 2011

Today seems like a good day for a fresh start ....

Eleven days into the New Year and I am already seeing some of my New Year's Resolutions testing me. This is not anything new, but I was secretly hoping for a quick fix on some of them. You know what I mean. The ones that take a lot of work and disciple!!! In reality, the quick fix doesn't really "fix" anything. It is the process that we go through that builds our character and molds us into the people that we desire to be. I need to be reminded of that. No matter how many times I fall flat on my face, I will get up and try again. So today, I will look forward to this new year and get excited for the adventure to come. Here are just a few of the things that I am looking forward to this year .... in no particular order of importance :)

* Spring - sunny, light breeze, perfect weather for a run or a day at the park
* Soccer - watching the kids play soccer. It gets so crazy, but so fun to watch
* The last day of school, and the first day of school ... moms everywhere know what I mean
* The day when my hair finally grows out to the length I want ... I might not make it to see this one
* Vacation - always a highlight of the year
* March 20. 2011 - Second 1/2 marathon ... if I make it through training
* Mexico this spring with mom and dad, counting down the days ... so excited!!
* Meeting my new body, after I reach my goal ... I hear she looks amazing!
* Watching my kids grow a year older and all the wonderful lessons they are going to learn and teach me in the process.
* Spending another year with the man of my dreams ... so blessed!
* Building deeper friendships
* Watching what God is going to do this year with Gilead ... always amazing to watch
* Getting to know Him a little better, and becoming a better women because of Him!

What are you looking forward to this year?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Updates ... it is about time!

As you can imagine a lot has happened since my last blog. Since my last entry was so depressing, I will give you the highlights of the last few months.
(BTW - the baggage is still lost, but "they are trying to locate it" How nice of them!)

SCHOOL STARTED!!!!! Yeah!! Maybe now I can keep my house clean for more than 5 minutes!

Here are my kids on the first day of school. They look so happy. I love it! Hayden (oldest) is in 5th grade this year. His first year in middle school. He was pretty nervous, but is doing well. He did tell me last night that he didn't want to go to school anymore. I told him, "Ok, just stay home with mommy and have summer all year round, and live with mom and dad forever." He said, "Yes, I want to do that!" I love him, but my sarcasm is completely lost on that boy. Kallie is in 3rd grade and loving it. She loves school and excels in whatever she puts her mind to. She is playing B-ball and soccer this season and dad is her coach in both. Fun times! Ry is in first grade. She also loves school and is my social butterfly. It is a wonder that she gets anything done at school, but she is doing great. Smart girl! Emma and Tanner are both going to preschool 3 times a week in the morning. Yes, you heard that right. Three mornings a week, I am free for a few hours. Of course, I love it! My only problem is that I never get everything done that I want to. Oh well, something to work on, I guess.

Rylee turns seven and gets new glasses! Here is her photo shoot from JcPenny's. Wow! It is so hard to decide what to buy. Too cute!!

Emma is five!! Mom had a hard time with this b-day. She is getting much too old. Her photo shoot was great! So sweet! Love her eyes!

Cabrini Soccer is underway~ This year we have 4 kids playing and 3 teams to juggle! It is a little crazy, but I do ok with crazy. I have 5 kids. I am getting good at it!

Dad coaches Kal and Ry's team~ Blue Streak
They are doing great. Ry is a tough little player and Kal is scary good. I love watching them play!

Tanner is on a team by himself this year. I think he likes it, but he gets easily distracted! See what I mean. It is comical to watch!
Emma is going to be like her sister Kallie. Nothing gets in her way. Once she understands the game a little better, she is going to be a superstar! How cute does she look! I love it!
That is the highlights of our life right now. Now you can see why my blog has been abandoned. I will do better, or at least, I will try! Steve is busy as ever with school, athletics, church, coaching, etc. I am helping coach the Cross Country team this year. It has been a lot of fun. It keeps me busy, but I have enjoyed getting to know the kids better. So off to do some chores. Talk to you soon!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Some Days You Just Need to Cry ...

The last few days have been a whirlwind of emotions. Ups and downs, highs and lows. Let's get you caught up with the craziness of the last 48 hours.

Monday - July 26th 12:30 pm.

Me and the kids are pulling into our driveway after visiting dad at school, talking all about what our favorite part of vacation is. Tomorrow at 4:30am we will be getting up and heading to Idaho to visit my family. The kids love to travel and the excitement is building. As I am helping Tanner out of the car, I hear a scream erupt from my backyard. "What are the kids doing now!" As I am getting ready to give a great mom speech about getting along with each other and being kind, I am cut off by the cries of my 2 younger daughters, a back door pane with shattered glass, and Kallie standing wide-eyed hands out and blood pouring down her arm. I drop everything, grab a beach towel off the clothesline,wrap her bleeding wrist, yell at the kids to run to the car. As you can imagine the car ride to the ER was a nightmare. Everyone is talking at once, the girls are crying, "is Kal going to die? what are we doing? what is ER?" I am trying to keep it together and Kal is doing pretty good and telling me that it doesn't hurt that bad. I tell the kids no more talking, mom has to concentrate and drive. I am telling myself, "keep it together Steph, don't crash the car, stop shaking and don't cry." At the ER, Steve meets us, I am trying to sign Kal in and comfort Ry and Emma who are so scared. Steve decides to take the other kids and I stay with Kallie. They tell us that she will need stitches, but she would be fine. Once, my heart rate gets back down to normal I find out that Kal was racing Hayden to the back door and put her hands up to brace herself from hitting the door and the glass shattered. She was so upset about breaking the door, she keep saying she was so sorry. I told her that we did not care about the stupid door, we only cared about her. Three hours later, and with 15 stitches in her left wrist, we left the ER and headed home. Now mom has to finish packing for our trip tomorrow. A little behind schedule ... oh well :)

Tuesday - July 27th 4:00 am Vacation Begins ....

Three hours of sleep is not enough, but I have 2 plane rides today. Maybe I will sleep on the plane. Get in the shower. Finish packing. Wake up 5 sleepy kids and 1 sleepy husband and head to the van. By 5:45 am all 7 McElroy members are in the plane, buckled in an ready for our trip. In a few hours, I will be home and visiting with my family. Yes!!!! NOT!!!!! The adventure was just beginning.

7:30am Arrive in Denver. Find food. Shove food down. Get in line for the next flight that leaves at 8:10am. We would be arriving in Spokane at 9:30am. Steve went to get our seat assignments and I watched the kids. He comes back and says that the flight is overbooked and they are waiting to get our seats arranged so that we can sit together. Oh, how sweet!!!

7:50am (Over the loud speaker) "This flight is full, we are offering $400.00 vouchers and meal vouchers for anyone that would be willing to give up their seat and leave on the next flight leaving at 9:35pm." I laughed and looked at Steve, who, by the way was looking at me like -Wow! That would be a lot of money for future tickets. After giving him the stink eye, I said, " Who in their right mind would hang out at the Denver airport for 12 hours for only $400.00. Crazy!!" Meantime, the plane is boarding, and boarding, and boarding. By now, I am starting to panic. "Go check again." Finally, they tell us that they have enough seats. Great!! We walk down the walkway get on the plane and the stewardess says, "who can sit alone?" Steve takes Tanner and sits in a row. Hayden is taken to some random seat, then Kal. By now, I am getting ready to lose it. I did not pay a lot of money for my family to be scattered around this plane by themselves. Everyone is giving us dirty looks because we are delaying takeoff. It turns out that they only have 4 seats. "Four of you can go, but 3 need to get off or you all need to get off." I told her to call my husband and get him off the plane. So we get pull 5 crying kids off the plane and walk back. In the walkway, we hear this lovely news, "McElroy family... McElroy family, because you did not take the 4 seats that were available to you, we will only give you 3 vouchers." That just about put me over the edge. Good thing Steve was there to calm me down.

8:15am I am looking at the 5 crying faces of my children and hearing them say, "we don't get to go see Grandma and Grandpa with the boat! Why? What is happening? We have to wait how long?" I wanted to throw something or cry or both.

9:30am We had been at customer service getting help. Praise God we had a wonderful women that did everything she could to make this not as painful. We got travel and food vouchers and a flight at 11:30am to Seattle, a 3 hour layover and then a flight to Spokane that arrived at 6:00pm. instead of 11:00pm. Thank you. Not perfect, but manageable. Kal was hurting a little from her stitches and we needed to keep her antibiotics cold, but that we could manage. Better than being stuck in an airport for 13 hours.

6:00pm Arrived, finally in Spokane. It is now 9:00pm our time and we have been traveling for 15 hours. Wow!!! Just a 45 min. drive home to Idaho and the worse is behind us. Well, not quite. Three bags are waiting for us, but we had 4. Hayden and Tanner have no clothes, but they assured us that we would have the bag by the next morning.

Wed. July 28th - No bag. Not yet!

Thursday July 29th - No bag. No phone call. No one calling us back. But Tanner did wake us up throwing up. Lovely, the kid that has no clothes, now will be throwing up all over the only set of clothes he has. And the rain keeps falling. Then the call we had been waiting for. No bag. Start saving your receipts. You will be reimbursed. Great!! I do like shopping, though. And with someone else's money. OK Let's do this ...

Things that I have learned in the last few days ....

* Thankful to God for protecting my Kallie girl. It could of been so much worse.
* Thankful that Kal and I got to talk for 2 hours, just the 2 of us in the ER. She is an amazing girl. So brave, so smart, so funny. I love you sweet girl.
* No one is perfect, especially the airlines.
* God gives us gifts in interesting ways.
* My family is wonderful. I am so happy that I got to come and visit. I look forward to all the special memories that we are going to make in the next 13 days.
* Tanner is a great kid, even when he is sick.
* I love my husband so much. Thank you for fighting for our family and keeping me from losing my mind. You are the best!
* Things can always get worse.