Friday, August 30, 2013

We Love Where We Live

When we found out in January of 2010 that we would be moving to Offutt AFB in Omaha, Nebraska we really didn't know what to expect.  I had driven through Omaha a couple of times on my way from Minnesota to visit Brian at the Air Force Academy in Colorado but I don't think I'd ever stopped in Omaha. I knew that they had the College World Series, Omaha Steaks, corn, and that Jimmy Buffet's brother lived here (yes I was that naive to think Warren and Jimmy were related), but that was about it.  We knew a guy in pilot training that was from this area and he told us to buy a house in Papillion. 

Brian receiving his wings...NE here we come! :)

 We arrived here in the beginning of February of 2010 and in 48 hours (I was a good 33 weeks pregnant with Brady and DESPERATE to get settled) we bought a great starter house in Papillion, NE.  We really knew nothing about the area other than it was ranked as a great place to live, it got snow, and there was a Target and a Dairy Queen nearby (priorities, people, priorities).  Finally in March of 2010 (35 weeks preggers) we closed on our home (we had stayed in a furnished apartment in Ralston) and I loved it. 

I honestly think that Nebraska has some of the nicest, most helpful people of anywhere I've ever lived or visited.  I can't tell you how many times people offer their help when they see me with both kids; offering to help with a child, help carry things for me, open doors, or just simply offer an encouraging word.  You don't find that everywhere. As far as where we live, we're just far enough from base (about 15 minutes) that our neighborhood isn't all military but there is some, so you have that good mix. We have a great open air mall, tons of family friendly restaurants, lots of options for shopping, tons of parks and recreation trails, and golf courses too. We're not far from downtown Omaha (about 10-15 min), not far from Midtown (about 15 min), and not far from all of the shopping and dining out in Western Omaha (15-20 minutes).  So it's easy to see why Money Magazine has rated Papillion in the top 10 best places to live for 10 years straight. From Money Magazine,   "Papillion is a regular on our list because of its top-notch schools, safe streets, and 15-minute, traffic-jam-free commute to Omaha, home of major employers in industries like financial services and health care.
There are also plenty of jobs around town. Black Hills Energy and Nebraska's largest credit union recently moved their headquarters to Papillion. The town scores additional points for having the most affordable homes in the top 10, a wealth of green spaces, including 13 parks and a 17-mile trail system, and a new AAA baseball stadium. (Go, Storm Chasers!)"

Last night our city had a huge party to celebrate this honor

We all got nifty stickers to wear too.

Brady watching the band play at the Sumpter Amphitheater

Hyvee sponsored the event and we all had a great dinner that was free!

And they had bounce castles which Brady loved

And this hilly path that provided Brady with minutes of fun until we said we needed to go home (105 degree heat index, blah!)

We hope that the Air Force keeps us for years to come (which is a reality with the air frame Brian flies).  We've even discussed retiring here! If you had told me that even 4 years ago, I would have said you were nuts!!  Even though we're the type of people to make the best out of wherever we live, we truly, absolutely love it here.  I can only hope that my children can start school in the great systems here and that they can learn those great Midwestern values.  Now if we could only get rid of that winter thing...then this place would be doggone perfect! :)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Heat Wave!

The hot days just keep on coming. We've had an amazing summer weather- wise though, so I guess I can't complain. It's just gross to run in and my kids are sweaty messes after playing outside for about 10 minutes.  In other news, we survived day 2 of preschool! No tears from anyone and only lots of excitement all around.  YAY!!  I'm late in posting this but last Tuesday was just crazy nutso busy.  We had his first day of preschool, a squadron picnic, naps, and then had friends over for dinner. Here are a couple more pictures from that day:
Brady in the bounce house with his friend Judah

The dunk tank at the bbq...hilarious!

That night we had our friends over for dinner. Brian was flying that night and their daddy was out of town on business so we celebrated the boys first day of preschool with a little pool party!  And ice cream and cupcakes too, of course!

It's safe to safe the cupcakes and ice cream were a hit!

Brayden and Brady with their water balloons

It was all of their first time with water balloons and they all thought it was pretty much the best thing ever.

Having fun with water balloons to beat the heat!

We also did some Playdoh and Layla had a couple tastes too. That girl, I tell you, will eat ANYTHING!
MMM, ice cream!

Thankful for good friends to celebrate with! :)  We're looking forward to a nice long 4 day weekend. Hopefully some cooler weather will be on the way!!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Truthful Tuesday: Brady's 1st day of preschool and I was the only one who cried

Brady started preschool today and he was so incredibly excited.  And I was too, don't get me wrong!  But it hit me as he walked ahead of me into that preschool room with all of the confidence in the world that he's growing up and before I know it he'll be all grown up and not my little boy anymore.  Everything I've ever wanted for him: to be confident, self assured, and independent, I saw today in that sweet little 3 year old. And I know now that this is the start of me letting go a little bit. To let him try more things on his own. To let him fall and make his own mistakes.  To let him take 20 bajillion minutes to put his own shorts, shirt, socks, and shoes on himself.  The tears I cried in that room, on the walk to the car, in the car, (and lets be honest the ones at home too) were not all tears of sadness.  I'm proud of the little boy he's become, the boy he's going to be, and the man he will turn into.  Brady Ross, I love you to the moon and back.  And please don't be embarrassed when I'm that mom in your freshman dorm crying my eyes out.

First day of 3 year old preschool!

Posing with his big boy backpack

I just love this one of him.

Layla the ballerina and Brady the comedian??

"Now Brady, I have some words of wisdom for you.  Eat as many snacks as you can. That's all I've got."

Marching ahead of Mommy and Daddy into preschool.

And this is when the tears started (for me of course).

Hanging up his backpack

Brady's name

"Mom, Dad, Layla! I had so much fun at preschool!! I LOVE preschool!"  

Big boy after his first day!

On a lighter note, Jenn congrats on winning the Happy Family giveaway!! :)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Weekend Recap: Soccer, Snot, and everything in between!

Hope everyone had a good weekend! Ours was PHAT (pretty hot and tiring).  We're stuck in a random heat wave (heat index is supposed to be 110 today, yay) so we've been taking advantage of the splash parks.  Which brings me to the beginning of our weekend...
Friday night was very warm so we took the kiddos to the Cimarron Park Splash Pad in La Vista

Brady was mostly interested in splashing us

Layla was mostly interested in climbing the stairs and trying to hurt herself

But they both had a fascination with this lily pad (?) thing

We also took a walk along the trails.  I just love how Layla asks to hold hands. It used to be a fight and a struggle when Brady was that age!

The next morning bright and early Brady had his very first soccer game.  Doesn't it look like he's greeting his fans?

In his soccer gear all ready to play!

Brayden and Brady! I think we may need to stop having them in things together because people are forever messing up their names!

Can't find Brady? Oh he's the only one with the soccer ball in his hands!

Having fun doing some drills

He loved the drills part of it

But the game part...not so much. He pretty much stared at the kids like "What the heck are you doing?" And "The people not sharing the ball!"  I get it bud, soccer is confusing!

A video of Brady's first time in the game.  He did chase after the ball but was pretty confused at first! In his defense he's the youngest on the team and we've pretty much only ever kicked a ball around with him. Maybe we should have set up some goals in the backyard and practiced a little! What can I say, we may be a baseball family?? ;)  

Layla wanted to play SOOO bad too!

After soccer Brady and I headed to the library for their Thomas party.

He got to do some Thomas bowling, have some Thomas snacks, make a Thomas carrying case...

and read Thomas books

Storytime.  Busted! I had no idea she saw me...!

Time for naps after that and then we headed to the Greek Festival.

What's more Greek than a pony ride?

Brady's first pony ride and he had SO much fun!

Our group at the Greek Festival. We were all sweating bullets in the 100 degree heat but the food was worth it! :)

Layla loved the food! Proof she is an eating machine. I'm pretty sure this was spanakopita.  Chowed it down.

Here's Brady eating a Greek hot dog.  Aka an Oscar Meyer hot dog. 

My first gyro ever (I'm so not cultured!)....delish!!

Brady and Judah of course had to show all the ladies their dance moves.

They got the attention of one lady at least. Opa!

The next morning Jessica and I met bright and early to train for our 10k (3 weeks and counting...eee!). The humidity was 90% and we were sweaty messes (no pictures, I'm sorry) but we ran 6.35 miles!!  I came home completely exhausted and Brian had graciously gotten the kids ready for the day. 

 And this is why I normally lay out clothes for the kids if he's dressing them. His response was.."What?? It's all pink?"  

I give her props though. She rocked it the best she could.

Layla all weekend was a little snotty and seemed to be battling a cold. And Sunday after naps it got the best of her.  Poor girl just isn't feeling too hot today.  I'm worried it'll turn into yet another ear infection which just may put her in the realm of ear tubes land.  :(

So that was our weekend!  This week we're going to try and stay cool (and healthy)! My big boy starts preschool tomorrow (sniff, sniff) and (YAY, YAY!).  Have a good week everyone! :)
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