Sunday, September 30, 2012

Day Out with Thomas

Yesterday was a long day for us.  We drove to Austin, picked up my mom at my sister's house and then drove another hour to Burnet, TX so we can take a ride on Thomas the Train!
"Mommy - why are you making me stand out here in the rain?"
It was pouring rain when we got there and we weren't there long enough to do all the activities that were set up (and I'm guessing that due to the rain some of the activities weren't set up).  When we first arrived we headed to the imagination station because it was under a tent.  Jacob was in heaven playing with some trains for a little while as we passed some time until we were ready to brave the weather and get in line to get on the train.

Just trying to keep these two from running away
Jacob was in heaven - I guess it's time to pull his set back out again
Sadly, Jacob went for a potty break and wasn't there when Thomas first pulled up for our ride.  My mom and I took care of the twins while Justin took care of Jacob on the train ride.  Justin definitely got the better end of that deal.  We were wrestling 2 19-month olds who really didn't want to be stuck on our laps.  Luckily the weather was nice and cool outside - if it had been typical hot Texas weather it would have been a bit miserable and crowded with two adults and two kids sitting in two seats.
The beginning of the ride before things went crazy
He might not look it, but I'm pretty sure Jacob was happy
After our train ride we walked around to have pictures taken with Thomas.  It was neat to see recognition on both Jeremy and Joel's faces when they saw Thomas.  Joel even pointed and jabbered in his own special language, Jeremy started jumping in my arms (which he does when he is excited).

When it was our turn, we put Jacob up on the box and he got so excited.  He pointed at Thomas, looked down at his shirt and started doing a little dance.  We had a lot of trouble getting him to turn around so we could get pictures taken of him.  We kept having to turn him around.

"Turn around Jacob!"

Got him to turn for a few seconds

"Jacob, turn around and look at Grandma!"

Wow - a pic of all 5 of us - that never happens!
Overall it was a tough adventure - 3 hours in the van to get there, another 3 hours to get home.  Twins who didn't get very good naps on the drive, our train ride was during the kids' dinnertime but it was the only time we could do.  But seeing the kids be so excited at seeing a life-size Thomas made it all worth it in the end.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Justin and Julie - Part 3

I'm telling the story of how Justin and I met and became a couple for our posterity.  The story is long, so I've divided it into three parts.

Start with Part 1 here.

Then read Part 2 here.


I didn't want to be dating Jared anymore and I had blown it with Justin.  However with only 2 weeks until Valentine's Day I decided that instead of being alone I would not break up with Jared just yet, but would wait until after the holiday celebrating couples was over.  Justin was dating that other girl anyway.

Valentine's Day was a disappointment, as I expected.  I think Valentine's Day was on a Friday and I'm pretty sure that Jared and I were not supposed to see each other again all weekend.  I was happy about that.  I thought it would be better to break up the next weekend because I didn't want him to think it was all about him not getting me flowers even though I had told him that it was the only thing I wanted.

So I was surprised when Jared showed up at my apartment Sunday evening.  It was an awkward evening of him just hanging out at my apartment when I didn't want him there.  After a movie had ended, I asked him to leave so I could head to bed.  And then he suggested that we break up.  I was relieved, but wasn't I supposed to be dumping him for being such a jerk practically the entire time we dated?  I was also upset that I had wasted time on him and lost an opportunity with Justin.

The next couple days I was just sad.  I obviously hadn't been thinking before when I told Justin that I didn't want to date him.  Now he was dating someone else.

SiLynn, also from church, had also broken up with her boyfriend over Valentine's weekend and we decided that we needed to go out and have fun that Friday night by going to dinner and seeing a new comedy that was out (I can't remember what it was).  But then we decided it was lame for just the two of us to go out and we should invite others to go with us.  I suggested to her that I invite Justin, but she wanted me to invite Justin's roommate instead.  She planned to invite Jay who had a crush on her, but she wanted to only be friends with him.

Since I knew I was going to have lots of spare time on my hands, I went with Stephanie to buy fabric so we could begin quilting.  On our way to the store together I told her how Jared and I had broken up, how I was an idiot to have dated him ever since I had moved there and how he was a jerk.  She was a great listening ear and told me she was sorry.

But then Stephanie said - "Julie - I bet you want some time to yourself for a little bit.  But can I just tell you, that when you decide you are ready to date someone else you should think about Justin."

I knew that she was good friends with Justin, but maybe not as good of friends as I thought they were.  Did she not know that I had shot him down almost 6 months earlier?  And that I had seen him with the other girl only a couple weeks before?

I told her that I had gone out with Justin when I first moved into town, but that we were just friends and I was sure he wasn't interested in me.  Plus I thought he was dating someone else.

"Oh Julie.  I don't know about him dating anyone else, but even if he was I don't think it would matter.  That boy has been completely enamored with you since you showed up around here.  ENAMORED."

Was she right?  Did I still have a shot with him?  

In order to find out, I called him as soon as I got home.  He sounded tired and not very enthusiastic.  I asked if he had plans for Friday night and he said he was going to be watching a movie with a group at someone's place.  But he asked what was going on so I told him about SiLynn and mine's plan for dinner and movie.  He said he would join us instead.  We said goodbye, but I couldn't tell at all what he might be thinking.  He just sounded apathetic.

When the four of us went out that Friday night, SiLynn was very clear that this was not a double date - we were just four friends having dinner and seeing a movie.  But while we waited for the movie to start I told Justin that Jared and I had broken up.  He acted surprised and I found out he had only gone out with the other girl from school a few times and he wasn't seeing her anymore.

As the next week passed, we talked to each other a few times and when we saw each other at the Thursday night activity at the church we made plans to go on our second date the next night - exactly 6 months after our first date.


In case you were wondering: 
Justin had a massive headache the night I called him to invite him to dinner - which is why he sounded so apathetic on the phone with me.  He said he was very happy to find out the next day from Stephanie that Jared and I had broken up.

Justin and I refer to the five and a half months I dated Jared as my "Justin Appreciation Course".

Justin read each of these posts before I published them so I could make sure I was remembering things correctly and not writing anything he wouldn't want published.

SiLynn didn't want Jay to think they were on a date when the four of us went out because she only wanted to be friends with him.  They got married three months before Justin and I got married and they have four children.

I think Jared thought we might get back together one day.  He called me every couple weeks to chat and would seem annoyed that I wasn't more talkative with him.  But, finally, I was the one to call him.  I told him, one day the first week of July, that Justin and I had gotten engaged.  Then he never called me again.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Justin and Julie - Part 2

I'm writing a detailed account of how Justin and I met and became a couple for our posterity.  It is long, so I've decided to write in three separate parts.

If you haven't read Part 1, read it here first.


Besides belonging to the same church and attending FSU, Jared and I didn't have much in common.  But for the first month or so we got a long great, except for his love of hunting.  Sadly I learned all too much about hunting while we were dating including the fact that the hunting seasons in Georgia and Florida are super long.

Jared's family had a hunting cabin in Georgia and most weekends he headed up there with his dad and brother to hunt.  I would always ask him to not go and to spend time with me instead, however he frequently told me that he HAD to hunt and that I could always call Justin and see what other people were doing if I was bored or wanted something to do.

Yes, my boyfriend would tell me to call the guy he didn't want me to go out with when I first moved there to see if we could do something together.  It was strange.  Sometimes Jared acted like he was jealous of Justin which was odd - did I not choose to date Jared over Justin?  Others times he kind of made fun of Justin and acted like he couldn't believe that Justin thought he had a shot with me over him.  Insecure, I guess.

So every once in a while Justin and I would do things together over the weekend.  Always just as friends and always with other people involved.  However once just the two of us rode down to Orlando to visit the Orlando LDS Temple, but someone else joined the two of us on the way back.

I enjoyed getting to know Justin better, but still never thought of him as anything other than a friend.

As that first semester that I was back in school went by, I liked Jared less and less.  The first month or so we dated he was considerate and kind, then he started being more selfish and self-absorbed.  I made excuses for him - after all, he was having a rough time with a new job, he was in his last year of school so his classes were harder than they had been before, etc.  I kept thinking that he would change back to the way he was before.  I kept thinking that I could change him back.  I think that is why I dated him for about 5 and a half months.

I was grateful to go home and spend Christmas break with my family and I hoped that when I got back to Tallahassee, Jared and I would start out the way we originally started out.  But the time away that he spent with his family made things worse.  His mother babied him and did everything for him.  I heard from both him and her that when it was cold outside she would go out and start his truck and get it running for him so it wouldn't be as cold.  She insisted that he (and his brother and dad) never had to do dishes - it was her job.  Little things like this had actually ruined Jared.

I started feeling like Jared and I needed to break up, but I was dragging my feet.  I had already invested almost 5 months in him, maybe I could still get back to the Jared I had first met somehow.  I even asked him once if we should not be dating anymore and just be friends.  He said no and I told him that he didn't act like someone that I wanted to be dating.  I thought we were going to break up then, but we decided we would stay together.

It was the end of January and I went to an activity up at the church that the singles' ward was having.  I was just kind of glad to get out without Jared.  They were learning some swing dance steps and, as usual with this type of activity, there were too many girls and not enough guys.  I sat on the stage to watch.  I didn't really know people very well, I had chosen to date Jared instead of getting to know people.  I watched people play around and flirt with each other and I wished I had more friends there.

Then Justin walked in.  And he wasn't alone.  Following close behind him (maybe they were holding hands?  I can't remember) was a pretty girl who was tall and thin with long, dark hair.

I was jealous.

I left to drive myself home and didn't stay to watch everyone anymore.  I kept thinking two things.

One - I needed to break up with Jared.

And two - I had messed everything up five months earlier.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Justin and Julie - Part 1

Last week was 10 years since Justin and I went on our first date together.  I posted once before (although I don't remember when) that there were 6 months between our first date and our second date (first date August 28, 2002; second date February 28, 2003) and said that I might tell why one day.  I decided that since this is my journal I would document the story - one day my kids can read it, and their kids can read it, etc.  I'm telling a long, detailed account for my own memories, so I've decided to tell it in 3 parts.

In 2002, after not caring for my job as an actuary for a little while and feeling super burnt out on having to take these terrible actuarial exams every 6 months I decided to go back to school and get a master's degree in statistics.  My plan was to open new career opportunities for myself (preferably in biostatistics) and then if I ever did get married and have children I would be able to teach at the college level with a master's degree.

I applied to 3 schools and was accepted to all 3 and offered fellowships at 2 of the 3 (BYU offers something similar but couldn't guarantee me how much of my tuition would be covered by working for them, whereas Iowa State and Florida State both could).  I decided to attend Florida State and in August of 2002 I quit my job and moved all my belongings from Houston to Tallahassee.

I actually met Justin at church about a week before classes started, and he talked to me a little the next night at Family Home Evening as well.  He seemed nice and friendly, but I was seriously just trying to get my bearings since I was starting over in a new place.  It was pouring rain as everyone was leaving FHE and Justin and another guy each had these huge umbrellas, so they were taking turns walking people to their cars.  I remember Justin walked me to my car and got my phone number (he said because he needed it as the ward clerk) before running back to help someone else to their car.

I should probably pause here and say I can't tell the story of how Justin and I started dating without also telling the story of Jared and I.

That weekend was the last "free weekend" before classes started.  One of my fellow students in the stats program had suggested we go to dinner so I was just hanging out at my new home until it was time to meet him when someone showed up at my door.  To my surprise it was Jared, who I had also met at church but hadn't really talked to much.  I never found out how he found out where I lived, but he said he hadn't really gotten to chat with me and since I was new he wanted to see how I was doing, etc.

While visiting with me he told me that his roommates and some other friends were all going to be attending a back-to-school party the next night and he wanted to make sure I knew about it.  He claimed that there would be quite a few others from our singles' ward at church and he offered to give me a ride.  I was glad to be included in something since I was new and I admit I was a little attracted to him.

The next night we went to this party and it was just weird.  The party was thrown by his roommate's mother and there were a total of about 4 of us from the singles' ward there.  Everyone else were about my parents' age or older.  Nevertheless, I felt attracted to Jared and he was quite the gentleman.  And to be honest I was a little shocked that someone seemed interested in me when I just moved there.  Let me tell you - this did not happen when I moved to Houston after BYU.

The next Monday evening (just over a week after I had arrived in Tallahassee) Jared gave me a ride to FHE and when it was over, Justin came over and said that it was his birthday and some people were taking him out for ice cream but then people were going to be meeting at his apartment to watch a movie.  I told him thanks, but I rode with Jared.  Justin then said that we were both welcome to come over and he left.  

Let me tell you, Jared did not want us to go to Justin's.  He said he didn't want to hang out with the people that would be there and he made it seem like he didn't really like anyone that might be there.  But I convinced him that it was good for me to go so I could meet more people.

Justin seemed happy to see us and after showing me his pocket PC and comparing it to my Palm Pilot (he was a geek from the start) everyone settled in to watch the movie.  Jared kept putting his arm around me and holding my hand and I felt like Justin kept looking at us, which made me feel a bit uncomfortable.  But uncomfortable in that I wished Jared would back off a little and not uncomfortable that Justin might be looking at us, if that makes sense.  I remember that by the end of the night I felt pretty aggravated with Jared, like he was trying to let people know that I was his property or something.

The next day I got a call from Justin, asking if I was free to go out the next night.  Part of me felt like I should say no because of Jared.  But I decided that there was nothing wrong with going out with Justin and I wanted to get to know him better.  That night Jared came over and I told him I was going out with Justin the next night and he was not happy.  He didn't think I should go out with anyone else and I pretty much informed him that we never said we were dating exclusively and felt even more resolve to go out with Justin.

The next day Jared surprised me by calling me a few hours before my date with Justin asking if he could meet me and talk to me.  He told me that he liked me a lot, more than he had ever liked anyone he had just met and asked me to not go out with Justin.  Even though I was annoyed about him acting so possessive a couple nights previous, I was still very interested in him and attracted to him.  I told him that I wouldn't cancel my date with Justin and that it was a little soon for us to say that we wouldn't see anyone else.

That night Justin and I went bowling on campus and then to The Pitaria for gyros.  We found we had lots in common - we were both starting masters programs, we had similar taste in movies and owned some of the same ones, as well as similar taste in music and were both fans of Guster, who most people had never heard of.

But on my part, there wasn't really any chemistry.  Justin seemed like someone I could be great friends with, but I wasn't attracted to him.

So that weekend I told Jared that I wouldn't date anyone else which he was super happy about and the next Sunday when Justin asked me out again I told him that I had also been going out with Jared a few times and that we decided not to date other people, but that I hoped he and I could be friends.

He smiled and said, "Of course we'll be friends."

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Backyard Fun

We should have been playing outside all summer, but for some reason we didn't really start playing outside until about a week ago.

I got an awesome blow-up pool from Target online so we decided to have some of our friends over for a little water party the Friday before school started.  In addition to my 3 kids there were 10 other kids that came over to play.  All of us moms have been friends for 4-5 years and we were talking about how in the world did we end up with so many kids?  When we first were becoming friends, there were only 2 children (none of which were mine, by the way).  It is crazy to see how much our families have all grown in such a short time.

Anyway - pretty much every night for the past week after the kids eat dinner, we strip them down and they play outside in their birthday suits.  On Friday though, Jacob took off his clothes while I was trying to get dinner ready.  Once Jacob does something, his brothers are ready to follow along so we decided to go ahead and let them play outside and have a picnic once the pizza I was making was done.  Are you ready for the cutest picture ever?

I decided that it was modest enough to share and too adorable not to share.

My kids say "We like eating outside naked!"

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Back to School - Our new routine

The only picture I got of Jacob looking happy about going back to school

Now that Jacob is back to school we have picked up a new routine and so far it is working pretty well.   Last year when Jacob started school he went in the mornings - the bus picked him up around 8:15am and dropped him off around 12:15pm.  Then his teachers found out that he doesn't take naps and they mentioned that maybe he would be in the afternoon class next year.  

At first I thought - please, no.  But then as I thought about it I started really hoping he would be in the afternoon class.  Jacob doesn't get up at a set time every morning, and it isn't abnormal for him to sleep in.  I had some school mornings where I was carrying him out of bed at 7:45am, trying to force him to eat quickly, fighting him to get him dressed and running around like crazy trying to get him out the door and on to the bus.  Those battles were awful and super stressful.

But I also started thinking about how our scheduling would work out for the day.  Last school year the twins were still taking 2 naps and were ready to go down for their first naps around 10:30am.  The twins and I would hurry to the gym after Jacob left on the bus, I would work out for about an hour and then I would bring them home, put them down for naps and then take a shower.  But now they only take one nap and typically go down between 11:30 and noon.  If the bus dropped Jacob off around noon - when would I take a shower?  And when would I be able to get anything done around the house during the day without a little helper making messes, etc.?  

That was the selfish part of me, but also as far as Jacob is concerned - he enjoys going to the gym and playing while I work out.  He looks forward to it in the mornings and get excited when I tell the boys it is time to go bye-bye.  And when I try to get things done during the twins' nap, he is bored out of his mind.  We also just started private speech therapy for Jacob that is Monday mornings and it is not so easy to get afternoon appointments.

So I started hoping that I would find out Jacob was placed in the afternoon class.  When I hadn't heard anything from his teacher a couple weeks before school started, I emailed to find out he had been placed in the morning class.  I asked his teacher if there was anyway for him to be in the afternoon and luckily, they were able to get him switched.  Yay!!

After a week of being back in school, it seems like the transition has gone pretty smoothly.  When we get home from the gym I feed all the kids their lunch (and they all cry that they are starving since they no longer get a snack and milk when we get home).  Then I put the twins down for their naps, get Jacob to use the potty and brush his teeth and then after just a few minutes of waiting the bus arrives and Jacob is off to school.

The twins can't agree so far to both take good naps on the same day, but I have been able to be much more productive than I have been in a long, long time (maybe since getting pregnant with twins?).

As far as the first day of school, I wanted to make a sign for Jacob to hold signifying the year or something but I wasn't sure what to put on the sign.  This isn't his first year of preschool since he was part of the program half of last year.  And he'll be in the program next year too so it isn't his last year.  Then I realized that Jacob wouldn't just stand and hold a sign for me anyway, so I should just take his picture standing with his backpack.  He definitely wasn't so thrilled about that.
Looking out the window for the bus
Upset with me because I wanted him to stand and look at the camera
Once I took him outside he seemed to be willing to stand still for a few moments, but not willing to look at the camera.
Looking a little bit concerned

Tired of waiting for the bus
It was about 10-15 minutes late, but we kind of expected that on the first day.  Here is our bus!!!

Again refusing to look at the camera, oh well!