Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Where did 2013 go?

With kids, I always say how fast the years go by, but 2013 came and went in the blink of an eye. It was a great year. So many life changing events took place and it was the first year we didn't have a baby in the house. Some highlights:
*Chad joined the Air Force as a Health Facilitating Officer.
*We sold our home in Denver (sad)
*Spent the summer in Nebraska-it was a new and amazing experience for my city kids to get a taste of country living.
*Made the long drive to San Antonio (in 1 day, with perfect kids)
*Stayed in a hotel for another 10 days while we slowly moved into our new home (which we bought before we'd even seen it! Turned out to be BEAUTIFUL!)
*Spent the last month of summer at the pool and getting the kids all ready to begin at their new schools.
*I became a true stay-at-home mom (working from home didn't count)
*Lots of visiting family over the holidays
*A great Christmas in our new shorts and t-shirts. WHAT!?!?
*Missing our Denver friends/family/church everyday, but a 70 degree winter is much more enjoyable than a cold, snowy one. We are Southern state people now and we aren't moving north without a fight. :)

It's only 8 days into the new year, but it's an exciting year already! In January, we started to renovate our backyard. Over school break, we took the kids to the Children's museum, The Jumpy Place (a big room filled with bouncy houses, slides, obstacle courses, etc. ), the movie theater, lots of walks and visits to the park, and broke in all the new toys Santa brought-family nerf gun fights were a favorite activity.
In March, we are taking a week long trip to AZ and CA for some golfing, swimming, R&R, and DISNEYLAND!!
In May, Kiley will go in for her first visit with an Orthodontist to discuss braces. :(
Summer will be filled with daily visits to the pool and waterpark. We are hoping to make it down to Corpus Christi many times (Chad wants to begin looking for a beach house, not sure if I am on board with that). We plan to take the kids to Sea World and Schlitterban this summer.
We will spend Thanksgiving at home in Texas this year, but will make the trip back to Nebraska for Christmas-always great to see family, but a mid-west winter is nothing short of miserable.

Chad is still enjoying his job and I am loving staying at home.

Kiley is still doing tumbling-although not a motivated or disciplined athlete at all. She wants to learn piano. Even though I can play, I don't want to be the one to teach her because she doesn't listen well to me, preteens....So, I have started to look around the area for a teacher, college kid, stay at home mom, anyone who would be willing to come to our house and teach her. I am trying to encourage her to find a sport she likes too. She doesn't like any of the typical school sports, so I am suggesting tennis. She hasn't jumped on the idea yet, but hasn't shot it down either.

Creighton loved baseball last fall. He starts basketball in 2 weeks, which will go into March, then he will start soccer. Summer will be swimming and then back to baseball in the fall. He also wants to do karate-suggested age to start is 7, so we will wait a year. He has also asked to take golf lessons (he is 5!) He does love golf and I have pics to prove he has a great swing! We'll take him a few times when we are in AZ and he has his own clubs, balls, and net to begin practicing in the backyard. He is also a little artist, like Kiley and his daddy. He spends at least an hour a day coloring or painting.

Cort is our swimmer and runner! He is long and lean and has unbelievable endurance. I guess he got that from his cross-country running daddy. He will take some more swim lessons this summer with the other kiddos and I am sure he will learn some skills on his own spending every day at the community pool. Having just turned 4 a couple months ago, we will wait on the organized sports for another year. Having the most similarities to his daddy of all our kids, I am sure Cort will be a great athlete and excel at any sport he chooses.  Cort is loving preschool, learning so much, and making so many friends.

Cheyenne is interested in everything. She loves dance and gymnastics. She is a social butterfly. She loves reading. She loves all sports. Thank goodness she is only 2 and I have some time still to work out a schedule with 4 kids in sports. Next year, she will start preschool at our local swim and gymnastics school. It's 2 days a week and they include gymnastics in each class and swim about once a month.

Life with 4 kids-all growing up way too fast-is busy but amazing.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Life is settling down........

We made the move, got the kids into schools, made some friends, and are finally feeling settled in our new home and new community. Here is an update:

Chad: He is really enjoying his job. They are keeping him busy. He happens to be the only licensed architect in the USAF, so all the jobs that require a licensed architect fall on him and he is also the architect on the Air Force's two largest projects right now. Even though they don't like him to work more than 40 hours and would usually give him comp time to offset his extended travel days, he is just too overloaded to take any of it. They are so happy to have him on board. He is the only architect (of the 16) who has any experience outside of the military so he brings an entirely new skill set to the table. They are utilizing those skills every chance they get. Makes for long hours, but he is a shoe in for making promotion to Major and Lt. Col in the coming years. He mostly travels to Biloxi, MS and California-both he really likes. He travels with a small group and they seem to enjoy these trips, despite working about 12 hour days. The medical community is small and really close. He really likes all his co-workers and the families get together often for camping trips, BBQ's, and holiday fun. So far, so great!

Kindra: I have never been busier! I thought that when we moved here and I was no longer working that life would really slow down. Boy was I wrong! I guess each year brings more homework, more sports, and more responsibility. I spend my day getting the kids up and fed, off to school, cleaning up after breakfast, taking one to private speech therapy, then taking one to afternoon preschool, making lunch, cleaning up lunch, picking up kids, making dinner, helping with homework, taking kids to sports, cleaning, cleaning, and more cleaning. I, literally, have to mark out about 15 min. every other day just to get in a shower!!!! Life is really, really good though and I am so thankful.

Kiley: Kiley has made a lot of friends in the neighborhood. We are only a couple blocks from her school, so many of her classmates live really close. She is with friends all day, every day. Kiley is doing well in school. Her last report card she had all A's and B's. She is doing 2 tumbling classes a week at a cheer school here. As you can imagine, Texas has an entirely different view of cheerleading and football than the rest of the world. There is a cheerleading academy on every corner! Kiley is loving Texas. She often says she misses Denver though. No place can compete with the beauty of Colorado, however, I think we all love that it's mid-November and 85 degrees today! We hung up Christmas lights in shorts and tank tops! Kiley's favorite part of living in Texas, besides the weather, is seeing palm trees everywhere and living an hour from the ocean.

Creighton: Creighton started Kindergarten this year and loves it. He is so social and makes friends so easily. He also played baseball in the fall and will play flag football this winter. He continues to take swimming lessons at a swim school close by. He is able to kick off the wall and swim about 10 feet under water on his own. Next year, we will join the community pool that we share with the neighborhood next to us, so the kids can swim much more often. The YMCA has year round swimming here, but it's about a 15 min. drive and we just don't get out there as often as we'd like too. Our neighborhood has a waterpark that the kids would love, but it broke down. The HOA is working on a plan to either fix it or rip it out and put in a new one. We'll see, but this is Texas and we need water play for kids in the summer!!

Cort: Cort goes to afternoon preschool now. He will go this year and next because he can't start Kindergarten for 2 more years because of his birthday. It's a good thing, I couldn't see him being ready for all day school next year. He is making a lot of progress in his speech. He goes to private speech therapy two days a week and afternoon preschool, where he also gets speech therapy two times a week, every day for 3 hours. He continues to be adorable, charming, affectionate, and so sweet. He and Creighton are in-separable and best buddies. They chose to share a room instead of having their own space, leaving us with a huge playroom upstairs.

Cheyenne: Oh, that sweet and naughty Cheyenne. She's 2 and oh so adorable. She is so funny and witty. I am so impressed with her maturity and intelligence. Chey potty trained right after she turned 2. She was fully trained in just a couple days-so easy. Actually, all the kids were really very easy. Life with no kids in diapers has been strange and I missed it a bit at first. Baby fever has crept it's way back into my life as my kids continue to get bigger and bigger. Cheyenne keeps me on my toes all day long and there simply isn't time for another little one. Although, I think Chey would be a fantastic big sister. Cheyenne loves gymnastics. When she turns 3, we will put her into both swim lessons and gymnastics. Right now, it's nice to just have the 3 kids that have obligations. I am not sure what I will do with all 4 needing rides to and from.

Life is pretty incredible right now and we are enjoying every second of it!

Monday, April 22, 2013

New job, new house, new life....

As most of you know by now, Chad has taken a position with the USAF as a Health Facilitating Officer (HFO-abbreviations are something we will have to get used to). He will be working as an architect with 23 other architects-it's a pretty small and selective department of the Air Force. Not to brag-okay a little, he was selected for this prestigious position out of hundreds of other applicants in a world wide search. Did we ever dream he'd get it, not in a million years, but clearly it was worth his time to go through the tedious 1 1/2 year application process. He will be going in as a Captain (O-3) with 6.5 years as time served, so he will be eligible for promotion to Major (O-4) in 3 years. This is the most exciting decision we've made and will drastically impact our lives. The pay is great, the job security is even better. After working 60-80 hour weeks, a 40 hour week will be a welcomed change. Because of his unique experience working in the private sector for so long and earning his Masters degree and license, he is going in as their most experienced architect and will be used as a mentor to others. We have already been lucky to make friends with a Lt. Col and Major that he will be working with and I am thrilled that they are so kind and supportive.

We just purchased a home in Cibolo, TX-right outside of San Antonio. It's a 40-45 min. drive to the base Chad will be working at, but his colleagues all recommended this one small town and said it's 90% military-which is exactly what we are looking for. We have too big of a family to live on base but want to be surrounded with the military lifestyle. This is the best of both. Here are some pics of our new home. It's 4 bedroom + a game room and sun room, 4 bath, 2 story living room and 2 story entry. We love it. Pics are from the listing site as we haven't been there yet-crazy, we know. We really relied on our realtor to help us through this. Keep in mind, the decorating is that of a 40 something old who loves African decor. We will update when we move in.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

7 months later......

I realize that seven months without a single entry is quite the failure on my part. I keep so busy these days! Here's a quick update on everyone and a family photo:

Chad: Chad is still enjoying work at H & L. He has consistently worked 60-80 hours a week since February, but enjoys the work so it doesn't bother him much. The firm did give him a laptop so he can do some work from home. They treat him really well and constantly sing his praises. Not much to say about Chad otherwise. He's doing well.

Kindra: I am so busy anymore! I am teaching preschool during the days, taking care of the kiddos, running errands, keeping a house of six clean-somehow,running the kids all over town for activities, sports, and birthday parties. Life as a mommy never slows down! It really makes me wonder if I'll be able to go back to teaching in a couple of years and still be able to run a household. We'll see.

Kiley: Kiley is doing okay in school. She is starting to show the infamous signs of being a pre-teen: laziness and lack of motivation.  It seems the only way to get her to keep her grades up (A's and B's) is to use bribery or threats. It's not a healthy parenting choice, but I'll do whatever it takes to keep her from slacking in school. She is excelling in her pre-team gymnastics though!

Creighton: Creighton is busy as ever. He gets up around 5:30am and still spends his days "working". He has started to really get interested in art (drawing, painting, crafts, etc). He is very excited for Christmas this year and asked Santa to bring him a saw, drill, flashlight, batteries, and an extension cord. This kid cracks me up, but he is seriously talented and, of all the kids, I am most interested in what he will grow up to become. I think architect, but who knows. Creighton is showing a good amount of athleticism-just like daddy. Despite Chad's current state of body, he was very athletic and excelled at nearly every sport. Creighton is very focused, has great control of his body, is advanced in almost all areas of physical development, and is a great leader. I foresee many soccer and baseball games in the near future.

Cort: Despite being 3 now, Cort is still "baby Cort". He is a mommy's boy if there ever was one! He is so sweet and snuggly. I am glad that he still has 3 years to mature before heading off to school. He is our one and only child who is hanging onto his baby years with all that he has. I am excited to get him on the swim team here when he's 5. He is a good swimmer and loves it. He's long and lean, so he's built for the sport! He is also very fast, so perhaps a cross-country star....again, a sport Chad did really well at.

Cheyenne: Well, Cheyenne has disappointed her daddy and is not a "girly girl" as he had hoped. How could she be? She's the youngest of 4, so it's survival of the fittest and she's around boys all day! She is most similar to Creighton. She has met all of her development milestones really early, has exceptional fine motor skills, is focused, loves to draw, and is mature beyond her 18 months of age. She is the star of the family, always making us laugh.

Chad and the kids are pushing me to have another baby. I am feeling a bit guilty to shoot down the idea so quick, but I am really looking forward to the day we can start going on vacations, go skiing, and even go out in public without it taking all of our energy! Plus, I just lost all my baby weight and back in the 120's for the first time since 2007!!!

My mom and step-dad are getting horses on their land this spring. I am soooo excited. Some of my greatest memories are taking Kiley out to the stables and spending the evenings riding horses and hanging out in the barn. I know the other kids will love going out there and I will so enjoy making new memories with them. We are a "country family" despite living in the city. Well, Chad is scared of horses, but I think I can convince him to get on one. ;) and I know that Creighton will be a great little stable hand.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Summer update!

The above pictures are the most recent pics I took of the kids. The one of Cort (with the sign) is for a Father's Day gift we are doing for Chad. At the top of the frame it says "I love you because" and then each kid has a sign with a reason they love him. They all turned out really cute. It just so happens that the illusive Cort has not offered up a smile, smirk, grin, or even a full face shot for any other picture I have taken of him in 2012!

Kiley is keeping busy with dance. She has a recital in a couple of weeks and we've been busy with costume tailoring, dance pics, rehearsals, etc. She pretty good. Next year she wants to do both gymnastics and dance. It all depends on her grades though. She has a lot of friends her age on our street and several of them are in competitive gymnastics and are really, really good. The girls spend most days teaching each other dance moves and front hand springs. I just love our neighborhood. Our street is quiet so we don't have to worry about cars. Kiley and her friends are always gossiping on the curb, riding their bikes, going to the park, flipping across my front yard, or making friendship bracelets in the driveway. I am so happy that she has the option to spend the day with her friends, making childhood memories.

Creighton still spends his day working. He is up before 6am nearly every morning-even weekends, ouch....He spends most of his day outside also, but in our backyard doing yardwork or building onto his fort. He is such an engineer! The other day we were watching a movie and a kid crawled into a window and Creighton said to me "I could crawl in a window.......I could build that window". It's so funny that his little brain is always thinking about how to assemble, disassemble, and create. He is so loving and spends a lot of his day just trying to please me. What a great kid, who also has a temper. I often compare him to the sour patch kids commercials (the candy) "At first they are sour, then they are sweet."

Cort is outgrowing the "terrible two's". He no longer runs though the house in destruction mode. Now, he loves to snuggle. He would lay with me and read books all day. He is sooooo loving and cuddly-definitely a mommy's boy. He spends his days playing outside, watching movies, reading books, and putting puzzles together. He has learned how to squeeze through the rails and go upstairs (we will see how long it is before his head gets stuck). He likes the quiet of his room and I often find him laying in his bed, all tucked in, watching a movie that he has put in himself. A smart 2 year old!
Cort is very quiet, unlike our other 3 kids who haven't figured out how to use an inside voice. I really look forward to my alone time with him when we can just cuddle up, read a book, and enjoy the peace and quiet of nap time.

Cheyenne started walking at 10 months. Now, at almost a year, she is running, jumping, and dancing. That girl is determined to grow up faster than I'd like her to. She is a very, very independent baby. As all my kids have been, I guess. She loves to cuddle, but quickly realizes there is a toy she needs to play with and wants off your lap. As the youngest of 4 kids, and a girl with two older brothers, she is a little rough and tumble girly girl. She loves her dresses, bows, and babydolls, but won't hesitate to get her hands dirty or wrestle with her big brothers. Cheyenne is saying: mama, dada, Kye Kye, baba, bye bye, no no, night night, and making animal noises. She has been pretty advanced in her development and fine motor skills. As a 4th child, she's learned to be self-sufficient, independent, loud, and is happy to go to any stranger who will hold her. She loves to read books, dance to music, and do the ABC's. She's the perfect baby and rarely fusses. It's a rare moment to see her in anything but a happy mood with a big smile on her face. She is so funny too and we find ourselves always laughing about something she is doing.  I am enjoying every minute of her since she is my last, but Chad is convinced there will be more. I think six Shaffers is enough though.

Chad is really loving his new job and having a lot of success at this new firm. The principals continue to be impressed with his skills and work ethic and they are very good at showing their appreciation to him. They are a family oriented firm and don't encourage their architects to work more than a 50 hour week. Chad did get put on as project architect of a 1.2 MILLION (yes, million!) sq. ft hospital campus and that meant he had to work 80 hours a week for about 6 weeks, but he made the deadline, got great reviews, and now things have slowed down. He spend the last couple weekends completing an extensive landscaping project for me that included building a retaining wall around a tree, putting down 250 sq. ft of sod in an area of our backyard that the dogs tore up, and putting in several walk-ways through flower beds. It's looking good.

I am really looking forward to the laid-back days of summer. Although, my kids are all early risers so I don't expect to be able to sleep in at all, it will be awesome to not have to worry about getting Kiley to school in the morning. I am excited to have more time to finish house projects, decorate the basement (we have new furniture coming on June 7th!!!) and work out. Perhaps, I will even have time this summer to get in another update before the next school year!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Oops, March did come without an update.

In my last post (January) I said I would do an update before March. Oops. I swear time gets away from us! We have been keeping busy, as always. Instead of doing one loooonnnnggg post, I did a small post on each of us and what's been going on. I am going to try to be better at this and update once every 2 weeks instead of once every couple months. Don't hold me to it, though. Below are 6 small posts and a quick update on each of us.


Big news for Chad: he sadly left his firm that he'd been at for nearly 8 years to work for another firm. He really likes this new firm (H+L Architects). It's in a beautiful building (downtown, 2 stories, concierge, parking-$200 a month, but it's parking!, and it was designed so beautifully with great architectural detail) At his old firm, which he does miss sometimes because it was small and they were all pretty close, he did a lot of design and drawing. He also was able to see projects through from start to finish and was involved in nearly every aspect so he gained a lot of valuable experience. At this new firm, he is not doing any drawing because he is in meetings all day. He is going to sites, meeting with contractors, doctors, and consultants. He is getting a ton of experience there and really loves it. This firm also seems to take the extra step to please their employees. It's a really good firm.

Chad has finished up most of our basement and it turned out really nice! He has also started to work out-although it's pretty sporadic so far. Not too much to report for Chad other than his firm change. Life is a little boring right now, but who can complain!