Monday, June 30, 2014

Construction Crew

Saturday daddy and Boop and Little Mama went up to the church bright and early to help finish the stage that we need for the Fourth of July event we have every year at the church.  Bouncy houses, food, music and professional fireworks.  It is a neighborhood event that has been going on for years.  It has grown to be about 3-4,000 people.  I love it because it is a pretty safe environment.  The kids can run around with their friends, check in periodically and everyone has a great time!

This year, instead of renting a stage, it turned out to be more cost effective to go ahead and build one.  With the church members participating in the completing of it.  So, yesterday a few of my peeps and a bunch of other guys and gals went to put the finishing touches on the stage.

The professional builder, who is in charge of the project was out there.  And he had some type of digging tractor (forgive my ignorance).  And, he let Boop ride and eventually drive it.  It made Boop's day!  We were able to get some pictures and a video.  So, here they are . . .

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Woot Woot Teenager in the House!

As April rolled around we found ourselves with a teenager in the family!  I remember being a teenager.  It seems like yesterday.  Not 30 some odd years ago!

I have been reading up on teenagers a little bit these past few months.  And before I share about how we celebrated our new teenager, I am going to share a little bit of what I have learned.  It is my blog.  I get to do that. ;)  The teenage years are not to be feared.  They are to be approached as an age of opportunity.  (The name of one of the books I read.)

Don't miss understand me.  I think the teenage years can be filled with a little bit of confusion and frustration. On the child's part and on the parents.  There is soooo much going on mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  But, the one thing I have gleaned from most of what I read is, this is a great age for a child to start spreading their wings.  To really start to practice the lessons that, we as parents, have tried so hard to convey to them.  They get to start putting into practice all the lessons on humility and serving and sacrificing and loving and giving and responsibility and ownership and work ethic and what the world is about etc.

That is one of the hardest things I have had to learn.  I have to let go.  Just a little bit at a time.  To give her (them) the opportunity to test out all that she (eventually they) have read, heard, learned etc.  And it is also a time to start letting go of some of the consequences of choosing not to be humble or serving or sacrificing or loving or responsible. . . .That is hard too.  But, it takes baby steps and that is where the teen years come in.  Still at home.  Still responsible to us.  We still get to have loving and encouraging and supporting conversations that can shape life choices. (Our youth pastor posted this quote not to long ago "We get to make choices and then our choices make us.")

The teenage years are full of ample opportunity to impart Godly wisdom.  Wisdom that will be with them for a life time.  Wisdom that is built on Truth and Love.  Wisdom that transcends time and is not based on the whims of the world.  Sometimes they take it and sometimes they don't.  But, I am presented, daily and sometimes hourly, with Godly life lessons with my teenager (many times with all the kids.)  There is so much to think about and contimplate.  Not just for the kids but for myself as well.  I have thought so many times about the person I might have been had God not blessed me with a loving husband and four wonderful children.  I would totally be missing one of the greatest parts of parenting if I thought it was all about their growth spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally!  So, the beauty of all of this is I get to grow in Godly wisdom as well!!  God uses my teenager (and the rest of my family) to mature me into the person He created me to be!  God is amazing!!

OK so enough of that!

Now on to pictures from NG's birthday celebration.  She is such a trooper.  On her actual birthday and that weekend, we were all part of our church's musical so there wasn't much in the way of celebrating at the house.  But, on the following Monday, she had a "big girl" birthday party.  I reserved a table for 10 at a trendy restaurant in midtown.  The menu had options like mac and cheese with spinach etc.  She invited a bunch of her closest gal pals and had a very grown up lunch.  (Grandma was there too!)  The restaurant was very accommodating.  And the girls were adorable.  We sat outside at wrought iron tables under a couple of big umbrellas.

Then, after lunch, we walked next door to a cupcakery for dessert.  The girls' did a little shopping in the boutique and then ordered a cupcake which they ate out on the porch.  I had so much fun hanging out on the periphery of the get together.  Just watching and listening.  I loved watching them order and eat and chat and giggle.  My daughter has such great friends.  I love each one of them!

Birthday Girl!!


I would be lying if I said I don't worry about the next few years.  So much going on.  And way too fast.  But, there are sooooo many glimmers of what a wonderful time this can be.  And, so, I am really, really trying to approach this time of life as a wonderful age of opportunity.  Happy, happy birthday to my wonderful teenager . . . 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Part 3, Wedding Prep

The bride wanted EG at the wedding site at 3:30 so she could get ready with the rest of the girls.  They were so sweet and willing to do her hair. She acted like such a big girl!  I think she thought everyone was there for her. 

The photographer was taking pictures the whole time so I tried to get in a get a couple with my phone.

When the bridesmaids saw my other girls, they offered to do their hair as well.  Each girl had a braid somewhere and then the hair was looped in a loose bun.  It was soooo cute on each one of them.  They each got a flower in their hair as well.

EG kept telling me she was ready to get her picture taken.  I kept telling her she needed to wait for the bride!  While we got EG ready for the pictures, Boop hung out with the groomsmen and the big girls went back to the hotel to get dressed.

Boop and the groom.

As I mentioned earlier, Boop had the best time with these guys.  The groom loves my kids and treated them so well.  And so did all his buddies.  Boop had to spend over 3 hours with them getting ready, hanging out and getting pictures done.  Much of the time he was alone with them and they told him stories and asked him all kinds of questions.  They included him in their silly games and tricks.  They even had him go get his sunglasses so he could be part of all of them singing "You Lost That Lovin' Feelin" (Top Gun movie) to the bride.  (Boop ended up bowing out of that at the reception though.)  One guy pinned wings on his shirt during the recpetion.  Just a great, great bunch of guys!

All my people clean up pretty good!!  We had a nice time at the reception.  But, it was about 10:30pm and all the kids looked at us and told us they were ready to go.  It was a long, fun day hanging with family and new friends.  And new family . . . .

Friday, June 13, 2014

How We Spent Our Weekend, Part 2

I guess the title should be how we spent the morning during our weekend.  The wedding wasn't until 7pm and the little guys didn't have to be at the wedding site until 3:30 so we had some time to kill.  Thankfully the hotel had a pool and it was a beautiful morning.

I love when the all play together!

While the girls and I were at the pool, daddy and Boop did what they love to do when we are anywhere near a military base.  Check out the flying machines.  Boop has a passion for any thing that flies.  Especially anything military.  So, the night before, daddy got info on a place where he and Boop could check out some military aircraft and that is how they spent their morning.

I do not know the names of any of the planes, tank, or guns in the pictures.  But I am sure Boop and daddy do!

This amphibious something or other is one of Boop's favorite.  He had just watched a show on the History Channel about D-Day and recognized it immediately and was super excited to see a real one.

They got back just in time to go swimming for a little bit and then get ready to go.  It was daddy birthday so we celebrated with a Sonny's for a late lunch before heading to the wedding.  Part 3 to come, pictures from the wedding . . . 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

How We Spent Our Weekend, Part 1

One of the fun things about having the 4 youngest of 17 cousins is they get to be in the older cousins' weddings.  This is the second one in about a year and a half.  The little guys don't necessarily think it is all that great in the beginning.  But, by the time the festivities start they are all for it.

The wedding this past weekend was a good time had by all.  All of the older peeps in the wedding party were so awesome to EG and Boop.  The rehearsal was really laid back and everyone helped put all the wedding decorations together and decorate the reception area.  My niece made all of the decorations for the wedding.  Everything from the floating candle center pieces to the gigantic Jenga game she made out of wood.  The game was literally 2 1/2 feet tall.  Not sure why I didn't take a picture of it.

Wedding party waiting to be told what to do.  Boop was the ring bearer, EG was the flower girl and the two big girls handed out the programs that doubled as fans.

LM and NG were stand ins for the groomsmen who were not able to make it to the rehearsal.  All the groomsmen but one (and Boop) were Navy pilots.  So cool.  More about that later.

This picture is of hubby as a stand in for the officiator (not sure if that is the right word or even a word).  The groom, who we love (he is so great with kids), is next to him. Also a Navy pilot.  He proposed to my niece while taking her flying in an airplane.

The decorating and the rehearsal didn't take long at all.

The rehearsal dinner was at a local Italian restaurant.  All the girls in the wedding party were given matching, monogrammed dressing robes.  Including EG.  She slept in hers that night!

Because the groom is Navy and my niece has also enlisted, all of the decorations and the theme was in red, white and blue.  More about the weekend later . . .

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Where's the Beef??

We have a friend whose uncle raises cattle.  A year or so ago, she asked if we were interested in sharing a cow with someone else.  We eat a lot of meat and enjoy steaks and ribs so we said yes.  We factored out the cost and it is a little better than buying meat at the grocery store.  So this is our second year trying it out.

One of the neat things about it is we know what went into the cow.  We know it was grass fed and treated well.  And it was only given antibiotics if it was sick.  It was not mass produced.  So the quality of meat is awesome.

It is kind of crazy to have a freezer full of meat.  But, oh so convenient . . . . 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Times Are A Changin'

(EG asleep on the couch)

So I woke up this morning, for the fifth night in a row, without an EG in my bed.  Many years ago, when she would wake up in the middle of the night and make the trek to our room, I would get up and go lay back down with her until she was fast asleep in her own bed.

But, as I got older and the nights got shorter, when she came into our room (usually anywhere between 2-5), I would just let her stay.  I know, I know, we could discuss my parenting skills and how important it is for children to sleep in their own beds etc.  I have done all of that with the other three.  And now it is my baby.  I feel there are different rules, to some degree, for the baby.

I was certain there would be no other newborns in the house so I didn't have to worry about that.  Every single night she would go to bed, in her own bed, without complaint.  Many nights she would crawl into our bed and I wouldn't even know she was there until morning.  When hubby leaves for work between 5 and 5:30 he always does a kid check.  Making sure everyone is where they are suppose to be.  A couple of times he didn't even know she was in our bed until he went to check hers and she wasn't there.  Imagine his suprise!

Anyway, last night was the fifth night in a row that baby girl slept in in her own bed.  All night.  And she is darn proud of herself too.  It is one of those bitter sweet moments.  My baby isn't a baby.  Oh, I am sure there will be nights she will still come in.  And maybe this is just some fluke.  But, it has given me pause to realize they do grow up.  Even when they are baby.

The baby isn't so much a baby anymore . . . 

Monday, June 2, 2014

A Visit

Back in the first week of April, we got to enjoy the company of Grandpa J and Nona K.  They came down to visit for a few days.  And we really enjoyed our time together!  One of the great things about having company is it makes you go and do and see things that when you live someplace you just kind of take for granted.

They got in on a Monday in time for dinner.  And we just sat and visited.  The next day we took a trip to the beach.  It was a beautiful day!  A little breezy and sunshiny.  A perfect day for a couple of folks from the Midwest!  We brought blankets and flipper and lunch and just hung out.

The water was cold.  At least too cold for me!  But, the kids couldn't care less so they got in.  Although rather slowly.  Nona K said she didn't come all this way NOT to get in the water.  So, she was much braver.

We really are blessed to live where we do.  Rolling hills in town and the beautiful, white sandy beaches within an hour and a half.  

We saw this Great Blue Heron just standing on the beach while we were hunting shells.  He/she never left.  Maybe she had a nest nearby.  They are such beautiful birds!

We also went to a local lake/park where there were some little shops.  We had homemade ice cream and the kids climbed the big tree.  We also went to a little artsy part of town that I had never been to before.  While hanging out at the house we played a bunch of games of Scrabble and the kids loved that!  (So did I!)

All in all, we had a great visit.  It is always fun when family comes to town . . .