Sunday, August 30, 2009

Snippets From Summer ... Part 2

My girls. I got a new appreciation for them this summer as they rallied to every occasion... from training a wild rescue labrador puppy to watching a wiggly toddler to tolerating looooong drives in the car.

They are as different as they can be. Different builds, skin tone, temprament, tastes, preferences. Common ground includes a love for animals, playdates, their bunkbeds and bedtime stories.

I'm so glad you have each other and I can't wait to see where God leads each of you.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Backblogging ... Snippets of Summer Part I

I admit ... I haven't done a great job of documenting our summer. I'd like to blame it all on the little toddler wreaking havoc around the house ... but it's not all him. It's most likely a combination of the dog, the toddler, the other three hoodlums, working ... and just being TIRED at the end of the day. Anyway, last week the kids got to visit BOTH sets of grandparents. That's kid-talk for paradise ....

They got to spend four days at Camp Nana-Papa where the got to ride the horse, go the county fair, watch their first demolition derby, and go swimming during an overnight hotel stay.

At the end of the week, we drove them the seven hours (yep...) to Grandma and Grandpa so they could meet Cooper. The kids loved climbing the tree in their front yard and racing around the golf course across the street. Cooper got to spend a solo night there while we took the "big three" to Holiday World in Santa Claus, IN. Great park... very clean and super family friendly ... in case you are ever down in southern Indiana looking for something to do.

It was a great way to spend some quality time with the big kids and create some great memories before the start of school. Thank you to both sets of grandparents for spending some time with us!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Introducing ... our 3rd and 1st graders.....

We all thought this day would NEVER come. Emma was convinced the bus would be late. Grayson was positive he'd remain a kindergartner forever. Claire was just mad everyone else was starting school and she would remain here with me (and Cooper) with NOTHING to do.

But alas ... at 8:50... the yellow bus to freedom arrived and took the entire gaggle of neighborhood kids to Covington. First in line were my 3rd and 1st graders.

They were all about the first day of school picture. But there were some changes this year that mark the onset of "I care about what my friends think."

Note Grayson's spiky hair cut. His "I'm no longer low man on the totem pole" stance. His cool outfit. That matches. With nary a stain.

Emma's hair. It has to be down. An accessory is a must. It must have taken 10 minutes to get the scarf "just right." The shirt is new. So the pants have to be old. I guess there is some sort of rule about that these days.

Claire and Cooper have been a bit beside themselves today. They miss them. I admit... I have too. Aside from the grocery store run with (only) two kids, it just hasn't been the same around here. Good thing the bus comes in 45 minutes.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Congratulations Hannah

My cousin's daughter is heading off to college tomorrow. I'd like to say a few things to her and her family before she goes.

Hannah - you are a beautiful and talented young woman. It has been an honor and a privilege to watch you grow into the adult you are. My children look up to you as a cousin and a mentor. No pressure...

You are more ready than most to take on this college thing. That being said, it won't be easy. So much adjustment... so many challenges. Trust your instincts, your core values, and "what your mama taught ya." Everyone that knows you believes you can .. and knows you will.

Kim, Jim, Daniel and Olivia (and Alex too) ... you have done an amazing job as a family. I'll be thinking of all of you tomorrow. And Olivia ... it is considered polite to wait 24 hours before pilfering any of Hannah's stuff from her room. Just so you know.

Wow. This is all so exciting. And terrifying. Makes me glad all I'm tackling this week is getting the right school shoes.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday Cooper!

On August 15th, our little guy turned the corner to toddlerhood. We spent the day in Rock Falls (my class reunion) so Cooper was able to continue the "cake tradition." His birthday cakes were made by the same lady who made our wedding cake and all the kids' first cakes.

He caught to the self-feeding pretty quickly and essentially devoured his little cake. I kept waiting for smiles so I could catch the frosting covered grin ... but he was way too serious about eating. His siblings were all too happy to help with eating the other cake ... and helping him open the gifts.

We can't believe how fast the year has gone. He's a walking, jabbering, baby-signing, straw-drinking, two-napping, kiss-giving, truck-loving, curl-wearing, book-chewing bundle of boy. We couldn't be more blessed. Happy birthday buddy.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Night With the African Children's Choir...

I have always wanted to see the African Children's Choir perform. As God would have it, they performed last night at a church here in town. I called a friend of mine and off we went.

If you ever get a chance... GO. What a combination of talent, energy, despair, and hope. We laughed, we cried, we prayed and we sang.

The kids (we had six between us) got glimpses of real life for children in rural tribes in Africa. Their eyes widened when the speaker indicated that most members of the choir had lost either one or both parents. Mouths dropped when the screen showed pictures of their homes and country.

We opted to get T-shirts. They wanted them because they were cool. I wanted them because I wanted them to remember this night. For so many reasons.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Trophy Day

Claire barely slept Monday night in anticipation of Tuesday... aka "Soccer Trophy Day."

It was the day she'd been waiting for .... after 8 long weeks of playing soccer ...for 45 minutes once a week... against other 4-5 year olds.... with frequent water breaks.... filled with "drills" like "red light/green light and "animal charades" ...always followed up by Dairy Queen.... you can see how it was grueling for her.

She reveled in the drills, hustled in the scrimmage, and positively BEAMED when the coach handed out the trophy.

Atta girl Claire. We are proud of you for trying something new, prouder of you for sticking with it when you weren't sure you would like it, and proudest of you for wanting to do it again in the fall.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Zoo Shots From the Master...

Our friend Sarah and her lovely family accompanied us to the zoo yesterday and she captured some great shots of my kids. She's got quite the eye for that sort of thing. Click on the link to her site and take a quick look. You may want to bookmark it of her daughter often make my heart skip a