Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Easter Egg Hunt (Thanks to AWESOME neighbors!)

This year since we went away for spring break, I wasn't able (or willing) to set-up an Easter Egg Hunt for my kids. We arrived home on Saturday night-- I went to the store for milk and nothing else. I am a planner so I could have prepared everything before we left; but anyone with any kids knows that you spend the 4 days before travel washing clothes, packing, running errands, finding things for your kids to do in the car, and so on....NOT planning fun activities for the day after you return.
Fortunately for me, while we were on vacation, one of my neighbors called and said, "I heard you are gone on vacation this week. I am planning an Easter Egg hunt for my son and it's so much more fun with other kids. We would love for your kids to hunt eggs with him. It'll really help us out to make it a fun experience. I will have about 25 eggs per kid packed, hidden, and ready. All you need is to show up Sunday evening and bring a bag or basket to collect eggs." I couldn't believe my ears. Help them out?! This was helping me out. What an amazing neighbor! It was a great time- we are so blessed to have a great community.
Connor & Robert (Will this be their last year hunting eggs? We'll see.)
Sybella is ready to hunt! 
 Cooper has a full basket!
 Sybella has two baskets now??
 Time to open some eggs.
 Posing so the parents can take pictures. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I Blame Eve...

Just about everyone knows the story of Adam & Eve: 
God created them. They lived a perfect life in Eden. They could eat anything they wanted except the fruit from the one tree that God said was off limits. A talking snake (the devil) entered the picture and convinced Eve to eat some forbidden fruit. She then gave some to Adam. And since then, Life stinks, or does it? 
I had the great privilege recently of reading Susanna Foth Aughtmon's new book, "I Blame Eve." I looked forward to reading it, Sue has a great conversational style to her writing. It makes the book flow easily and it's a little like having coffee with a friend. She is funny and engaging. I wondered about the perspective that she would take with the book, I mean the story of Adam and Eve only takes up 2 chapters in the Bible and most people know the story, Sue was turning this into a whole book! When the book arrived, it's subtitle reads, "Freedom from Perfectionism, Control Issues, & the Tendency to Listen to Talking Snakes." (Ok, I thought, am I really excited about this book? I don't have ANY challenges with those pitfalls, right? Ok, I do, so this should be interesting) 
 I dived in and while reading I Blame Eve, I laughed, cried, laughed again, & gasped in disbelief that Sue would, yet again, put life- real life- out on the table for other women to learn from. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and took notes in every chapter but the part that I needed to hear the most was from Chapter 13, I Get Discouraged. Sue makes a great point about having unrealistic expectations and how I can't experience the joy of the life I have been given if I am constantly in a state of being disappointed and disappointing others because my expectations are skewed. This was such a good reminder to me.
You could be totally an opposite personality type to Sue and have a completely different life and still relate to this great book. It speaks to the heart of women, what we believe (right & wrong), and the path to a more fulfilled, grace-oriented place.
Read this book, it'll be a blessing to you!

Publisher's Book Description:

When our great-to-the-nth-degree grandmother Eve ate the fruit, we lost out on the perfect life. But that doesn't stop us from trying, does it? In fact, we make trying to be perfect the focus of our entire lives! But what would happen if we stopped trying to be perfect and started trying to be his?
In this fantastically witty book, Susanna Foth Aughtmon helps women find out what it means to be honest about what we crave in life and let go of our deep need to be in control. Using Scripture and amusing personal stories, she shows women the freedom of embracing the unique path God lays out for each of us. Includes study questions to facilitate group or individual use.

Disclaimer: I received this (complementary) book copy from the publisher along with a request to review the book. It did not affect or influence my review, nor was I required or coerced into giving a favorable book. I really did just Love the book!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Spring Break

For Spring Break, we decided to take the kids to Tampa. Why Tampa? Mostly because it's warm and we could swim but also because David spends a fair amount of time in Tampa and we thought it might be fun to share that world with the they would have a visual picture of Tampa when I tell them that Dad is "in Tampa."
As soon as we decided to travel to Florida, David insisted that we swim with the manatee while we were there. This is something that he did with his family when he was a kid and he wanted to share the experience with our kids. He found a private boat tour who could take the six of us out so that we could have focused time with the kids to teach them snorkeling and help them really interact with the manatee. It was AMAZING. It is the highlight of our vacation, even for little Cooper. All the kids were able to snorkel with flotation devices. We got to swim with a family of manatee for an hour or longer (taking turns and rest breaks for the kids).
All of us in wet suits on the boat just before we got into the water to swim with the manatee. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ollie- Our newest family member

For years David has wanted to add a dog to our family. He has been talking about rescuing a Greyhound since I met him and then about 8 years ago he started talking about Italian Greyhounds. 
I didn't know anything about greyhounds or most dogs for that matter. I did have 3 dogs while growing up that I loved and I feel very strongly that if you are going to have pets that they are a part of the family and should be treated as such. So....that meant I didn't want any. I figured I already had enough to do. (Selfish maybe, but this blog is about transparency). 
Over the last year I have been more and more open to the idea of adding a pet to the family. We have a gap in the ages of our kids and many times people have commented that it'll be like having two little families. I detest that idea. I want us to be one big family. We are very initial about how we structure our kids activities and our time together so that we function as a family of six. I had already starting getting sentimental about the idea of David having the dog he's wanted since we got married, add to that the bonus of the kids sharing memories and experiences of the same pet and I was ready to take the plunge. 

I started doing research and seeing what the options for rescue were available in the DC area. I found a great organization called the Italian Greyhound Club of America. We completed the application, had a home visit, spent time with several IGs (or Iggys) and in just over six weeks, on Sep 28th, we got to bring home Ollie!
He is WONDERFUL! I am so glad that he joined our family. Ollie is a great dog and a joy. The kids adore him. He loves to cuddle and burrow in blankets and believe it or not, he rotates whose bed he sleeps in. Ollie is 8 years old and in great health. Hopefully, we will have many years together. 

1st Day of Pre-K

A week after the older boys started school, it was Sybella's turn. It's her third year of preschool and now she is in a Pre-Kindergarten Class. Honestly, I wondered how she would adjust to the extra hours of school this year and interestingly enough, it wasn't her but little brother who struggled to adjust. After having all the kids at home for the summer, Cooper didn't like having none of his buddies around. He's fine now but clearly, I am not as much fun as I thought I was.   :o)   

Thursday, October 27, 2011

First Day of School 2011

September 6th was the older boys' first day of school. They were excited to be starting a new year. Connor is in 5th grade this year and Colin is in 8th grade. They are definitely young men now. 

They were gracious enough to pose for pictures and even to allow their pajama-clad littles to join them. And boy, were the littles tired- the middle school bus comes early!

Monday, October 24, 2011

First Slumber Party

The week before school started Sybella finally had the opportunity to have her very first slumber party. It was particularly important for Sybella to have her friend Kylee over for one last extended play date before Kylee started kindergarten. The girls have been best friends for as long as they can remember (literally)! They have been in church, play groups, Bible Studies, Small Groups, and even 2 years of preschool together, not to mention numerous shopping trips, play dates, and lunches. But, with birthdays 3 months apart, Kylee meets the cutoff for starting school this year and Sybella didn't. Fortunately, the pain  sadness, drama, and absolute realization of this sunk in for Sybella in the spring so, now it's just about harnessing the last moments of summer. 

The girls dressed in their PJs from the American Girl Store trip in June and proceeded to giggle, play, giggle, play, giggle, play and not sleep very much. They had a blast! 

Who could've known then that Sybella would have Kylee's Ollie the Otter over for the night and just a a month later our family would get a rescue dog named Ollie. 

What beautiful friends! They don't get to see each other as often now with school in full swing, but they are still managing to find some quality time to hang out.  :)

11th Birthday!

On Aug 21st, Connor turned 11 years old. I can't believe how fast time flies! He is an amazing young man. 
In early August, we had a party for Connor at our pool including: swimming, table tennis, tetherball, pizza, cupcakes, and more.

Not only did Connor have many friends attend but his cousins were able to attend as well. 
Cooper and Andrew (cousin)

The AMAZING Birthday Boy

Sybella and Hannah (cousin)

Although he is now one year older, Connor is a joyful soul and I hope he always stays a kid at heart!

Happy Birthday Son!