Wednesday, June 25, 2014

And the birthday fun continues . . .

When you've had a friend that you've known since you were three months old, fun is sure to ensue when you are together for a birthday slumber party . . . especially when your friend decides to get her ears pierced!! (And yes her mom was with us - I'm not that crazy of a parent!!) From MOD pizza to friendship necklaces, makeovers and matching marshmallow pants, another birthday sleepover success! (And they actually slept!! :)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Enough Said

I'm on the mend. I'm tapering prednisone as slow as a slug but it's working. I'm starting to walk around more and am doing my own errands (a novelty I took for granted). I'm appreciating breathing again and rejoining my family in daily life activities. So, here's what I have to say,

Thursday, June 19, 2014

My "AMAZING" Eleven Year Old

On June 17th, our little bitty one month early weighing in just over four pound preemie turned 11. I'm not sure where the time has gone because it feels like only yesterday we were just bringing her home from the NICU afraid we were going to break her and at her recent well child check, she clocked in at the 75% in height for her age!!

For the big birthday, she had her first sleepover at our house and although momma had some trepidation going in, it was fantastic and everyone had so much fun!! My mom came down and we surprised the girls with an "Amazing Race" adventure all around the neighborhood. (Thanks to our wonderful friends who allowed us the use of their homes/doors/driveways/backyards!!)

They had no idea what they were in for when they opened the first clue . . .

Using the riddle enclosed, they had to give directions to their "taxi" until they arrived in "JAPAN" . . . while there, they had to make "sushi"and even had a surprise visit from a local ninja . . .

Upon completion of their first task, they received their next clue and once again had to solve the riddle and direct their "taxi" until they arrived in "FRANCE" . . . while there, they had to ring the Eiffel Tower . . .

After France, the girls had to complete the next few legs on foot. Using crazy directions, they had to find their way to "Ireland" where they had to look for Leprechaun gold . . . .

When they'd filled their pots of gold, they had to use walkie talkies and get directions from "Phil" . . . directions may have included blowing kisses to recycle bins, weaving through fire hydrants, playing ring-a-round-the-rosy on a street sign, and random patty cake on the side of the road . . . (at one point they asked, "Are you just trying to make us look silly?" . . . why yes, yes we are!!) . . . they finally arrived in "GERMANY" where they had to play a traditional game with dice, scarves, hats, gloves, knives, forks and a chocolate bar wrapped many times . . .

Upon completion (and consumption) of their task, they were off with the next clue until they found "CHINA" and raced with marshmallows and chopsticks . . .

Following "China," the girls were shuttled back to the start where they had to put their minds to the test and put all the countries and tasks in the order in which they traveled . . .

They spent the rest of their time together playing outside, eating a taco bar, playing games, eating a sundae bar, playing the "tween" version of "truth or dare" (one over cautious momma looked up questions and dares ahead of time and wrote out slips of paper to make it a 'surprise' for the birthday girl . . . and reassurance for the birthday momma on the types of questions and tasks), started "Despicable Me" and were all out like lights at 12:30. They didn't wake up the next morning until they heard me making breakfast at 8am!!! Slumber party success!! It was a wonderful celebration of a wonderful growing little girl. I'm so thankful for great friends in her life that are also sweet and innocent and well behaved. And I am so thankful to my mom (who made years and years of incredibly fun amazing slumber parties for me) for her help . . . and for her hours of card game playing while we watched the kiddos. I'm not guaranteeing one way or the other right now but Hannah may not have to wait another 11 years for the next slumber party in her life . . .

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Last Day of School

It's over. Another great year of growing and learning and making memories. We now officially have a third grader and a sixth grade middle schooler (gulp!). We spent the day outside playing games at field day and celebrating the occasion.

We've had this incredible amazing woman as a teacher for the past two years. I have never met someone who has better classroom management, higher expectations, and yet brings so much age appropriate fun into each activity. She will be sadly missed!! (And has some pretty big shoes - or adorable sandals - to fill next year!)

And this sweet woman has fit Hannah's personality to a T this year encouraging her even more in her voracious reading and incredibly creative writing. (Note - both sets of eyes are a little misty . . . not an easy goodbye from Elementary School today.)

It's been quite a school year for our family; one of perseverance, struggle, new experiences, old friends, new acquaintances and two hard working little girls. We couldn't be prouder!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Share an Article Monday

I am definitely  a believer that a kids job is to play. That's not to say that their brains don't need to be challenged and they don't need to help with chores around the house but you grow up way to fast and I think in our current culture we err on the side of over scheduling our families not allowing enough time to play. And by play, I mean unstructured, use your imagination, full on free time. If I'm honest, I'm not a very spontaneous person but a friend shared this article on Facebook and I wanted to pass it along. Enjoy. And plan for some time of no planning this summer!!

Top 10 Ways to Give Your Kid a 1970’s Summer

It is officially the beginning of June. The Pinterest pages, Facebook feeds, and family magazine features are loaded up with all the activities you should do with your kid’s summer. AS. IF.   As if we need more activities. MORE I say!  As if I am sitting here, ok, really laying here in my end of school year coma, thinking, “OMG! I CANNOT wait to tackle that homemade moon sand recipe we will dye ourselves with the skin of organic vegetables, then shape our homemade sand into a perfect replica of the Millenium Falcon! ” Or, “Why yes, I am going to schlep 4 kids to that new science museum two hours away, where we will eagerly wander through the exhibits, each completing the 10 page scavenger hunt I created last night. Then we will come home and ‘discuss’ at great length the scientific theories we learned, because, brace yourself,  what if we don’t keep our minds active ALL summer? GASP!  Wait, hold it! We must, just MUST go to the dollar store and buy 125 pool noodles to construct a backyard water park! We will invite the neighborhoods kids over, serve vegan popsicles, watermelon chunks cut out like dolphins, and a vegetable crudité platter shaped like a palm tree.  And what summer pool party would be complete without nitrate, skin, meat, additive, and taste free hot dogs on gluten free buns covered in artisanal ketchup?”  
I am done. Sort of like I how I was done with the school year, but I am already done with summer. And by done, I mean I am done with all the forced smile-inducing, uber planned and supervised, over-the-top summer life experiences I am supposed to provide for my kids. You know what I want my kids to experience this summer? The same type of summer I would have experienced in the late 1970’s.  The exact same one.  I survived it, and they will too. As a matter of fact, it must have been pretty memorable because 30 years later I can tell you exactly what it entailed. It entailed FUN. Fun we made all on our own. What. A. Concept.

My top 10 ways to give your 2014 kids a 1970’s summer:
1 .   Let them watch TV. Plenty of it. But only the TV Land channel. I want my kids to watch The Love Boat, The Carol Burnett Show, The Jefferson’s, Charlie’s Angels, My Three Sons, The Bionic Man,  $100,000 Pyramid, and my favorite, Hart to Hart.  Seriously,  what little girl in the late 70’s  didn’t want to be an amateur detective married to the CEO of Hart Industries, driving around in a yellow Mercedes-Benz SL Roadstar, while sporting a matching lilac pant suit and  perfectly quaffed butterfly winged wavy brown hair?

2.   Eat whatever you want, and/or whatever can find.  There will be no more pantries full of organic vegetable chips, and non-GMO graham crackers. No more refrigerators full of anti-pesticide fruit, free range eggs, and cold pressed juice.  This will be the summer of Frito-Lay and Red Dye #5. I want to see my kid’s reaction when I tear open a tiny envelope of cherry Kool-Aid, sprinkle it into a BPA laden plastic pitcher, dump 4 cups of regular, granulated, white, and maybe even generic sugar (not raw, stevia, or agave,) then add water from the tap, and  viola! You are hydrated! I will be over here drinking a Tab. Lunch will be fried bologna and a blue can of Planter’s Cheese Balls, and for dinner we will pile in the car and go pick up a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, a styrofoam quart of mashed potatoes,  and OMG, dessert will be pineapple upside cake! Made from canned pineapples in…wait for it…syrup!

3.   Make them play outside. Like all day. All. Damn. Day. Hot? Drink from the hose. Run through the sprinklers. Swim in the pool until your hair feels like straw, turns green, and the bottom of your feet are calloused from the bottom of the pool. Search for ladybugs, play hide ‘n seek between the houses, run down the street gutters after a rain storm. Read under a tree. I hear this lady named Judy Blume writes good stuff.

4.   Send them to the movies for the entire day. I will drop you off at around 11 and pick you up for dinner. Its’ real simple. You sneak from one theater to the next. Nobody cares.

5.   Spend three nights in a row at your best friend’s house. No, you don’t have to call to check in every hour. And yes, it’s totally ok their parents will be at work and nobody will be home all day. It will give you plenty of time for #1, 2, and 3.

6.   Make stuff, like from stuff you find. No trips to Hobby Lobby for pre-cut, pre-stuck, pre-fabricated crafts.   Find crap in the garage and assemble it into something you can play with. No, you can’t Google how to do it. Ropes are fun.

7.    Have them put on a talent show. A real, genuine, sing and dance and entertain the hell out of me talent show.  I promise I won’t upload it to Youtube or share it on Facebook. I pinky swear. No, there is no theme, no requirements, no directions, no anything. No, there is no right way to do it. You have an imagination. Please use it.

8.    Play the old Simon game until you want to throw it against the wall, or smash into 1,000 pieces.  It’s the original train your brain app.

9.   Build a fort in the backyard. No, I am not gonna help. Yes, you can use the $125 Pottery Barn Kids duvet cover from your bed. I don’t care anymore. Making a memory trumps 400 thread count cotton.

10.  Finally, learn to find the amazing in the ordinary. Trust me. You will need this skill in your 40’s. I pinky swear. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Baby Dedication

My sweet little nephew James was dedicated to the Lord this weekend at my sister's church. It was a beautiful service in which the pastor gave a special message to Melissa and Ben as his parents as well as the rest of the family and their congregation in the honor and responsibility of raising James in the way of the church. I pray that he grows to love the Lord at an early age and follows God's plan for his life. He is such a miracle and amazing addition to our family and it was a great joy to celebrate his birth in such a public way.

At one point in the service, I looked down the row and saw this mirror image of Haley and my dad and thankfully Travis was able to catch this special moment on camera.

Family is one of the most precious things in this entire world and it is truly a gift to be surrounded by such a supportive one. Today, I'm thankful for another little life to bring us even closer together.