Sunday, May 31, 2009

Project 365, Week 22

May 24
We won't soon forget the rain and hail storm we had right in the middle of Micah's graduation celebration. This is Amanda dancing to "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" with her great-grandparents.

May 25
I had the privilege of being among the guests at Nathan and Laryssa's house for their very first cookout. Parts of both sides of the family were there and the day was gorgeous for Memorial Day. I was without husband and children, so I never thought to take my camera out. If I had, I would have taken a picture of the very yummy strawberry shortcake my sister-in-law made. There was some debate as to the "correct" and "best" way to make this dessert, but Micah and I both agreed Laryssa did it just right. Unfortunately for her, she is signed up to bring that to the next three years of family gatherings. :)

May 26
Riley took off on Friday morning, right after our walk and his breakfast. He's done this before, but always comes back within a couple hours. This time he didn't and the town closed at noon for the long weekend. However, the pound called first thing Tuesday morning and said they had him. When I was writing the check to bail him out, I asked how much it would cost me to have them keep him and they said there was no amount of money they would take. So...back he came with us and we're all happy to have the dumb dog home.

May 27
Avery has spent hours doing her new puzzle this week. Its 63 pieces and she whips it out in no time. She's also learning how to guide her sister to be helpful and not in the way.

May 28
Amanda praying over lunch. Her standard prayer for months now, whether for meals, or bedtime or on our walks is: "Jesus, I pray that you would keep Daddy safe and in your care. Guard effing (everything) he do." Sometimes it end with an emphatic A-MEN and other times she'll tack other things on the end. So sweet.

May 29
I have a new nephew! Rocco Quinn arrived safely today and we are so thankful to have him here.

My sister Amy and her family of seven. They are incredible parents who will be leaning on the Lord even more now. I know this new little guy is going to fit right into their family and our extended family.

May 30
We like to make a big deal of our wedding anniversary each year (meaning I like to and Shaun humors me...he'd be just as happy snuggling on the couch at home and watching a Red Sox game). At the last minute Shaun arranged for us to sneak away to Boston. We stayed at a very nice hotel right across from Old City Hall. It was a beautiful day for walking and checking out the sights at Quincy Market. Then we went to dinner at a place away from the bustle. After, we went back to our room and changed then went to see the Blue Man Group. What a show! Interactive, entertaining and unique. We ended our night at Finale, a place that almost exclusively serves desserts.
Our time was fun, relaxing and romantic...just perfect.

Documenting Baby's first time in Boston. I'm thinking he and his dad might be back a couple more times in his life. Not so much for romantic dinners but for RED SOX games!

Sara's got lots more projects for you to check out!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Celebrating 15 Years

Today Shaun and I are celebrating our 15th (gasp!) wedding anniversary. I think we both thought we'd be celebrating the event in somewhere like St. Thomas...

Or Mexico...

Or Aruba...

But for several reasons, we are not able to do that this year. The main reason is that at 34 weeks I look like this (which I hope is made to look worse than it actually is by the angle of a three-year-old) and the airlines would not be happy to see me show up. My doctor would not be thrilled with any length of travel time either.

Also, Shaun has a looming deadline for an apartment that has been promised to be ready for occupancy very soon and has been spending every spare moment there.
So...we will make the very best of day that we get to spend together (without children). It truly is a day to celebrate. We are celebrating the faithfulness God has shown us over these years together and the blessings He pours out on us
Shaun is my gift from God and I am so thankful He put us together. I still don't know how I managed to snag such a man, but I do know I got the best of the best. Each year has been better than the last and I look forward to all the good things God has for us in the next 15.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Good Coffee Day

To those of you who have checked in to see adorable pictures of Amanda at her dance class, I must dissapoint you...there was no class this week (secret and silent YAY from Momma).

Instead its grey and unseasonably cold outside (my computer says 57 right now) so I consider that to be a perfect excuse to declare a multiple-cup-of-coffee day. I'm on my third now, don't know how far I'll get...but don't worry, I drink de-caf whenever possible. Hope you get some quiet moments to enjoy your favorite beverage, too!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Happy 80th

While Shaun's grandmother was up from Florida and we were all together celebrating Micah's graduation anyway, we decided to make it a full day and celebrate Nana's 80th birthday, which is in a couple days.

While she was still trapped under the wet pavilion, several of us snuck away to a different building to do a quick set-up and move into birthday-party mode. When she was finally escorted in, we had the lights off and Jared played "Happy Birthday" on his saxophone while we all sang. She was completely shocked, surprised, emotional...all the right reactions for us to know we had truly surprised her.

Yes, there are 80 candles in that cake.

Several of her friends that she was in a Bridge Club with came and it had been nearly 40 years since she'd seen them. The grandchildren and great-grandchildren made a list of 80 Reasons Why We Love Nana and read it out loud to her. Of course it didn't take long for the kids to make a dance floor and start up the party.

Nana has not had an easy life, but she continues to unwaveringly see the glass half-full. She is smart, generous, forgiving and always up for anything. She takes great pride in her family and we are all blessed by her influence in our lives. It was special to have the opportunity to honor her.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Congrats, Micah!

Yesterday Shaun's youngest brother, Micah graduated from college. Its been a long, hard road for him and we are proud of him for seeing it through to completion. Unfortunately, he was feeling ill so he was trying to lay low a bit.

He was blessed to have all five of his grandparents there to celebrate with him.

Shaun's mom and sister worked hard for everything to come together. We had a pretty spot under a pavilion. Everything was green, the sun was shining and the temperature was perfect.

We were having fun eating, blowing bubbles, listening to music.

Until. We heard rumbling in the distance...and then it wasn't so distant. The skies grew dark, the temperature dropped, the wind started to blow and the rain started coming down hard. There was almost immediate flooding and there was just a small space under the pavilion where it was somewhat dry.

The kids thought it was great fun to run out into the rain.

Amanda thought she would run out on her own, but the grass was a bit slippery. She face-planted right into a big puddle that was just waiting for her...hilarious!

Then the hail came. Yes, hail.

Few stayed dry and Shaun's mom got especially wet while she bravely tried to rescue some of the food. Everyone found a buddy to cuddle with and tried to stay warm and a little dry.

The graduate even got a towel! We waited for nearly an hour under the pavilion for the storm to pass and needless to say it kind of cut the party short. On the bright side, it will always be a memorable day and somewhere down the road he'll be able to laugh about it like my sister-in-law and brother-in-law now laugh about the similar weather they had on their wedding day back in August.

This is Avery and my nephew Nathanael. They stood like this for quite a while watching the rain come down and the older boys (and Amanda) playing in it. So, so sweet.

Micah is on to bigger and better things now and we pray this graduation is a springboard into all the plans God has for his life. Congratulations, Micah!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Project 365, Week 21

May 17
A beautiful day for a walk. Towards the end I let the kids get out of the stroller and run the rest of the way home.

May 18
Avery's last dance class.

May 19
Avery is very proud of her lipstick that she is still learning how to apply and she's pretty good about sharing with her sister.

May 20
Since Avery makes her own bed, Amanda is sure she can do her own, too. Hey, never too early to start, right? I thought it was cute how she tucked Bear in.

May 21
The girls' favorite room at the nursing home is the rehab/physical therapy room. There is lots of equipment to play with. :) Amanda had quite a few of them singing at one point.

May 22
Avery had a small wart on her finger that we decided to have removed after about a year. Her she is "pre-op" trying to be brave. We spent lots of time preparing her for how painful it would be and what the process was...she took it like a champ.

May 23
Because she did so well, Avery got to pick out a special prize. She chose a bubble making machine, but I wasn't able to get batteries til today. Oh, the squeals! They had a blast with it.
Each day has pictures of the girls this week and that is because Shaun worked about 80 hours getting an apartment ready to rent and I was on duty the entire week. It was a good week, just not for variety of pictures. Thanks, Sara for hosting.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Softball Begins!

Our softball season started a week ago, for the 13th season. We enjoy spending our summer evenings down at the park as a family. We've formed very special friendships with many of the other players and their families and the kids almost always have friends to play with and dirt to play in.

After the girls got up from their naps, I told them that we'd be going to Daddy's first softball game in the evening. Immediately, Avery took Amanda upstairs and they both put on warm clothes and socks and shoes. Then they came down and announced they were ready to go so I had to clarify that the game wasn't for another several hours. I thought it was sweet that Avery thought up the warm outfits and that Amanda let her help. And, it takes a special occasion for Avery to willingly wear her sneakers. Apparently they are not as fashionable as sandals or flip flops.

Although we have a new sponsor this year, Shaun is still coaching and I am keeping score. Really not much has changed except we've "gone green". Opening night was chilly and rainy but the girls didn't skip a beat. Turns out umbrellas are lots of fun to play with and puddles even more so.

I am reminded every day how different these two are. Avery hiked up her pants and carefully stepped through the puddle a couple times and called it good. Amanda ran full force through all puddles available, laughing as she did it.

Even though the team lost, it was nice to get the season underway. It was a little strange to get out of the car and, for the first time in four years, I didn't need to pull out the stroller and diaper bag. I gotta say, it was quite nice to travel light, though by the middle of the season I know I'll be hauling the stroller and diaper bag around again. For a good cause... :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ballerina Avery

In lieu of being involved in the big spring recital, the parents of the 3 & 4 year-old class were invited to observe the last class. Shaun and I were able to watch Avery and her class do all the things they've been learning over the last months. Possibly her favorite thing was figuring out how to skip, and I gotta agree, there's just something...well, fun about skipping. AND, as long as you are holding the hand of a child, you don't look like a complete idiot doing it.

We were very impressed with this dance studio and the level of excellence that is expected, all while keeping the atmosphere light. It would be helpful if it weren't a half hour away, but I think we will probably enroll her again in the fall. They do a big Nutcracker performance in December, after all. :)

Avery is third from the left.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Seeing is Believing

Seeing is believing, and that is the only way I can know that this story is true. I mentioned that my sister is several states away adopting her son Levi, who was born on the 14th.

On the 16th, my dear friend Shelva called to tell me she'd given birth to a sweet baby girl, Marin. Since she lives in the same major city where my sister is adopting, I asked her what hospital she was at and it turns out they are at THE SAME HOSPITAL!

Shelva and I were best friends, completely inseparable while we were teenagers. I still remember the day she left me as I stood crying in her driveway. Actually, she was just leaving for college, but I can still very clearly recall that feeling. Its been nearly 16 years since that day and she hasn't lived here since, but we've remained very close.

And Bethany's been my sister since...well, since she was born. And she's off on this journey to adopt that has seen miracle after miracle in such a short amount of time. I think its just one more small one that she and Shelva were able to connect. God is just WAY cool!

Shelva and Marin, Bethany and Levi
"All the days ordained for me were written in your
book before one of them came to be."
Psalm 139:16

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Carnival Capers

This may sound like heresy to some, but Shaun and I are not into carnivals, fairs, Disney World, etc. I won't be a kill-joy and list all of our reasons, but suffice it to say we've just stayed away.

However...we have started to dabble in these activities because in our house live two little girls. And each one of these girls has a little finger. And on those little fingers is wrapped a daddy who is made of mush when it comes to his girls.

Little by little they are learning that asking "Please Daddy?", with a sweet look or a little hug thrown in will get them just about anything inside our rules. And wisely, they are also learning to take me right out of the equation so their daddy doesn't have to back me up when I've told them no.

So when we passed the carnival that was in town for a couple days, they'd barely gotten their request out when Shaun said, "Sure! I'll take you." So, for the first time in the 15 years we've lived in this town, we walked down to the carnival. I started the walk trying to calculate how much money we were going to waste, irresponsibly blow, however you want to phrase it, but my thoughts were drowned out by the gleeful squeals and giggles as we got closer. Oh, and the smiles! Totally worth the few bucks we spent on rides.

The "kids win every time" booth.

Here we are leaving with our typical pile of free loot, given by people who, in spite of themselves, get totally sucked into Amanda's charms and start loading her up with stuff.

Daddy ended our special family time by taking us to Friendly's for ice-cream...a surprise and a treat!