Thursday, November 29, 2012

Amanda is SIX!

 Our sweet little Manda-Manda turned SIX!

This may sound strange, but it doesn't surprise me that she is six...more like it was odd to me that she was only five.  Weird, right?  Well, in so many ways she's always been beyond her years....her conversation, her depth of understanding of life, her heart.

She is free-spirited, passionate, tender, independent, affectionate. She loves fiercely, seeks justice, has a big, bleeding, generous heart, knows limits only by testing them and pushing them.

She is Tigger and Eyeore and back again all in the same day, often in the same moment.

She is our spice, our zest, our sunshine.  She has taught me so much about what it means to love, to feel, to care.  And have fun!

In talking about her birthday, she was really stuck on going to the zoo.  When it was clear that's what she wanted to do I checked the zoo schedule, just to verify they were closed for the season.  Surprisingly, they posted four days a year they are closed.  Alrighty, the zoo in 40 degree weather it is!

However, when the day arrived, so did snow.  Suddenly, traveling the 3-hour round trip to the zoo and walking around in the snow didn't seem like much of an option.

So after picking her up from school at noon and talking over her choices, we went with our slapped together carefully planned out Plan B.  She wanted to watch a family movie and have cousins over.

So within the hour I met my sister, picked up two of her kids, took them to the grocery store so Amanda could pick out some special snacks, things I would never buy otherwise, and we settled in for a family movie (she cried at the sweet).

French toast and scrambled eggs breakfast.  She arranged her plate to look like its presented at Friendlys.  :)
 Cupcakes for school!
 While waiting for cousins to arrive, we met up with Uncle Nathan and Auntie for some pictures...and a snowball fight and feast.

 She thought she should be in some of the shots.  :)

 She really wanted to frost and decorate her own cake.
When I was tucking the girls in, Avery whispered to me, The kid is six and she didn't pick Chuck E. Cheese.  I cannot believe we didn't spend the night there...she's six!

When I went to Amanda, I was telling her how special she is, what great plans God has for her, etc, she said in all sincerity, Mom, YOU are a jewel.  YOU are the woman...the one I love the most.  You and Daddy and wait.  GOD, then you and Daddy.
Of one thing we can be sure...six will be an adventure!  We love you, Precious Girl!  It is a complete honor to be your mom.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Project 365, Week 47

We had a wonderful week.  Full, eclectic, with much happening "behind the scenes"....hopefully I'll be able to share here soon.

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving.  I just love the "holidays" and the feeling in the air around this time.  Here are some pictures that scratch the surface of our week.  

November 18
We walked down to breakfast with our neighbors turning to good friends.  Beautiful day and TOO big girls.
 My sweet girl modeling her new birthday outfit.

November 19
We dropped off Shaun's truck to have his new plow put on.  Aiden was ALL up in it.  Hopefully the plow doesn't get any use this year.
 November 20
Another highlight for Aiden....every Tuesday we go around the house and empty all the little garbage cans.  He LOVES to help and is getting very good at it.
The girls and I went to a women's shelter to take pictures of their babies.  Don't you just love this outfit?  
November 21
A house a couple up from ours just went on the market.  Its a beautiful Victorian that's been used as a college party house for many years.  We were exploring the possibility of making it into something else.

Aiden and A loved running through the huge, empty house.
 I was invited to Amanda's class to take pictures of their butter-making activity.  Such a sweet group of kids, most of them missing a variety of front teeth.  There are about 15 girls and 5 boys... perfect!  :)
 Nana and Grandpa John arrived in town for the Thanksgiving weekend.  They were here for about five minutes before John was roped into Monopoly.  They are such good sports!
 November 22
Thanksgiving Day Road Race.
 And Thanksgiving afternoon.
 November 23
I pulled out all the Christmas makes my heart happy that the girls are so into it.  They are starting to remember ornaments and some of the stories behind them.
 Auntie Sarah asked if the girls could sleep over....they did hair and makeup and went shopping and got ice cream and generally got spoiled rotten.

They also slept in a waterbed for the first time.  I love this picture Sarah took of them wrapped up in Jared's snuggly.
Meanwhile, I had the boys and A.  Not quite the same experience.  :)  There was much wrestling and nerf gun playing.
November 24
When I came home from the gym I was surprised to see ALL the kids awake.  However, our guests were still sleeping, so I took four crazy kids and a dumb dog to the river.

You see this picture and I bet you can guess how it ended.
Later, we went to Shaun's grandparents.  This picture couldn't be too much worse, but I love it for the story it tells and the people gathered.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving, Take Two

We are still getting every ounce out of the holiday weekend that we can but I thought I'd take these couple quiet moments I have to start documenting some of it.

I love Thanksgiving, don't you?  I love that the primary focus is on family and being together with no pressing agenda.

I started the day like I have for the last 11 years...running the Manchester Road Race.  We had perfect weather, which was great for obvious reasons but it also drew a crowd!  15,000 registered runners with spectators lined shoulder to shoulder on either side of the road for the entire 4.748 miles.

So fun, so festive!  People really get into the spirit with outlandish costumes.  I was able to sort of capture a few of the sights with my phone as I was weaving through the mob running.  A few of my favorites, not pictured here, were a lady dressed up as the gingerbread man, a kid with Downs playing his heart out on a drum set at the end of his driveway and a sign that said say Happy Birthday, Emma as you pass...she's turning 5.  A few feet after there was a family wearing birthday hats and a little girl in a chair sporting a birthday crown and a big smile and she waved to the runners.

My SIL Sarah (she's got TWO full marathons under her belt), me, SIL Laryssa and BIL Nathan (who always records a great time, despite no training).  Great tradition!

 Back at the house, things were well under way.

 Amanda worked very hard on the place cards.
 Shaun and his mom do the lion's share of the work every year.  There's never a word of compliant, so I've stopped feeling guilty for shirking my responsibilities.  Truth be told, I have never cooked a turkey.
 Manda Girl was anxious to help with whatever needed doing.  I caught her sneaking a bite...shocker.

 Shaun's family has more sports fanatics than not.  The conversation ALWAYS turns to Red Sox talk when they are together.

 13 adults
 7 kids (we are doing respite care for Z's sister for the weekend...I'm not sure either one cared too much that they were together on Thanksgiving, but I think when they look back it will be meaningful.
 A warm enough day to enjoy being outside...what a treat!

 Z and my nephew Jared get along great...and usually get pretty physical.  Boys!

 The girls found a non-contact activity.
 Dessert!  Uncle Micah makes an apple pie that will make your knees weak.
 Shaun's dad and his wife joined us for dessert.
 We put on a movie in an attempt to calm things a bit.
 The kids chatting with their soon-to-be Grandpa Tom.
 And reading with Nana.
{Contented sigh} is good.