Saturday, October 7, 2017

Summer 2017

The summer started off with Dow graduating from Auburn in early May, moving to Birmingham and starting a new job.  He loves B'ham, his job and his many friends who live there after graduating.  Beth spent eight weeks in Haiti.  Six of those weeks were in a very remote areas on the western most point of Haiti.  Her time there was spent providing wound care and education.  She has some amazing stories.  She spent the second half of the summer enrolled in Samford's second summer session.

We celebrated Lena and Will's third Gotcha Day and Hope's 8th Gotcha Day in May as well.  Then we enjoyed all the end of the school year activities!  Hope and Will started their summer off attending the Montgomery Zoo camp again this year!  Hope asked me if she could volunteer at the Zoo when she turned 16.  She is animal crazy and has such a wonderful appreciation of nature.  Then we made our annual trip to the beach and were accompanied by Tropical Storm Cindy.  I just have to say that a four bedroom condo gets really small with three rambunctious kiddos.  After Cindy departed, she left high and dangerous waves which did not allow for swimming in the ocean.

We also celebrated Andy's grandmother's 95th birthday at the lake!  The grandchildren call her Grandmother but the great grandkids call her Gigi.  She is a very Godly woman and has had a great impact in the lives of many people including mine.

Since we were at the beach during our VBS, the kids were guests at both Vaughn Forest Baptist Church's and Eastwood Presbyterian's VBS.  They enjoyed both very much.  We did not spend much time at the lake this summer but Will and Hope did manage to get up on skis a couple of times.  Hopefully, next summer will be their year to start skiing and wake boarding.  Andy was in three out of state trials this summer lasting three weeks each.  Needless to say, it was a challenging summer without him at home.  There is some mysterious phenomenon that occurs with some young children when daddy is not at home!  And this is not a positive thing!  A big thank you to everyone who helped out this summer with the kids and bringing food!

Andy and I did manage to get a weekend to take Hope to NY.  If you know Hope well, you know she has always been and still is a big fan of the Lion King.  I told her when she was five that for her 10th b'day, we would take her to NY to see the play.  Little did I know those five years would pass so quickly, but she loved every minute of it!  From seeing the play to having her picture made with the statue of Balto to seeing the Statue of Liberty.  She also got to see the 9/11 Memorial which someday will become a special memory for her.  However, one of the major highlights for her was touching a wild bird in Central Park.  She was over the top about that!

We also spent a lot of time doing math facts and reading this summer much to the kids' dismay.  The kids also spent many days at the pool in our neighborhood (we are so thankful for that pool!).  Lena and Will did a lot of occupational therapy exercises/activities for both gross and fine motor skills.  Will worked a lot on speech.  

I have to admit that I was one happy momma when August rolled around and school started once again.  Even though I am not a very scheduled person, I have come to appreciate the need for structure and a schedule in the lives of our three youngest, especially Will and Lena.  They want to know what is happening every minute of not just this day but the next day and the next:).  Knowing what to expect is very important and comforting to them!

Dow on graduation day - May 6
Beth with Will, Hope and Lena at the lake
Celebrating Gigi's B'day
Hope at the Statue of Liberty
Hope just after seeing the play - it was awesome!

Lena and Hope with Viola!  
Andy and Will

The Dolphin Cruise Ship
Hope on her last day of art camp at the Montgomery Museum of Art

Viola and Hope at Wynlakes pool
Hope with Will and Lena as they work on fine motor skills

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Spring Happenings 2017 - Part II

Spring events just kept on coming as the last month of school approached.  It was hard for the Momma to keep up with everything:).  Lena completed Kindergarten, Will completed 2nd grade and Hope completed 3rd grade!  Once again, we can not say enough positive things about Eastwood Christian School.  They are not only teachers but they love their jobs and children.  It comforts me knowing, they have a big hand in helping "raise" our children.  We love ECS!!!

Will receiving the "Compassionate" reward from Ms. Ford

Will as Charlotte (Charlie) in Charlotte's Web

Hope is riding her pony, Gypsy, all by herself!

Hope with Mrs. Quallio on rewards day - Hope received the "Joyful" award!

Hope with Mrs. Owen!

Hope and good friend, Collier, singing in the Year End Program

Lena and good friend, Anna!

She did it, she graduated from Kindergarten.  Thanks Mrs. Givens for all you taught Lena!

Will on the last day of school with Ms. Ford!

Hope on the last day of school with some of her best friends!

You never know where Viola's artistic talent will show up!

Lena's last day of school was spent at a party at Pump It Up!

Lena with Cinderella

Will with Captain America!

The kids with Colonel Jim.  Will just landed this big bass!

Spring Happenings 2017 - Part 1

Spring is not only busy for nature - trees and flowers budding, grass turning green, cold mornings/hot afternoon, baby animals being born, etc., it is also busy time for kids!

Will celebrating the 100 day of school with 100 bandaids covering his shirt!

Hope' s 3rd class celebrating the Resurrection through a Seder Meal

Hope helping Mr. Geiger find the missing piece of matzah break!

Lena in her traditional Moldovan clothes in the Kindergarten Around the World Program

Lena saying her part of where she is from!

The kids surprised Andy with a homemade birthday cake!

Will created a vertebrae project - his choice was the otter!

Viola and the kids enjoying a cool morning at the lake!

Hope placed #1 in State AISA competition in her age group!

Hope's field trip to the Sylacauga Marble Quarry

Hope in front of an inactive quarry - a pretty amazing place!

Easter 2017!

Due to some health issues, I was not able to participate in Easter last year.  Fortunately, I am better this year and was able to enjoy the big event (Resurrection not the Egg Hunt)!  I also participated in Lent this year giving up all sweets.  While it was just a little sacrifice, it brought my focus to the sacrifice Jesus paid.

We don't really play up the Easter Bunny - he comes a few days before Easter with three things (small) for each child.   We don't get new outfits either.  In fact, I really like the ministry called Forgo the Frock.  Their idea is to sell shirts with the logo and the money is used to help vulnerable children. Folks would wear the t-shirt to church instead of a church outfit:).  You could also use all of the savings on outfits to give to other ministries.

We had our annual Easter Egg hunt at the lake with the young cousins, Andy's parents, and his 94 year old grandmother.  We dye eggs and then the big hunt occurs.  It has its challenges but is an exciting event for the kids (and dogs).

Aunt Robin in charge of the dying of eggs!

Cousin Tristan and Will

Cousin Van and Lena 

Cousin Matthew and Hope

Lena just found an egg

Will looking for more eggs

Hope, Lena, Matthew

Sunday morning - Dow, Beth, Hope, Will and Lena

All the little cousins with our au pair, Viola!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Christmas 2016!

This was Lena's and Will's third Christmas, so they really knew what to expect this year.  They even remembered what we had done the year before and traditions were becoming familiar to them.  We try to keep Christmas as simple as possible not just to avoid the chaos but to place the emphasis where it needs to be:  on the King of kings.  I struggled this past year with health issues which called for making Christmas even more simple this year.

We had to start a new tradition this year, because the Colees moved to Birmingham.  Instead of being at their home on Christmas Eve, we had roast and veggies at home after the candlelight service at church.  

Viola went home for Christmas since she extended her stay with us until September.  Dow was home for a good long break and I kept thinking this will be his last Christmas vacation since he graduates in May.  Beth made a quick trip to Haiti with Andy and Andy actually made two quick trips to Haiti.

We spent the week between Christmas and New Years mostly at the lake and enjoyed a lot of down time.  The kids enjoyed their roller blades and quickly learned how fun they were.

Mrs. Hope Mardre had the children over to make gingerbread houses!
The kids all ready for the live nativity scene!
Will and the second grade classes singing at John Knox
Lena enjoying the K5 Christmas party with Anna!
Our three reindeers in front of the Christmas tree!
Having a hot chocolate and cookie break in front of the fire with Viola!
Hope loves her baby tiger!
Lena and her new pajamas on Christmas morning!
The kids getting ready to come downstairs on Christmas morning!
After the presents were opened!
Beth loved her new shoes (designed by her)
Dow looking over one of his books!
Will with his Avenger skateboard!
Will trying out his roller blades!
Hope trying out her roller blades!

Sophie and Lena receiving dolls from Mimi and Pawpaw!
Gigi with grandkids and great-grandkids!