Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Celebrating Beth

I have been friends with Beth for a few years now. She is one of the sweetest people I know and my favorite second shooter for weddings. (Not sure I've ever had a different second shooter yet!) I love working with her because she has such a servant's heart! At the last wedding my flash was slowing down (I need a new one!) so I said, "Give me your flash Beth and then please go replace the batteries for mine." No problem. No complaining. And I am sure that she would do it again. It's her kindness that makes working with her an enjoyable experience.

A little over a week ago Beth's sister planned a party to celebrate her. It wasn't her birthday but they called it a birthday party anyways. Her sister invited all her family and friends and had food and games and fun planned for the event.

They had a photo booth and asked if I would take the photo booth photos for them. I was more than happy to snap those memories for Beth!

Of course, Liza and Jason loved the photo booth more than the adults but I didn't mind... I got some great photos of my kiddos!

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Beth and her sister Megan.
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Beth is blessed to have such a great family and friends... and I'm blessed to have her in my life as well!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Imagine That!

I have heard it said so many times in the past few weeks that kids just don't have imaginations any more.

But not my kids!!
Liza and Jason have the most awesome imaginations. They will spend hours in their attic play room making up stories and writing their own books. They will dress up and go on all day pretending they are someone else. They go on the coolest adventures in our one-tenth of an acre plot of land that is mostly covered by house.

Letting them get bored almost always leads to the most fun times. They are so good at creating their own fun.

On Saturday I was loading up the car and ready to head out for the day when Liza and Jason come running at me shouting "WE MADE A SEE-SAW MOMMY!!" They sure did! They found a board in the yard and placed it over a bucket and were see-sawing away... having the best time ever!

The following day I heard some pounding going on out back. When I looked I found this...

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The see-saw board had broken so they got out Jason's tools and were hammering the boards together because they were making a clubhouse.

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I made them take a break from building for a short while because I needed to run some errands. The whole time they talked about their clubhouse... how they could build it, where they would place it in the yard, where they would get the wood and supplies. They talked about how they would hang out in there and maybe even have some picnics in the clubhouse.

On and on about this clubhouse that only had two boards that were forming one corner.

It makes me want to run out and get them some more wood and help them build it and have lunch in their clubhouse with them. We'll see what happens by the end of summer.

Watching them reminds me of my childhood... and the three-story tree house all us neighborhood kids built together. It was so unsturdy and unsafe but we all still talk about it. It's one of our greatest adventures.

I'm so glad that Liza and Jason love to play outside. I'm so fascinated by where their imaginations take them. I hope they never lose that imagination because it really makes them so awesome and fun!!

Oh... and if you ever need to get in touch with Liza you can just text her on her iphone. She's been texting away and playing games and even has it password protected. Check out her awesome iphone...

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Yes... it's a rock.

Go imagine something great today!



Monday, April 28, 2014

Book Before Movie ~ Wild

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Wild by Cheryl Strayed was an interesting book for me. There were parts I loved and parts where I was ready to just put the book down and be done with it because I was a little bit bored.

Cheryl writes about her months spent hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, a trail that runs through California, Oregon and Washington. She shares the struggles she experienced in life that lead her to the trail and her solo hike in hopes of sorting through some things and finding herself.

I enjoyed her encounters with strangers and reading as she processed through things in life that were holding her back. I celebrated with her as she reached the end of her journey. But then there were the times where I was all "whoa... that was far too much information." Call me old fashioned, but I prefer classy women over crude women. There were parts of the story that could have been just as good and interesting without the details.

So I'm torn over this book.
I loved it and I didn't.
There were times I was bored with it to the point I almost stopped.
There were times I couldn't stop reading.
But I think it will make a good movie!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Erie Vacation

This week just seemed to disappear... but somehow I managed to edit my vacation pictures and start a photo book. I'm hoping to get that done before my coupon expires. (40 page 8x8 book for $12.99, free shipping... worth it!)

Anyways... here's a little recap of our family vacation to Erie, PA last weekend.

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On Saturday the kids woke up bright and early at 7:00 so we ate breakfast, loaded up the van and hit the road. We passed our time on the almost 2 hour trip like we usually do... pretending our large lollipops are microphones and singing along with our favorite songs.

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Our first stop in Erie was the Children's Museum. I had found a coupon online for buy one admission get one free... so I printed two and we went to the museum for $12 total! We explored and used our imaginations and had a fantastic time.

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Next, we stopped at the Bicentennial Tower. Liza and Jason were hoping to take the 200-some steps to the top but when we got there we found out that you had to take the elevator.

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Being that we couldn't take the steps, we ended up still having a lot of time before we could check into the hotel. We decided to find one of the three lighthouses in the area.

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Turns out there was a park right at the lighthouse which the kids were excited about.

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It was finally time to check in at the hotel.
Liza and Jason tested out the bed and then we went for a swim.

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After dinner we headed to Presque Isle where we got a bit excited about the ice, froze our faces off and watched the sunset.

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Liza and Jason then got to spend their first night in a hotel. They had a hard time falling asleep while sharing the same bed but eventually quiet came and we all got some rest... until 6:30am when Liza and Jason decided it was time to wake up. At 7:00 we headed to the lobby for the continental breakfast where Liza and Jason were excited about all the options that they never get to have at home. At 8:30 we were back in the pool.

It was a beautiful day so we then headed to the Erie Zoo where we got to see lots of animals that we don't have at our zoo... and some that we do see all the time. The zoo was really nice. We'll definitely go back. Especially since it is so cheap for us. We have a membership at the Pittsburgh Zoo and the Erie Zoo is one that honors that. We got 1/2 off meaning we only paid $11.50 for the four of us to go to the zoo!

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We spent the rest of our time at Presque Isle again because we love the beach. It was much warmer and we found more lighthouses. We took silly pictures, played in the sand and found a bunch of small seashells.

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We stopped at a restaurant for dinner and then made the drive home. We were all completely exhausted and full of good memories.

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Hooray for a successful family vacation!

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

All Grown Up

Yesterday evening I got really sick. I spent a good bit of my night sitting on the hard footstool by the toilet while my body got an intense and unwanted workout. It. was. awful. I spent today laying in bed too nauseous to do anything other than sleep off and on. It's been a long boring day.

As soon as I realized how sick I was last night I started getting things in order. I let the kids know that they would have to get themselves in bed since Mike was working. They were on their own for Bible story and tuck in.

I then sent out emails...
to a friend letting her know not to send her son here before school in the morning.
to another friend letting her know I couldn't take her son to daycare for her after school.
and to another friend letting her know I would not be exercising with her in the morning and could she please walk Jason home from school for me.

Then, since Mike would be working today I had to have him run to the store for all my sick needs last night when he was done working. He's a good husband.

It's hard being mom AND being sick but in this house this mama sure does get taken care of well.

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Liza and Jason were so grown up getting themselves ready for bed, watching the time, doing their Bible story, praying for me and tucking each other in bed. And can I just say that kid prayers are the sweetest prayers of all. Liza prayed "God, makes the germs go where they are supposed to go and not on my mommy!" AMEN!

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This morning was another thing to navigate. Thankfully Mike got Liza's lunch together and was home long enough to get them started with getting ready. I laid in bed while they watched a movie until it was time to go to school. I have to say that it was sooo hard to lay in bed as they walked out the door instead of walking with them and giving them hugs and kisses at the school steps before they ran in the door for the day. I didn't even get to watch them walk from the window... too sick to get up. But while it was hard to not be able to have our regular send off, it was so easy to trust them. I'm certain that they were more mature in their walk to school today than any other day.

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I gave Jason instructions to come upstairs and wake me up as soon as he got home. He came in the door and straight up the stairs.

ME: Hi Jason. How was school?
JASON: Good.
ME: Are you going to get your lunch?
JASON: I guess.
ME: You can watch a movie.
JASON: Ok... I've got it all under control mom.
ME: Oh... all right buddy.

They don't need me.
It's bittersweet... because my goal is to raise them up to be independent. And today I am sooo glad that they were able to be independent... but they are only 6 and 7!! Aren't they still supposed to need me for everything?

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Jason took such good care of me this afternoon while the others were still out for the day. He would randomly stop what he was doing and come in my room and ask "how ya doing mom?" And then he would offer sweet little boy words of comfort.

Once, in a grand gesture, he noticed that a small amount of light was coming through the curtains and decided to take care of that. Jason is such a sweety!  

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Even though I haven't got out of bed today and I have felt miserable for most of it, my heart is full. I am loved and cared for. I can count on my family to take care of themselves when I am not able to take care of them.

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Mike is off on a soup run for me, stocking up for tomorrow since he'll be gone most of the day. Liza and Jason are relaxing while watching a movie... and I'm still laying in bed sipping on some flat ginger-ale while thinking about how grown up my babies are.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Presque Isle

A week ago I looked at the forecast and saw that the weather was supposed to be amazing... so Mike asked someone to switch him at work and we took a family trip to Erie, PA on Saturday and Sunday. We did a ton of stuff in those two days and completely wore ourselves out but in honor of the cold weather rolling in again I decided I'll share about the cold part of our trip first.

On Saturday afternoon we went to the Bicentennial Tower and rode the elevator to the top.

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Liza and Jason were bummed because they really wanted to take the steps... we weren't allowed. But it's always fun to see how far we can see when we get up in a high building or tower. As we looked out we saw white and were a bit confused to what it could be. You can see it just behind the tree line.

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I thought about it all day and then finally it hit me... it must be ice! Being that it was 70 degrees and sunny it took my mind a while to realize there could still be ice on the water.

But ice it was and it was actually a really neat thing to see!

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We spent Saturday evening at Presque Isle exploring the beaches, looking for cool stones and freezing our butts off! We stayed for the sunset and then called it a day.

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