Friday, January 24, 2014

Back to life, back to reality...

It is mid-January and our break is over. We took some time off of school for our trip to Pa, and other various Christmas events, and we enjoyed a nice long break from Classical Conversations and dance classes as well.

Now however, we are back and at it, full speed ahead, noses to the grind, baby. As much as I love nice long breaks from school and our activities, it is so nice to get back into the routine of things.

Seriously, check out this boy's cursive!

While Grady and Bella work on their school, Lilly loves to cut paper into tiny little pieces...sigh.

This past weekend we got to celebrate this little guy's second birthday at a Barnyard Brunch Birthday Party. There was a super fun little petting zoo with goats and chickens and ducks, a bunny and a pony ride, which was a HUGE hit with the kiddos! The brunch food was a huge hit with me. Stuffed French Toast, quiche Lorraine, yogurt with berries and granola, oh my goodness!

Back on the home front, it's been cold around here. Not quite "Pennsylvania cold", but close. We've had a whole lotta days in the fifties and nights in the thirties and forties. Which, while it may be completely normal for half of the world, it's pretty chilly for us. We've been getting good use out of our winter coats and sweaters, and fleece footed pajamas. The kids, not me with the footed pajamas. I don't have any of those, however, I'm thinking they might be a good choice when we go camping in a few weeks...

The good thing about Florida in the winter, is that the sun still shines almost all of the time. Except at night, of course. But I remember so many cold, wet, dreary days up north. There's not much of that here.

This is Molly. She is Lilly's very favorite "baby" right now. She goes everywhere with her, even to the bathroom. A good portion of the time, Lilly is pregnant with Baby Molly, and she is stuffed in her shirt. "Molly likes to go potty, Mama." "Molly likes to watch me brush my teeth, Mama." "Mama. Mama. Molly likes to play outside." "Mama, please take Molly's picture. Smile, Molly...."

Our baby chicks are almost  all grown up. We are still waiting on eggs from our two oldest, which will indicate "all grown up". Leafy and Rosie are 4 1/2 months, so it could be any day now. Lacey and Zebra (the two black and white ones) are a month younger, so they still have some time.

It's official, 4 out of 4 chickens love avocado.

"You got some on your beak there Sis, let me help you out..."

Since it's been so cold, a lot of our playdate time has been inside. This is fun for the kids, except when it's time to clean up the toys...

Pink sparkle painted nails are super fun!
And these four little warriors are "off to battle"!
Watch out!

So as it seems, back to the grind, is really not a bad gig at all. School, dance, Classical Conversations, playdates, Florida sunshine, birthday celebrations, friends and family, all make "normal" life so very good. (Now all we need is a little beach weather!)

Friday, January 17, 2014

A trip to remember.

This past month, after Christmas but before the New Year, we headed to Pennsylvania to remember the life of my grandfather. It had just snowed the day before we arrived, so there was some snow left on the ground for us to "oooo" and "aahhh" over. 

The last time we saw snow, we were in the mountains of Georgia celebrating Christmas with my parents, my sister and my grandpa. Bella was two and a half, and Grady had just turned one, and only God knew about Lilly at that time.

Just in case you need a visual, here's a little throwback... Which actually just means that I needed an excuse to go back through old pictures and reminisce a little. Please indulge me.

Here we all are, looking so cute in our Christmas hats. I love how Grady is smiling at Grandpa.

Grandpa and Bella dancing... sigh and sniff.

Ok, moving on. So anyway, it was a few years ago, and three out of three children really did not have any memories of snow. 

When we got to Pennsylvania, we so were excited to get out and play in the leftover snow. We made our first stop, and hadn't even unpacked the coats and hats and gloves, before the kids rushed to see and touch the snow. They didn't seem to mind not being dressed appropriately.

They were so excited to see their breath and smell good ole' Pennsylvania cow poop!


We got to my Aunt & Uncle's house, unpacked, and went right back out to the snow (this time with better attire).

The following series of pictures, well, I love them. My boys were playing snowball fight and chase. Grady's expressions totally make me laugh. He had such a good time stalking and sneak attacking his daddy.

One evening, my aunt and uncle watched our kids, and Bryan & I got to go on a date. We went to dinner, and then thought we would go for a little walk along the streets of Lititz. After dinner, we left the restaurant and got about a block and a half down the road before we decided that we were WAY too cold to actually enjoy our walk. Wimpy southerners, yes, I know. We turned around and hurried back to the car.

And finally, the reason that we came.

This trip and this experience were so full of sweet memories and "remember when"s. I went to school in this building when I lived in Pennsylvania. There used to be pews in this room. Pews that my little 6, 7, & 8 year old self sat in once a week during chapel. I stood on that stage with my best friend and sang "Love In Any Language". It seems so strange to think that I would be gone for 25 years, and then come back for a funeral.

Anyway, this man. What a smile. What a beautiful heart.

He was the mayor of Akron for 25 years.

How he loved her. And now they're together again.

We stood at the front and smiled and hugged. We listened to stories, and got caught up with sweet friends and family from the past. It was such a joy to get to see the parents, aunts and uncles, and grandparents of my childhood friends. 

My parents took the stage, and my dad gave the eulogy. It was an absolutely beautiful description of the life of a beautiful God-loving man. There were things about him that I actually learned for the first time that night. My mama spoke, and shared a little from the humorous side of my grandpa. And then I stood up on that stage... and completely started bawling. It's true. If nothing else, I'm sure people must have realized that the man meant a lot to me...

What happened next is my favorite part. We passed the microphone around the room, and people began sharing their stories of my grandfather. There were stories about how he wanted a park for the citizens of Akron, and fought for it until it happened. (And now that park is this.) There were stories of how he discipled people in Christ and led by example. But the majority of the stories were hilarious, about a boy and a man that loved life, and the room was filled with laughter. And it was so good. 

At the end of the service, two representatives from the U.S. Military honored him. They played Taps, unfolded and re-folded the flag, and presented it to my mama. I always knew he was a great grandfather to me, but after that night, I'm even more proud to be his granddaughter. He left a wonderful legacy of love and service.