Sunday, April 30, 2017

Apriling Up

April is always a busy time of year with Zoe's birthday, a Grandparent visit and Easter celebrations (post here and here). It is also a time a year when I'm ready to get outside and play!  Shiloh joined me on the porch for a latte and apple snack.
You can tell we had a recent shop to Costco when Shiloh created her own sample station.  The sign read, "Grown ups and Stuffed Animals Allowed".
The kids fought off a round of fevers and Shiloh snapped a picture of me after taking Ezra's temperature.  Despite the fever it did not cease his joy!
Our annual tradition of Strawberry Picking.
This time we drove across town to a (new to us) field of Cottle Farms.
They use less pesticides, a HUGE plus, especially when you eat them out of the field.
These strawberries had no chance!
Thankful Aunt Lauren and Mom could come, too!
Although not as plentiful, it was worth it and we will be back!
Right near there was a park where we enjoyed a picnic and then took a short walk near the lake!
It is a growing place and perfect for a destination close by that we enjoyed!
I don't know who likes it more for their momma to join them on field trips, me or this girl! 
We had a great time at Saluda Shoals Park learning all about Wetlands.
There was some learning time...
as well as free play on the playground...
and time to explore on our own.
We even found a ton of tadpoles in a large puddle in the parking lot.  I tried to ignore the dirty factor and enjoy this rare discovery. 
For Beach's family Birthday celebration, we did something different and had a dinner cookout at the lake.
Don't worry, he still got a special treat!
The kids opted for Popsicles while running around!
Kid loving the birthday boy!
Present time!
We live in such a beautiful area and I'm thankful we can take some time to enjoy it!
The kids loved wadding in the water and watching the boats come in!
Noting says loving like enjoying a movie in one large chair at a friend's house (with a vacuum)!  It was a great way to get some adult time in!
My heart is full reflecting back on another amazing month!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Birthday Gifting

I have been thinking a lot about birthdays around here, as all my kids just had one.  Truth be told, most of my life I dreaded birthdays.  It all steams back to when I was little and got a very poor turn out to a birthday party as a child.  It was at a rollerskating rink back in the 80s (when I thought skating was THE COOLEST thing around), so if you didn't want to come to such a party then surly the only reason in my mind was because you didn't like me.  It was my first full face rejection, and for a little introverted kid, I did not get over it quickly.  However, my mom and friends would try each year to cheer me up and make it special, but those childhood stings were deep.
Fast forward to having kids of my own and BIRTHday has a whole new meaning to this momma!  What a special time to celebrate the lives I had been so blessed with, to hold dear, remembering God's provision in so many ways.
This year as I was challenged by our six year old to broaden my view even more.  For gifts she wanted to give water to others.  And it felt so right, and so much better than the notion of "what can I get out of the day", instead of "what can I give in celebration of being alive".  Shouldn't that be our posture in life in general?  What can I give?  What a perfect time to refocus on that, one's day of birth!
Now this may not look like trying to raise over a grand each time as Zoe did, but that was amazing. (For real that just blew my mind - my little girl's initiative and people's giving hearts).  It doesn't have to be complicated or something to stress over, as can often be the case for me.  My middle daughter on her birthday date with her aunt brought flowers to elderly neighbors, who appeared to really enjoy it!  It was simple and fit her well!  Perhaps the point is to get to thinking about others and allowing the spirit to lead in what that looks like fleshed out.  I think that this will be something that we will incorporate in our family from now on, changing the definition of birthdays for the better in all of our hearts!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Spring Loveland visit - times 2

Everyone was excited for another Grand visit from our Michigan family!
As always, gifts soon followed their arrival.
However, so did Zoe's poor cough (and the sisterly love)!
Ezra got an adorable box...
which held an awesome Snoopy dog...
that I say he loved!
The girls had fun digging into their bags and trying on dresses.
They were beyond trilled to get a matching sheet set....
which Grandma made on their beds!
Later that night Zoe came down with a fever, and my heart ached as I knew she would not be able to join in her birthday fun the following day!
While Zoe rested the next day, Grandma and I took the other littles to a kids fest.  And they were amazed at Elsa singing.
Face painting is always fun.
But the favorite remains the bouncy houses.
Zoe was somewhat better to open presents later that evening (blog here).  We ended the night with some rest and renting Moana, which she had been excited to see.
The next day Zoe was doing much better (after pumping her with probiotics the previous day), and joined us at Carolina's Wildlife Center's Baby Shower/Open house.
I love this event that is close to home where we can see the hard work that they do up close and visit animals that are normally in the wild.
They were even able to touch these little possums.
Checking out the resident duck!
Then outside they have a bunch of fun kid activities.
The girls were really into the bird bingo...
and making bird feeders...
(well Zoe not as much).
One more fun hug before we headed home!
Glen sporting the Loveland Coffee truck shirt next to the Loveland Coffee truck!
A visit would not be complete without making cookies with Grandma (even in PJ's).
Shiloh loves to get in on the action...
and Ezra on the samples.  I will admit that they were my weakness!  However, since I can no longer have them, I have to just enjoy how my kids love making them!
So I know Ezra's hair can be a bit crazy....and I almost allowed Glen to cut it when I was told it was a tradition to allow the Grandfather to give the first hair cut (I'm a sucker for traditions)....
However, I just couldn't go through with we settled on a combing instead.
Grandpa got extra snuggles during movie night!
We had a really fun evening one night looking through many albums of old pictures that they brought with them!
Imagining what life was like back then...
Another tradition of Mexican food outing!
Shiloh was in full swing....and this was the best picture I could manage!
Then they were off down south to visit more family.  We got a few more days when they came back through headed back home.
While Zoe was in school, I took Donna and the two youngest littles to Edventure for the morning.
Donna practiced some of her new photography skills.
And there was lots of playing to go around.
Thankful that it was the week after spring break, so we had the place almost to ourselves.
It was a great outing (except for maybe the jealous big sister who heard about it when she got home).  
Ezra even snuck in some reading time.
The Grands wanted to make sure they were here for Beach's birthday....
Donna whipped up some of her made from scratch cinnamon rolls, as she knows her boy loves them!
I asked Beach to think about what he would like to do on his birthday....and this was on his list!  Washing his truck, and he had a little helper.
He also made these crazy bacon wrapped burgers stuffed with a cream cheese/cheese mixture and topped with a bacon wrapped onion.
He couldn't be any more happy with his creation (good thing birthdays only come around once a year).
It was a beautiful evening so we ate outside.  That is one man burger...
Glen enjoyed his a as well!
Then on to some presents!
The girls really enjoyed buying Daddy gifts this year.
To top it off Donna made an amazing cake (Beach had picked out the recipe).
One happy boy right there!
Donna did an amazing job as always!  I even tasted a bite and it was amazing!!!
"Best birthday yet", the Beach declared!
One more last attempt for a photo (tickles and all) after another fabulous visit.  Until next time...