Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Goodbye June

I can barely  believe that June is almost but a memory!  I feel like summer has just started and yet we are already at the midway point.  June has been a whirlwind of fun, work, challanges and much growth.  We started the month off with Trent graduating from college with a degree in business management.  I have been so excited for him and proud of this huge accomplishment.  However, he hasn't been able to enjoy some the well deserved "down" time from not having to write papers, study for tests or attend his weekly classes, because he has been traveling for work most of the month.  Literally home for a night or two, only to pack up and leave again.  It has been exhausting, for both of us.  But there is light at the end of the tunnel and in a few short days we leave for our annual lake vacation, as a family, together!  We are all very excited and counting down the days.

But despite our crazy schedule, we also had a lot of fun to the beginning of our summer.

Tommy at "his" VBS camp. 

Crafts on the back porch

They love projects.

We have laughed a lot.

And spent some learning and trying new things.

Planted a garden.

And made homemade ice cream in a bag.

Charlie said it was the best ice cream he has ever had!

We made lots of fun, cold, treats.

And some pretty precious moments.

We have spent lots of time at the play ground

and have had some great laughs.

We have learned about money

and played a lot of games.

Made some smoothies

and learned about giving.

Had a fairy visit, or two

and read a bunch of books.

And that is just a bit of our fun, crazy, month called June.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Happy Daddy Day 2011

Letters to the Daddy's in my life:

Dear Honey Trent,

       Tommy came crawling into our bed again last night, crying because he missed his Dada.  He snuggled up next to me on your side of the bed, I think he feels closer to you there.  It was sweet, and reminded me of how much that boy loves you. 
    Tommy loves you with an intensity, Charlie loves you with his silliness, Penny loves with her smile and I love you with my entire being.  That is a lot of love!  And you handle it all so well!
     You work all day, long, stressful hours, to come home to two boys who have been wanting you all day.  Their energy can be exhausting, I know, but you rise to the occasion and give hugs and kisses all around.  You make or finish up dinner, you wash the kitchen table, you play trains or race track, you kiss a sweet girls forehead goodnight.  You exercise the dog, you mow the grass with you helper, you wash 20 dirty toes, you help the boy with his reading, you run out for a treat, and you endure one of "my shows" just so we can sit and be together.  You are not only present, but you live our life with such a zest and that rubs off on all of us.
    I pray that our boys will be just like you when they grow up.  I pray that they will be the same kind of Daddy that you are.  Many men are Fathers, but it takes a special man to be a Daddy.  And special you are!
Playing "Knights" with Daddy, their Father's Day present to Trent

  We love you!

Letter to my Daddy on Father's Day.

When I was  little girl one of my favorite things to do was go for walks with you back in the quarry.  I often was scared by the snakes that lurked in the crevices of the big rocks and even by the stillness of the woods.  But I was always confident that I would be ok because my Daddy was with me.  You were strong and tall, firm, knowledgeable and kind.
Even today, though I am not such a little girl anymore, I still find that same comfort and security in your love.  And the best part is that now you have 3 more little buddies, to take on walks and teach how to drive John Deere tractors.  I see them building some of the same kind of memories with you that I did when I was little, it warms my heart.
Thanks Daddy for the Godly, real, example of what life can look like when you try your best.  Sometimes life is really hard, but it is a whole lot easier when you let God on your side....I learned that from you!
Love you Dad, you are the best!

Grandpa and the crew


Monday, June 20, 2011

Today, June 20, 2011

Today is Monday.  A lot of people dread Mondays, but I really like them.  A new week starts, fresh and new.  Monday brings the promise of great things to be had, another week of adventures.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE me a good Friday and cherish our weekend family time.  But I think that Mondays get a bad wrap.

We are in full summer throttle over here.  Camp, swim lessons, eating out on the porch, lazy late afternoon siestas, ice cream stops, weekly hikes, creek walks, vacation planning.  I am loving it!  I have to admit that I feel guilty, I definitely have the better end of the deal here.   Not that my job isn't difficult, I just happen to really like my employers.

I am so grateful for days like today.  Spending time with our children, watching them grow, teaching them about life.  I am learning that the level of serenity in our home is greatly influenced by my attitude.  Even when the day is full of whining, fighting and tantrums, if I my response is firm but calm, everything seems to run so much smoother.  

Today hasn't been perfect by any means, Trent is out of town and I miss him terribly, the boys both got little cuts at the pool and had complete melt downs on the way home etc.  But we have also had so much fun, laughed a lot and shared some good cuddles along the way.  I just love days like today when I am full of peace, love for my family, and hope that all the little wrinkles in our daily life eventually get ironed out.  I have had so many moments lately where I am filled with excitement for what adventures tomorrow holds, even the bruised knees and numerous time outs!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happiness is...............

  celebrating the awesomeness that is my husband and how hard he has worked over the last 4 years to get his degree in Business Management!!   

Honey, I am SO proud of you!!  The journey was long and difficult at times but you did it and you did it well!!  Thank you for working so hard for our family.  You are an inspiration to me and a wonderful role model to our children!

Love you baby!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Life Lessons

Trent and Charlie, March 21, 2006
Life lessons I have learned this week.

*I don't need a break (a few weeks, days or hours) from my kids, my husband or my "life".  And if I feel that way then I just need to stick closer to the Big Guy, you know, God.  Even though I have learned this week that I get way more accomplished around here when one kiddo is off doing fun stuff, I have also learned that then the house is strangely quiet and I would rather have the noise and all my little buddies,  then an empty yet clean house :)

*It is really ok to leave dirty dishes in the sink over night.

*A stern, loud voice can break a spirit.  A gentle, yet firm voice can settle even the silliest of boys.

*Chocolate chip cookies don't taste as good as they use to.

*Life and death happen, but God has it all under control.

*I need to be more flexible and I am not talking about my body.

*I love my husband, I really, really, really love him. ( I didn't just learn that this week though!)

* The kids daily devotion was about letting vile things come from your mouth.  They used a story about 2 little girls that were talking badly about a friend. The story went on to say how God wants to be nice to others and not say mean things.  I think I need to be a better example of this to our children and my husband.  How often do they hear me not using the nicest words to describe someone or something.  How often do I run to Trent and "unload" my opinions and judgement of others.  Not too pretty.

*One of the biggest gifts I have been given is TODAY, right now.  So, what am I going to do with it?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Random Thoughts: Charlie

I was running around the house today during quiet time when I glanced over at Charlie lounging on the couch.  He stopped me in my tracks.  I took a long look at him and thought "So that is what he is going to look like when he is a teenager".  Seriously, he looked so old and big to me and looking at him gave me the feeling of being a teenager lounging in the summer heat without a care in world.  Not sure I like this growing up stuff.

Besides getting big on us, he has been oh, so sweet.  I just love this kid.  I just love that when I sing him his "good night" song that he has to be looking at precious!  I just love that he is so loving and gentle with his little sister.  I love that he is so creative and is always making cool vehicles and robots out of his LEGOs to show me.  I love that he is my buddy.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Squires Castle

 Over the weekend we went to one of our favorite places, Squire's Castle.  It was built by oil pioneer Feargus Squire and was originally intended to be the gatekeepers lodge for a much larger estate.  The estate was never constructed.  However, Squire used the castle as a weekend retreat in the early 1900's. It is now part of the Cleveland Metroparks.  We are so fortunate to have these beautiful parks within a short drive from our home.
 The boys love it here!  Charlie informed us on the drive out that he was going to be the dragon, Daddy was the King, I was the Queen, Penny was to be the Princess and Tommy was the Knight that would protect us.  Tommy piped up from the backseat as well and said "Mama, I protect you!"  They are such cute boys and I just love their imagination!

The castle is only a shell of the original structure.  There are no doors or windows and it is open to the elements. It is maintained by the park and still very cool to wander or run through.
 The castle is surrounded by the acres of dense woods.  There are some paved paths and some dirt paths that wind you around a small creek.  We took a short walk through the woods, one of our favorite places to be!

These lazy Sunday afternoons are some of my favorite times as a family.  We slow way down and go on small adventures.  We always have a good time, because we are together.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Happiness is......

watching this boy over come his fear of swings while he flies through the air.  What a difference a year makes!

Friday, June 10, 2011

A visit

Uncle Jason and Nicole came for a visit.
It was the first time  they had meet Penny
that we had met Nicole.
It was a beautiful day and we sat on the back porch 
and talked while the boys played in the shade of the big maple tree.

Then Trent grilled up some hamburgers and we munched
corn on the cob,
pasta salad
fresh watermelon.
We sipped lemonade
and talked some more
and then it was time for goodbyes.

It was such a nice visit and we hope to see them again soon!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Waking up is easy to do.....

when your little sister comes in for a snuggle

and when your big brother gives you a super big hug.

Waking up is easy to do

When you have your binks and Mickey to help you.

Everyday when naps are over, Penny and I go in to wake Tommy up.  He still will take a 2-3 hour nap if I let him!  He LOVES to wake up to his little sister snuggling in bed with him.  He sings her silly songs and touches her little button nose, they hug, she gives him open mouth wet sloppy baby kisses and he say "gwwwwwwosssss baby!" and laughs.

I had to capture not only our naptime ritual, but also Tommy's binks.  He is in love with them, literally!  He loves his Mickey and his blue blankie, but binks have been his security blanket of sorts.  We held off taking them from him with all the changes that have occurred in the last 18 months.  But now it is time for them to make their exit.  He had 10 of them and they are like little action figures to him.  He lines them up on his bed, talks to them, has them talk to each other.  It is rather cute to listen too.  But over time he has broken them, one by one.  Now there is only 2 good ones left and it will only be a matter of weeks, days, before they are broken too.  He keeps the broken binks and holds them in his hand while he sleeps.  We have told him that when they are all broken that is it, no new binks.  He can keep the broken ones if he wants and he seems to find comfort in that.  He will also get a trip to the toy store to pick out a new toy or lovie, something small, but of his choice.  He is excited about that, so hopefully it will help with the blow of not having his binks anymore.

It is funny, but as his mom, I too have an attachment with his binks, with anything he loves really.  Same goes for Charlie's Lovie and Kitty.  God forbid something ever happened to them.  I think I would be just as sad as the boys would be.  It is hard to watch my babies grow up, a right of passage I know, and I am grateful they are healthy and growing.  But I still wish I could bottle their baby days and snuggle chubby baby boys just a little more..