Saturday, September 21, 2013

Summer wrap up

So many fun pictures.  I tried to condense by combing some of them in collages.  Just wanted to share a peek at the rest of our summer and then will dive into back to school, field trips and more.

For the 4th of July this year, we were split.  Rebecca was in an acting camp that performed Pride and Prejudice.  She was Jane Bennett for those who have ready the book/seen the movie.  She did an amazing job!!!  The play was delightful and we all enjoyed it.  

Roger and Isaiah were on a Civil War trip - serving as hosts.  Isaiah got so much positive feed back for his servant attitude.  They even gave him an unexpected gift at the end of the trip.  He loved the whole experience and has been talking about the Civil War non-stop!  Any of you Civil War buffs recognize this spot?  

Christopher was working at Camp Oak Hill, so it was just me home with 3 kids.  Can I tell you how odd that felt to have just half of them with me?  We wanted to have fun too, so we met some friends in Apex for their fun town celebration.

There were games, inflatables, food and more!
This was such a cute and clever game - and the kids loved it!

After playing outside in the morning, we ate lunch and then headed to the movies to cool down.  We saw Despicable Me which was great!  And crowded.  Lots of people with the same idea.

We did some sparklers and small fire works at home later that night when Roger and Isaiah returned.

 We were a part of our church's VBS, "Kidsweek", again this year.  Eliana for the first time went without either Rebecca or I with her.  (Rebecca was going to be with her and was moved at the last minute.)  One of Eliana's wonderful Sunday school teachers was with her class and Eliana had a great time with Ms Allison!

What else did we do this summer?  

Played games.

Went for a bike ride/walk.
Worked on a kilt.  (Part of the Highland Games at camp)

Spent time with friends.  (Two of the boys were in the Apple Camp and made movies)

Took swimming lessons.

Despicable Me 2 again.

Played dress up

Cooking (and being silly)

Went back to the beach again.  One last time before school started.  Had to include the picture of George who goes everywhere!
 Just like this picture.

 We celebrated my birthday.  Don't you love this card from my sweet boy?

And I got a photo with all of my children.  It was just what I wanted!

I had envisioned this being a summer where I got a lot of my projects done and my house cleaned and decluttered.  Didn't happen, but I did have fun with my family.  I hope you did too!


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Daniel's Lego Birthday Party

What a fun time we had celebrating Daniel's birthday!  He wanted a Lego party which was so easy to plan as there are tons of great ideas online to choose from!  I'll share some of the links that we used at the end of this post.

We started the day with a breakfast of his choice.  Then his brothers had planned a story scavenger hunt for him.  This has become somewhat of a tradition that they all really enjoy.  Daniel as Batman at his computers with Alfred assisting him.

Watch out for the bad guys lurking about.

Batman is on the look out.

Batman takes down the criminal.  (Any of you fans recognize who he is?)

At the end of the activity, Daniel receives a gift from his brothers.  Bet you can guess what it is.  Legos.  Batman Legos.

We went to the Lego store earlier in the week so didn't go on his actual birthday.  He did get more Legos as gifts.

We decorated for the party.  The Lego bags make a great window banner!

Gift bags for our guests.  The Superman figures were from the free Lego build at the store earlier this month.

We printed minifigure pictures for each child to design as our starting activity.  Those ended up not being used then though.  They were engaged in other things.  One of those was guessing how many Legos were in the Jar.

The plates were just square plates with a piece of yellow cardstock added to the top and a face drawn on with sharpie.

Then we started with the games.  First was Lego block tossing game.  This was a huge hit!

We used 10 bricks for each turn and then added up points at the end of each round.
Eliana was surprisingly good at this.

Though Rebecca was the top scorer!

It was fun for all ages.

The Straw game was also a great activity.  Each person had a straw and a cup.

We spread Legos out on the table.

The were to pick up as many bricks as possible using only their straw and then put them into their cups.

Next was I Spy the Lego Guy.  We hid 9 guys since Daniel was 9 years old.

We hid these in several rooms int he house and there was a mad dash to try to find them all.

We also played a fun Lego Bingo game.
Eliana joined in with some help.

Opening gifts from sweet friends.

Cake and ice cream.

The last game was Creationary.

This was such a fun theme!  I highly encourage it if you have a Lego lover in your house.  Here are some of the links that I used for ideas and creative encouragement!

LOTS of links to share!

Party ideas  - Fun soap dispenser idea that we are still using.

Loved the invitation- Loved the invitation and I did something similar for Daniel too.

Great party printables - Used the coloring pages and also the tags for the gift bags.

Color your own minifigure- coloring page

We loved the ring toss idea

Lego Font

Lego Bingo

How to make a Lego cake!

Fun game ideas

I hope this helps someone else plan a super fun party!


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Words ...

"Sticks and stones may break my bones,
but words will never hurt me."

Who came up with that rhyme?  We all know that it isn't true!  Was that the point?  A retort when hurtful words are launched your way?  I'm not thinking that it ever really helps though.  Do you?

What a day.  It began as a cool, sunny morning.  We were full of excitement as we headed to a special church service.  We attend a church that is multi-site and today was an opportunity for us to all gather together - at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.  And not just a chance for the church to worship in one site but also a huge outreach.

We later learned that this was the biggest gathering of our church - 11,500 people.

It was beautiful and soon warm as we stood together with thousands of others and sang praises to the One whose words bring hope and healing.

We listened to a message from Acts 2 on the power that changed lives then and is still changing them now.  How I wish that the transformation was complete and that my words, thoughts and actions were always reflective of the One who has changed my life.  Thankfully, God is loving and forgiving and not finished with me yet either.
It was awesome to see the power of God's spirit at work today as hundreds of people came forward to be baptized.

After church, we headed out to a picnic.  A picnic where we knew nobody but we were drawn together because everyone had someone in their family with Type 1 diabetes.  It was a delightful event.  There was a bounce house, cornhole, bubbles and of course, food.

Eliana played in the bounce house for over an hour!  The gal running it was so very sweet to her and never asked her to get out.  To say that she had a great time is an understatement.
She had fun playing with her brother and when he left, she enjoyed playing with the other children in there.

She was delighted.  When we finally got her out to eat, she stayed at the table only briefly.  And the very thoughtful planners even had gluten free food she could eat.  (Sadly, the incidence of celiac is higher among those with Type 1 than it is in the general population.)

There were other things to do.  Ropes to jump and bubbles to blow.  Roger was following her around and she was playing near a few other children.  And out of nowhere came those words.  Words that no child should ever hear.  Words that did hurt.

First laughter.  Then, while looking at my little girl, "She is ugly".

Did those words hit you like they hit me?  Right in the gut?

A sad reminder of the broken and ugly world that we live in.  I'm thankful that Eliana either did not hear or register what was said about her.

Another child there with the first child though spoke up in her defense, "No, she's not."

A sweet reminder that there are those with love in their heart that can see more than other people.

The first child, confidently asserted her opinion again.   "Yes, she is."

And then again the other children disagreed, "No, she is not."

Roger was stunned.  Not sure if he should step in or not as these were two very young children.  He did ask me if I would have said anything.  At first I said that at a minimum I would have affirmed the second child loudly.  That sweet spirit needed to know that he is a brave defender and that we are proud of him!  I'm also not sure if this mama bear could have kept her mouth closed.

I hate thinking that this is the beginning of a day that I hoped would never come.  Do you have tears yet?  I'm typing through them.

Why can't everyone see her as the beautiful little girl that she is?  Even without knowing that she is loving and compassionate.  Even without knowing that she doesn't hold a grudge or hang on to offenses.  Even without knowing that her spirit is sweeter than most that I know and that we all have much to learn from people like her.  Even without knowing that she freely gives hugs and is ready to be a friend.  Even without knowing her at all - can't you see her beauty?

Is this the start of the comments?  The judgements?  The cruelty?

On top of having to learn and work so much harder than most people, is she also going to have to learn how to forgive and forget things that no little girl should ever have to hear?

And her mama is going to have to learn so much more too.  How to forgive others who speak of things that they do not know.  How to speak in love so that others can learn.  Jesus was such a good example to me of all of this.  I know that He understands.

So much to learn.  I am thankful for a Savior and I pray that Eliana will come to know Him at an early age so that she too will have His power to love and forgive.

I'm thankful that she can witness God's love at work in big events like our church service this morning and also in the small day to day kindnesses and actions of those around her.  I'm thankful that even when those around her blow it - and we all will - that she can know that God loves her just as she is.  He made her perfectly.

And I for one think she is absolutely beautiful!!!