Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sweet Caroline

I'm trying to get the last posts of our 2010/2011 school year organized and ready to publish on the blog before Labor Day. We officially started our new school year two weeks ago, and I need to finish up last year so I can start chronicling this year. Will I ever catch up???  Until then, enjoy these photos of the lovely Caroline getting snuggled by her Nana when she visited in July.  She is delicious.

Sweet Caroline...
 good times never seemed so good.
I've been inclined
to believe they never would.
 (from Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Summer Fridays with Daddy

Greg's company does something awesome for their employees called "Summer Fridays." Each Friday between July 4th and Labor Day, Greg has been able to come home from work around lunch time, and it's amazing how a few extra hours can make your weekend seem so much longer. We've tried to do special things with the kids as much as possible, and they have been blessed with trips to the zoo, lazy afternoons at the park, and "soccer camp and milk shakes" with their Dad. We only have two left, and I am very, very sad :-). We're really going to miss him on Friday afternoons this Fall...  Here are some memories of their Friday adventures with Daddy:

Getting up close and personal with sharks...

Holding a snake... Yikes!

Racing through the treetops...

Meeting a kangaroo...

 Riding a pretend elephant...

... and then seeing the real thing!

Becoming Spiderman....

 ...and a princess on a pony...

... and a cowboy on his horse...

Some men spend their summer Fridays on the golf course, or in front of the TV, or on a conference call that could have waited until Monday. 

I am so grateful that Greg's only thought is to spend it with his kids.

Don't be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he'll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God's Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.
Galatians 6:7-8

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chloe's 7th Birthday

We celebrated Chloe's 7th birthday on Tuesday, July 19th... a whole month ago! She decided she wanted an Eloise birthday party in honor of one of the great heroines of children's literature (according to Chloe, that is).  The Smith family residence was transformed (at least in our imaginations) into the Plaza Hotel, complete with a check-in desk in our foyer and one dapper daddy dressed up as the concierge. 

The guests checked in at the concierge desk and were given a bag of popcorn and ushered into the "Plaza" to watch a few minutes of Eloise as the rest of the girls arrived.

It was about this time that Nanny's sister arrived at the party, looking for Eloise...

She's cute, huh?

Alternating between a pathetic attempt at a British accent and Pittsburgh English, Nanny's sister led the girls in enthusiastic games of Hot Skipperdee (Skipperdee is Eloise's turtle), Pin the Tail on Weenie (Eloise's dog), and Dress-up Dash.

Then, it was into the Plaza Ballroom for a delightful array of sweet pink treats.

Before long, it was time for my seven-year-old girl to blow out the candles!

Opening presents was a lot of fun. The generosity of her friends made Chloe feel very special.


Our sweet little guests.

How handsome is this little man? He was the only boy invited to the party...

All too soon, Chloe's Eloise party drew to a close and minivan after minivan arrived in my driveway for post-birthday pick-ups.

We were so blessed because Abigail's mom Elizabeth was kind enough to stay and took the most wonderful photographs of the party with her obvious skill and super duper camera! Here are some darling shots she captured of Chloe and Abigail... They met their first year of preschool and are now beginning their second year of homeschooling together! I pray these two will always, always be friends...

It was a wonderful day celebrating seven years with our little girl. Chloe, you are such a gift to Daddy and I. We love watching you grow.

"The LORD your God is with you,
   the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
   in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
   but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephaniah 3:17

Monday, August 15, 2011

Two Months Old!

Charlie, you are two months old, and we are smitten!

You spend your days smiling, cooing, and napping.

You love to be held, and the Moby is still your favorite form of transportation. We love holding you close.

You are sleeping all night - at eight weeks old!

You  love to take naps in your swing all day... you eat, stay awake for a few minutes, and then head back to your swing for a little nap!

Your brothers and sister are constantly entertaining you, and you smile both when you see them and when you hear their voices.

You are our biggest baby! At your two month appointment you weighed 11 pounds and were 22 inches long. We are so proud of our big boy!

"And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him."  Luke 2:40

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sip and See

A few months before Charlie was born, my dear friend and mentor Kathy called me and announced that she wanted to have a party for me. This was my fourth baby, I protested! I didn't need anything, and besides, I would feel guilty even asking anyone to come. Mothers of fourth babies don't deserve showers :-).

Nonsense, she replied! Mothers of fourth babies deserve them more than mothers of first babies! We are going to celebrate you and Charlie! 

Three weeks after Charlie was born she hosted a lunch for me in her lovely home. Kathy is a tremendous hostess. It is truly her spiritual gift! Not one thing was left undone, and her attention to even the smallest detail made me feel so special.


I was overwhelmed with the generosity of the people that came that day. It was so wonderful to be blessed with so many thoughtfully chosen gifts for Charlie.

 I cringe at how huge I look in this picture! Charlie was only three weeks old, so I guess I need to give myself a break :-).

A few more pictures of the guests...

After a wonderful afternoon I came home and brought all of my gifts up into Charlie's nursery. I spent the next few hours sitting on the floor, showing Greg and the kids each gift, taking them out of their boxes, and finding special places for everything. It was so much fun!

The fact that the people who came spent the better part of their day celebrating with me meant more to me than perhaps any of them will ever know. In the busy, self-involved world we live in, showing up to celebrate someone else's joy isn't a very popular idea anymore. I will never forget how very special each one of them made me feel that day.

"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."
John 15:12-13