Monday, July 21, 2014

'Merica! {Our 4th of July}

The 4th of July is one of my favorite to Christmas and Easter, of course! Our neighborhood association hosts an annual 4th of July parade and an evening concert in the park. Needless to say, I was excited as we approached our Nation's Independence Day!

Leading up to our 4th of July festivities, I had plenty of planning time since the littles were spending the week at their Nana and Granddaddy's.

Chris made plans to pick up the littles in time for them to arrive at home for lunch, since I had a special patriotic lunch planned for us.

I put together a basket of goodies to help make our Fourth a little more festive and fun!

I also decorated our table with some sweet treats.

I found inspiration for my chocolate-covered marshmallows here.

I had originally planned to use the huge camp fire marshmallows, but I found these star-shaped marshmallows in the seasonal section of Wal-Mart.

And, I purchased these adorable "flag" cupcakes at Gigi's Cupcakes.

I didn't have enough room on my cake stand for all of them, but here is a picture of them in the box so you can get the full effect. They were delish!!!

The littles' faces when they got home were priceless! Chloe and Evan love spending time with their Nana and Granddaddy, but I could tell that they were happy to be home, especially when Evan proclaimed, " I'm in MY home!" after walking through our front door. 

We ate our patriotic lunch, rocket dogs, Doritos (these chips just seemed to be the perfect complement to the rocket dogs), bing cherries, and jello stars:)

"Pretty please with a cherry on top!"

The littles converted their rocket dogs into cherry bombs.

(For the record, one day I'll be one of those people with an adult patriotic tablescape! I'll have a fabric tablecloth and sunflowers in a milk glass pitcher, but while my children are small, I figure that I'll keep it fun...until it isn't anymore, which I hope is never...)

After lunch, the littles broke into the goodies. The uses for the peel-and-stick mustaches cracked me and Chris up! The laughs were definitely worth the dollar that I paid for them.

I also attempted a cute hairdo on Chloe that I found Pinterest. Can you tell what it's supposed to be? It's a little lopsided.

Then, we walked down the street to join our neighborhood parade!

The walk was rather nice this year, not nearly as hot as in previous years.

I tried keeping up with Chloe on her bike, but she was bound and determined to keep up with the big kids on their bikes. I eventually gave up and told her to stay behind the policemen. I thought that this sight of the kids riding behind the motorcycle cops was funny.

Daddy and Evan walked at a comfortable pace, so I stayed behind with them.

The parade ended at our local park, where we enjoyed some colas and bomb pops.

We listened to a few of our neighbors and veterans give speeches on the importance of this special day in history

When we returned home after the parade, I had my customary front porch photo shoot with the littles!

A few hours later we returned to the park to enjoy the company of our neighbors while barbecuing  and listening to good music.

My neighbor won this beach chair in a CVS drawing. People actually win these things! He thought it would be funny to bring it out to the park. 

My free spirit couldn't help but become one with the music!

Later that night, we broke out our snaps, crackles, and pops! Evan refused to hold the sparklers...always cautious...

Well, that was our 4th of July! I hope that everyone had a safe and happy one! As always, thank you to those who serve and have served to keep this the land of the free and the home of the brave! God bless America!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Country Living at Nana and Granddaddy's

In late June-early July the littles spent a week at their Nana and Granddaddy's house in the "country".

They love their visits to the country, helping their grandparents harvest vegetables from their garden, digging in the dirt, walking in the woods, going down to the creek, picking wild blueberries and blackberries... You get the picture:)

Nana was sweet enough to share some pictures from their recent visit.

A nice surprise for the littles was getting to play with Nana and Granddaddy's new dog, Gracie!

Chloe is right at home digging in the dirt. Maybe when she's old enough, she can help me with landscaping our yard. I could certainly use it!

Evan's newest "thing" is a fascination with "word books" (as he likes to call them). He is constantly stealing Chris's books and sits quietly pretending to read them. Apparently, he's taken an interest in the culinary arts;)

Nana and Granddaddy also planned a visit to Water World Water Park in Dothan, Alabama for the littles. Here are a few pictures of their day at the water park. As usual, Chloe jumped right in and wanted to try everything. On the other hand, Evan was cautious, but eventually he warmed up to going into the water.

They returned home on July 4th and Chris and I got to hear about all the fun that they had with Nana, Granddaddy...and Gracie. I'm sure they had a lot more fun (and mischief) than these pictures reveal, but it was nice to have this little peek into their week. Thank you Nana and Granddaddy for being such loving and involved grandparents. We love you and appreciate it more than you know!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Honors Ceremony: Chloe Gets Pinned

If you've read my blog in the past, you've probably read a post or two about Chloe and Evan's Wednesday night church club, Rainbows. It's official name is Rainbows: The Noah's Zoo Club.

Rainbows is part of a bigger program, known as Mpact. Mpact holds an Honors Ceremony annually to recognize the children that successfully memorize Bible verses and earn badges. In addition, the children who have earned enough badges and will be moving up to the next club are "honored" during the ceremony. Since Chloe moved up to the Daisies club in June as a rising Kindergartner, she was honored.

The littles anxiously waited to be recognized on stage.

Chloe and Evan both earned eleven badges this year.

The Rainbows with their leaders, Ms. Dodi and Mr. Jason - They were such a sweet little group.

Chloe was walked down the aisle as an Honor Rainbow by Chris. (I'll be walking Evan down the aisle next year when he is an Honor Rainbow.) My camera was on the wrong setting and the picture turned out blurry:(

The girls being honored usually wear white or a light colored dress. I fell in love with this vintage-style ivory dress.

As part of the ceremony, Chloe was pinned by her Rainbows leader, Ms. Dodi.

After the pinnings, the paparazzi parents took a group photo of the Honor Rainbows. Rainbows is the only co-ed club in the program. The girls continue in the Mpact Girls Clubs, but the boys move up to the Royal Rangers program. 

Sweet Ms. Dodi and Chloe

Also, Ms. Dodi was kind enough to offer to take a few pictures of me and my Rainbows.

And of course, we couldn't forget to take a few pictures of Daddy and Chloe. Chris looked so handsome in his suit and Chloe looked beautiful in her dress!

Since Chloe was an October baby, she spent one year more than most in the club. She entered the club in the month that she turned 3 years old, so she was a Rainbow for almost three years! It's bittersweet to watch her move up. Where did my baby go?:( Thank you so much to Ms. Jerusha and Mr. Ben, her first Rainbows leaders. Also, another big thank you to Ms. Dodi and Mr. Jason. The time and energy that you invest in teaching our children about God's love is truly appreciated!!!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Tee Ball, A Closing Ceremony, & Biscuits Baseball

Much of what consumed our time in April and May involved Chloe's participation in tee ball. She played with a Dixie Youth League in the Sweeties division, girls' tee ball.

Now that the season is over, I thought that I'd share some highlights from the season.

We were so excited to watch Chloe's first game!

Warming up...

Let's play some ball.

Chloe's first time home (in a real game)...

"Good game."

Afterwards, we took a few more photos.

I know that I've shared a similar photo before, but I love this one of Chris and Chloe!

Static cling...story of my life...but look at the little male model;)

Lola and Uncle Jose came out to cheer on Chloe...

Nana and Granddaddy came out, too.

During the season, we had a few other supporters come out.

Uncle Tommy and Aunt Dana

Aunt Sara and soon-to-be Uncle Rob:)

Y'all are so sweet. Thanks for the love and support. You've been with us through it all.

Since it was tee ball, an official score was not kept during the regular season. However, the Saturday following the last game of the season, the Sweeties teams played in a tournament to determine a champion. Chloe's team lost in the first round:( (Overall, the team had the second best record of the four Sweeties teams.)

The Manager/Head Coach gave his girls a little pep talk after the final game.

The Closing Ceremony was held a little later that day after the championship game.

I took a few pictures of Evan while we waited for it to begin.

Chloe and Chris received participation trophies. Evan was really disappointed (maybe jealous) that he didn't receive a trophy...I guess he thought that he deserved one too since he attended almost every game and practice. Where's Momma's trophy?! Ha! Maybe next year, Evan!

In the evening, the team attended a Biscuits baseball game!

The littles got a couple of autographs from the players.

Then, they stalked the dugout to get a few more autographs before the game.

There was a rain delay before the game, so Chloe took the opportunity to dance in the rain. My silly girl:)

Mountain Man from Duck Dynasty threw out the first pitch of the game.

Then, we sat back and enjoyed the game (and food) with our friends.

Before leaving, the littles had fun with one of the cut outs!

Chloe really enjoyed playing, so we know that she will be signing up again next Spring. However, I think that Chris met his match in the form of 4 to 7 year old girls, so he may choose to support Chloe from the stands next year...

Whew! I never quite understood the busyness that parents
with kids that played sports would talk about. I'm beginning to understand...Despite that, the experience was great. Chloe loved the competitiveness of the game and the camaraderie of playing on a team. I'm sure we have years of working out schedules and driving to games and practices ahead of us. I'm looking forward to it!:)