Tuesday, December 30, 2008

and as december flies on by...

My Angel, Innkeeper, and Shepherd just before the play

I feel like I've been moving with the speed of a hurricane through each day. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas with family. There have been lots of family milestones to enjoy and little laughs along the way. Here is a photo from one of our busiest weekends in December... all the photos in this post are from the Children's Christmas play at our church:

Shepherds and Angels on stage

Jordan delivers her Innkeeper lines. She was only planning to help corrall the toddlers on the stage, but there was a last minute role.

Grace ring the bell after saying her lines loudly into the microphone. I apologize to the guys in the soundbooth!

And though it is days past the world's date for Christmas, I wanted to say a few things about why the Christmas story in a manger is only a small part of a much bigger plan God has for us here on earth. I absolutely love the fact that all throughout the old testament the coming of Jesus and his purpose was guided step-by-step by God though Judaic history. Somehow, though all of man's mistakes, God's eternal plan shown through. As each generation passed the moment for Jesus to be born became clear. I am hoping that this new years brings us all new opportunities to bask in the grace of God though our daily lives.

Monday, November 24, 2008

a birthday to remember

For months now we have been planning a surprise birthday party for my father-in-law's 80th birthday. He's a Thanksgiving baby so we held the big party last Saturday night. There were 100 guests - family, friends from church, and the volunteers he sees each week at the hospital. In order to get Don there we lied by telling him that my kids had a holiday play at church. I don't think he ever imagined that many people would be there just for him. Family travelled from Wisconsin, Arizona, Kansas, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Virginia just to be there for the night.

The night worked out so well thanks in large part to the planning that Alice, Dave, and Annetta did for the party. After a meal of barbeque - pulled pork, bbq chicken, and baby back ribs -- we then enjoyed some entertainment. Dave had the female quartet, Soundworks, come and perform. On the final song ("Ain't he sweet") the ladies called Don up to sit with them in the performance area. Then they proceeded to fight over him as they sang. It was hilarious. It was a lot of fun to celebrate 80 years of living.

I'll be posting photos and video links soon. We are in the midst of packing to go to Alabama for the holiday week...and recover from the party planning mania.

Happy Birthday Don!
Happy Thanksgiving to my family and friends!

Friday, November 14, 2008

what a life!

Last weekend was one of those where we had a variety of events. It seems no matter how hard I try we have multiple events falling on a single day leaving us with our tongues wagging. I guess that is the side effect of having children who are growing quickly. There is a lot to keep up with and you don't want to miss any of it. Last weekend was a lot of fun though.

Dave started off Saturday with a 20 mile bike ride. (Go Dave!) He came in invigorated and excited about the fun of riding in a pack on busy roads. ;-) Then, William's soccer team had it's final games on Saturday. They were held playoff style...but not too intense since these were 7 and 8 year olds. We played three 12 minute games. The final game was tied 0-0 because each team held off the other one so well. It all came down to a goal kick from each team and that continued until someone missed their goal. William's team ended up third in the league. He's at an age where it has not become dog-eat-dog yet so it was all very sweet to see the boys cheering for each other. After the game we all met at a local park for a picnic and the all important awarding of the bobblehead trophy. Dave served as grill master in fine form.

Then Dave and I set out to get ready for our night out. Dave's company had purchased some very nice tickets to the Cobb Arts Ball. Several of Dave's barbershop buddies were there since it was a celebration of the arts organizations in our county. We had a lot of fun dressing for a black tie event and seeing everyone there. There were senators and other patrons there...none of which we knew personally...but we had fun people watching during the event. After the dinner and entertainment there was a Casino night set up around the perimeter of the room. It was loads of fun to spend play money. Here are a few photos from that night:

This is a photo we had the babysitter take before we left the house. Imagine three crazy kids running around behind the babysitter and that will explain the cheesy get-it-done pose. This is proof that we do occasionally dress up and go out.

This is a shot of our table. We were at table number two which was right up near the big shots. Fun to be a the front of the room.

This is a photos of Dave's barbershop buddies, Frank and Rick. Rick is the director of the chorus.

Here is a shot of the casino fun.

And finally a shot of Dave headed out to get the car because his wife couldn't walk in her high heels anymore. Ah, the glamour of it all!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Bacon Bowties

I've had a request for the recipe I used on Halloween. It is perhaps not the healthiest one, but I get rave reviews everytime I make these for holidays and tailgates. Add this to the ones you make occasionally I suppose. They are addictive!

1 lb bacon - cheapest/thinest cut you can buy (thick cut will not work)
box of Waverly/Club type crackers

1. Prepare cookie sheet with foil. Then place a cookie cooling rack into the pan. This will allow you to cook the bowties and let the greese drip away. A broiler pan would work also.

2. Cut the bacon into thirds.

3. Take a cracker and wrap a piece of bacon around it's middle tightly. Place on pan

4. Cook at 250 degrees for approximately 2.5 hours. You can watch towards the end to keep the crackers from getting too brown. The bacon should cook nicely and draw up the middle of the cracker making a bowtie.

5. Serve either hot or cold. These are great for a tailgate or make ahead appetizer.

Let me know if you make the recipe.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

we camped last weekend

Last weekend we went camping with William's Boy Scout district. (And I know I hear some of you saying, "Dave and Ann went camping?!?" out there!) On Saturday morning a surprise visit from an Army Blackhawk Helicopter was scheduled right after the flag ceremony. The kids there went crazy with excitement. The crew was most gracious and let the kids climb all over and around the aircraft. Their only warning was to not touch anything red or yellow because they either launched something or ejected something. Believe me, I watched Grace and William carefully! Here are some quick pics:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

thursday thoughts

I am loving this Fall weather lately. The crisp cool mornings and clear skies just make me smile all over. With the gas problems we've been having around here it is a blessing to be able to roll down the window and enjoy the temperatures and low humidity while saving gas. When the humidity breaks in the South people are HAPPY. Now we are rolling toward Halloween and all the fun that brings. I saw the first pumpkins being sold the other day and I can hardly wait to buy ours at the farm. This is one of my favorite times of the year.

I have mentioned to many of you a baby from my church who had a sudden diagnosis of brain cancer last week. Hailey is a precious 8 month old who was diagnosed unexpectedly on Thursday in a whirlwind after a mri discovered the growths. Surgery was performed on Friday, so this family has been through so much in just a week. She remains in the PICU at Children's Hospital here. Hailey is the fourth child of Mark and Shauna. When they moved here a year ago Shauna was pregnant with her so she's been passed all around at our small group gatherings.

I wanted to post her care page address and ask that you pray for this family. http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/haileyanntrainer
Shauna has made some very specific requests on the website so that has helped me to pray very specific prayers. I love being able to do that because I know God is listening. It is very obvious in this whole situation that God is present and has his arms around the family. If you have a moment leave them a message to let them know you are thinking about them.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

a little excitement

Dave has been gone this week on business. He left Sunday for a long plane ride to Korea for a business conference. We miss him when he travels, but usually make it ok. I felt happy to make it through Monday's hurdles into Tuesday. Lately my afternoons have been stinking crazy with all the pick ups and drop offs for practices and appointments. Yesterday I had to take Jordan to the dentist to have a gap filled which occurred as a permanent tooth grew. (No cavity, just preventative care.) I also had a Boy Scout Den meeting last night with William. I picked up our babysitter at the high school yesterday afternoon before it all began so I could take the appropriate child to each event without too much fuss.

Megan did a great job keeping the household running while I ran around. After I returned from the busy night with William I then put Grace and Megan in the car and we headed off to take Megan home. Jordan stayed at the house to continue working on homework. (She's getting old enough to stay by herself from time to time. I've been using little moments like this to help her get used to the responsibility.) When I got back a few minutes later I had a total scare. I rounded the corner onto Arabian Court to find two firetrucks and one ambulance. They were completely blocking the street and I jumped out of the van trying to make sure that Jordan was alright. My heart was in my stomach as I tried to figure out where were the emergency personal were. I was panicked!

I finally realized that they were at my neighbor's house across the street. She's nine months pregnant so it finally clicked when I saw them rolling Andrea out on a stretcher. Let me just pause to say that my friend Andrea is a marathon runner. She's one of the most fit people I know. She tolerated this second pregnancy beautifully and I happen to know that she was on the elliptical machine daily right up to the end. (Isn't that amazing? I was barely able to walk with my baby loads!)

Andrea is looking all calm and bright eyed. Turns out that her water broke. Tim was working late downtown and her mother was there at the house helping her with McKenzie. They called our neighbor Marla once the water broke so she could take Andrea to Northside. Marla was over at the Mages house in two minutes. By that time Andrea was down on all fours and panting. Her Mom had called 911. That's when they all arrived on our street to whisk her away. Tim decided to meet them at the hospital. Marla followed behind with the suitcases. The ambulance took off at full speed with lights and sirens down Johnson Ferry. Apparently somewhere between Merchant's Walk and the River Andrea birthed the baby. YES, the baby girl was born in an ambulance! It's a good thing her Mom decided to call 911 or Marla would have been birthing the baby in her SUV. So, Tim got to meet his new baby girl in the ambulance as they arrived at Northside. Quite a unique birth story, don't you think?

Welcome to the world Camryn! We are all anxious to know you in our neighborhood.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

what seven year old boys like

We are just completing the week of celebration for William's 7th birthday. What I didn't understand before becoming a parent was that birthdays are really a series of events for a kiddo...not just one day. For us that means that we have a mini family celebration on the day of the person's birthday where they get to pick the meal choice, get the gifts from Mom and Dad, and it is basically just a fun little family day which occurs on a weekday most times. Then there is the day where the birthday child gets to bring something into school to share. Sometimes we make it at home, sometimes it is bought. And finally there is the party with friends. A lot of this complicated celebration ends when a child gets older like Jordan. No longer does she desire to have me bringing cupcakes up to school (big grin here) and even her party style has changed. There is no need for an elaborate theme because middle school girls just like to talk and eat goodies together.

William turned 7 a week ago and I can't believe that this tall boy is the cute little baby I birthed that many years ago. He's over my shoulders height-wise and weighs 60 pounds. William is obsessed with all things Lego, Star Wars, and scientific. I'm so proud of the kind hearted spirit he exhibits. Just the other day in soccer practice he put his arm around a fallen teammate to comfort him. The prayers that he prays at night bring me to tears most time. I used to make him go through the whole family list and do our standard prayer. Now I just let him freeform and he completely blows me out of the water with the things he says to God. It's one of my favorite moments of the day.

I love the special "Book of Inventions" he keeps on top of his lego storage. It's like a journal of his ideas. He's so different from Jordan and yet he adores her so much. Over the summer she endowed him with some Magic Treehouse books that she had long outgrown and you would have thought it was a gold gift. He couldn't wait to discuss those books with her everyday. I love how he plays with Grace as if they are best friends. Dare I say he even tolerates her bossing him around at times? His language world is exploding right now and it's so fun to see him using big words with very few teeth in his mouth. First graders are at a fun age.

Our celebrations began on the September 7th, his actual birthday. William wanted to go to eat crab at Joe's Crab Shack so we met up with Dave's Dad and Ms. Mary there after church. William faked being too scared to do the "chicken dance" by himself and managed to talk both sisters into going up there with him. Jordan was mortified when she saw that I had plenty of embarrassing pictures in action. It was a fun afternoon. We gave William the Mario Kart game for the Wii so you can bet that plenty of racing happened on our television after that. We've all enjoyed the competition since then.

On Sunday night William and I made birthday cupcakes for his class. He recalled a recipe we made when he was in PreK and wanted to bring it again. It is a cupcake that you cook in an ice cream cone. Once cooked you then ice it and add sprinkles so it looks like ice cream. They were not exactly beautiful, but William was ever so pleased to take them to school the next morning. He insisted on Auburn colored sprinkles to decorate them.

Then this past Saturday we took William and his buddies to see Star Wars Clone Wars. Believe it or not, all those cute little boys were well behaved at the movies. My parents came over and my sister brought her family as well. It was a busy, but fun weekend. Happy Birthday William!

Friday, August 29, 2008

it's never dull with kids

I guess being a parent either makes you laugh along or hang your head in exasperation. Seems like some days I'm doing both. The person who thought of the phrase "never a dull moment" must have had a houseful of kids. We've been plowing our way through the first few weeks of school, open houses, and selection of musical instruments. I just couldn't resist telling the following two stories -- guess which one I hung my head over.

Wednesdays are Grace's show and tell day. This is serious business with the PreK set. Grace had about six items in her backpack to pick from for sharing. She said she'd decide at school which one to share so I went along with it. (Call me soft after having three children, but I've learned to pick my battles. As long as we get to school on time I'm good with almost anything.) That afternoon I pulled up in the carpool line to pick the girlie up. She hopped in and her teacher made a special trip out to the car to tell me how wonderfully Grace shared the story about her favorite animal. Mrs. Olivia said that her words were so descriptive and wonderful, her ability to speak and public was very mature. Apparently she had told about how long she had had the animal and how it was her favorite. I said thank you and then we pulled forward to let Grace buckle. I looked back in her hands and there was a bunny which I HAD NEVER SEEN BEFORE IN MY LIFE. So I start asking Grace about it and she insists that the bunny is her special toy that she's had for a long time. She's so convincing that I start to think that I could be wrong.

We get home and we rush to the bus stop to get William. Grace then tells someone there all about her favorite toy and how her friend "Madison" really wanted to take it from her today. She goes on and on about this toy. By the time we get William into the house I am convinced that she has taken an animal that was not hers. My thoughts wandered to things like, "Great, I'm raising a pathological liar." and "My goodness what is poor Madison doing tonight without her favorite bunny." The next day we returned it to the preschool with the full story. Grace finally conceded that afternoon that I might be right.

Hang my head.

On Thursday we have Jordan burst into the house from the bus stop. Her face is flushed with excitement and she can hardly wait to tell us all about band class and her new trumpet skills. Dave was working at home that day so we are both standing there listening to her joy and encourage her to play what she has learned. What unfolded was a 30 minute setup time. She carefully pulled out her trumpet. Cleaned it a bit. Put the right mouthpiece on and checked it over. She laid the trumpet down saying that she really needed to pull out her folding music stand to have the music in front of her. So out comes the stand and it takes a few moments to get set up. There was much adjustment of the musical notation on the stand. Finally, she gets ready to play. And then....

She blows ONE note four times. Basically one note per measure in 4/4 time.

She looks up elated and says, "That is what I learned today!"

Dave and I were encouraging and excited, but smiling inside. Grace then says, "Did they teach you any more notes?" and William chimes in, "Yeah, cause that was kind of boring." Jordan was so happy about her new skill that she didn't even hear them.

You just gotta laugh along sometimes.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

first day of school 2008

Monday was the first day of school here in our county. Three kids in three different schools with three different departure times... mornings are b-u-s-y at our house. All three were full of things to say -- all good -- when they arrived at home. I had a difficult time getting a picture of all three since William had to be at the bus stop at 7:20; Grace at PreK (K4) at 7:55 by car; and Jordan's bus stop was at 8:51. You can be sure that the middle schooler did not want to be bothered to wake up early for a group photo. To her credit she has been extremely organized since starting the new schedule and we are praying this lasts. Here are the photos:

The confident first grader:

At the bus stop with his friend Robert. Notice William's hand splint? That's the 4 stitches I haven't blogged about yet.

The excited PreK student going to school from 8-2:30:

Showing off her backpack and tennis shoes:

The middle schooler:

At the bus stop with neighborhood girls...Jordan's parents were the only ones to hang out at the bus stop and take pictures. How embarrassing!

Friday, July 25, 2008

our last escape

I'll have to spread this trip out into phases so I won't torture anyone. At the end of June we headed off first to North Alabama to enjoy a few days at my parent's home. The kids love to play there so much...it's like a place of pure release for them in the country. Here is William being told where to drive by Grace:

And here is the turtle they found out in the yard. They kept him for a few days and then released him back into the wild.

That first weekend we took advantage of the Helen Keller Festival in Tuscumbia. First we visited the awesome craft show (where this pic was taken) and then Dave and I took the older ones -- Jordan, William, and our nephew, Drake -- to see the play at Ivy Green, The MIracle Worker.

And now that same little set of cousins is headed our way for a visit. Grace is overjoyed about her birthday celebration and being four "everyday now". It should be a fun weekend.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

update on the books

We found out a week or so ago that all the books Jordan's birthday donations bought for the kids at Ciudad de Angeles in Cozumel, Mexico made it. Thanks so much to all the mission workers who managed to cart three boxes of books down in their suitcases. Thanks to Scholastic's and another local publisher we purchased over 175 books at a hugely discounted price to send. The books covered all age ranges and will hopefully be an encouragement to all the adorable kids being cared for by the home.

We are still hoping to have a photo of the kids actually using the books soon. Jordan was thrilled when she heard that it had all made it to the children's home. It's nice to see that an idea of an eleven year old can make a difference in someone's world. When we left Scholastic with the majority of the books, Jordan just closed her eyes and leaned back in the seat. I asked what was wrong and she said,

"Absolutely nothing. I can't wait to do this again next year."

Monday, July 21, 2008

4 years old!

July 21st is a wonderful day in our family. Four years ago today our wonderful third child was born. As you know, the years go by quickly and admittedly the days are crazy busy, but I take great pride in the fact that Grace is thriving in our family. Grace is our spirited one and she is amazingly logical at the same time. I think being a third child must make a child act so much older than her age. We will celebrate with a party at Monkey Joe's on Saturday with cousins and friends. Here is a quick trip down memory lane...and a long loving post.

Dear Grace,

When you arrived four years ago we were anxious to bestow you with the name we had chosen, Grace Evon. Little did we know that your arrival would speak to the very definition of grace. You are truly a gift from God. Your middle name, Evon, was from your Grandma McDermitt and you share the same spirited personality she had even though she never got to see you join our family. The first picture is one from the NICU where you spent nine days. You were the biggest baby in there at ten pounds. Although you were hooked to wires and tubes and we had a difficult start after our emergency, we thought you were the most beautiful baby on earth. Your pure spirit and determination was evident from the beginning.

Taking you home that night was one of the happiest moments of my life. We had both been through so much and it felt good to finally arrive at home. Jordan and William had waited so very long to hold you and so on your 10th day of life your siblings finally got their hands on the baby they had anticipated so much.

Jordan and William spent many days looking at you in the moses basket. You were the center of our days.

I love this photo of you curled up peacefully. I think you were two months at this point.

And here you are during your first Christmas Eve with your cousin, Alana. You were born only five weeks apart so your Aunt Julie and I call you "cousin twins". It has been so much fun seeing the two of you be best friends together.

You went to Tybee Island on your first birthday. Here you are taking in the waves with Daddy. You were hilarious crawling around on the sand, finally becoming exhausted and napping under the cabana.

And on your second birthday you were at DisneyWorld. Amazingly you seem to remember so much about this trip, but just the other day you mentioned that you really needed to return to see everyone there again.

Here you are on your third birthday, laughing with Alana. We visited Build-A-Bear with everyone, but you and Alana were so much fun to watch. That cousin twin thing has really stuck.

And this year you are such a busy girl. You are upside down half of the time working out your core muscles.

You fell fast asleep after a big bike ride with Daddy.

And dressing up is a favorite pastime.

Happy 4th Birthday Grace! We love you!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

more charleston

Okay, I am a month late in posting these. We've been in and out of town and I am just now catching up. Here are some more odds and ends from the June reunion in Charleston. We had a great time and with the exception of a summer afternoon downpour the weather was beautiful. I am so grateful to Dave's cousin Shirley and her husband Rusty for planning all of this.

Marketplace details

Three excited kids who travelled through the wee hours of Friday moring in their pjs so we could see a little of the city.

Flags at Hyman's Deli on Meeting Street...some of the best She Crab Soup you will ever taste!

Dave's father, Don with his girlfriend, Mary.

The McDermitt Siblings in birth order. There were seven original children, but one died as a toddler. It's neat to see them all together.

Cousins who enjoy laughing together.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

not your typical charleston pics

These photos are a collection of things we saw on our trip to Charleston last weekend. We headed there for the family reunion, but couldn't resist taking these other photos to share with you. It was so blogworthy that even Dave commented on how these would end up here.

We saw this billboard after crossing onto the Isle of Palms. I almost fell in the floorboard of the car laughing and Dave helped me capture it out the window. This was everyone's favorite phrase of the trip. Perhaps I should explain that the Piggly Wiggly grocery store has been a staple of southern life for years. The HQ and it's founding family live in Charleston.

And at a seafood restaurant we ate at Jordan spied this hilarious version of the claw game. I can honestly say that I've never seen anyone catch their dinner this way.

William in Arby's (we were eating lunch in a hurry before leaving town on Sunday) with his magic book. He carefully read and followed a trick in the book with a straw paper and then exclaimed that the book was a "HUGE dissappointment" and not "what was claimed" to which Dave and I replied that life was a little like that in all ways. ;-)

Jordan found a sign that was meant just for her in downtown Charleston. Thanks goodness she didn't feel the need to shop there.