Monday, July 18, 2016

VBS and the Fourth

This is something I mistakenly left out of our vacation post: 
I love traveling with our kids. They have become great travelers for the most part. I love how they search license plates to see where all the vehicles are from. B Boy makes us laugh a lot. He was killing us by calling Missouri, "misery!"
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My health update: 
I'm doing really well right now. I'm still having some possible hormonal issues that I think might be related to my hysterectomy, but I will eventually find out more about that.
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After we returned from vacation, we immediately jumped into VBS! I helped with grade school crafts for the 3rd year in a row. It's so fun and I love being able to serve with my friends.
C Girl was in a group with a precious leader who teaches at our elementary and two of her friends!
B Boy had lots of friends in his group!
On Saturday, we participated in our yearly tradition of being in the patriotic bike parade!
The kids did not want to decorate their bikes this year. I think it might have been one of our last times in the parade. Sads!!!
I love seeing the way people decorate for the parade!
Yarnell's served free ice cream after the parade!
B Boy found Spiderman!
We love staying in Bentonville for the fourth and going to Orchards park to hear music and watch the fireworks. They do an incredible show every time.
We love the 4th! We had these fun glasses and glow stick bracelets!

Friday, July 15, 2016

The work of loving people

I will be back soon with more about what we have been up to, but right now, I need to let some words out.

There are so many awful things in the world that happen these days and typically, I don't write about that here. I use this space to record family memories. I will post on Twitter, Facebook or other platforms sometimes though. 
I feel like a tragedy will happen, everyone will see what the "rhetoric" will be for that tragedy and then most people proceed to post something that falls within that rhetoric. 
So in a sense, everyone is posting the same thing said a little differently.

That's not what I'm doing here today.

I writing today because thoughts feel like they have been trapped inside and I must get them out.

Whether it is what happened in Nice, France or an officer shooting an unarmed black person or a black person shooting police officers or a radical Muslim extremist blowing people up or just someone shooting people up, the people/persons who do these things have been hurt themselves. Somewhere along the way in life, they were hurt or abused or just unwanted. 

We have to start being more as Christians. Even if it is just in our community. 
We have to start going out of our way to see people, to show them that we care and are there for them. 
We have to love people that are different from us. That may be in looks, lifestyle, demographic, whatever. 
People want and need to be loved, known and accepted. 
Why is this so hard for us to do?

I know that doing this will not change the world and stop every bad thing from happening, but it might stop some. Isn't that worth it? Even if it stopped one bad thing?
I think of the people I've known in life that have made me feel loved and wanted. It's such an amazing feeling and usually they only did small things but it made a huge impact on me.

Our world is so broken and so many people are hurting in so many ways. 
We can pray and we can love people we come in contact with, even if that is on social media. 

My heart grieves with how evil the world can seem and how my children will live in a vastly different world than I grew up in. 
They have to know to be more careful and to think when they are in large crowds of what might happen.
BUT, more than that, I really truly hope that I can raise them to show love and compassion to everyone. 
We need more people who don't just go about their own lives in a bubble, but go out of their way to reach out to people.
It is something we all can do if set our hearts on it.
People need to see hope in life despite the hurt they've endured.

I'm talking to myself here more than anyone. My heart is just as prideful as anyone else's. 
I've avoided people who I deem "less than" what I want to be around.
That's so shameful to say, but it is true.
I don't go out of my way to be kind to the checker at Walmart like I should.
I've even been rude when I've been in a not great mood.
These are hard things to admit and it's part of the problem.
When did I learn that it was okay to treat people that way?
I lose patience with my kids far more than I should. I like to blame that on my ailments, but it is something I can do better at.
I pat myself on the back for the things I think are "good" but then tell myself that I've done enough.
What is enough?
You can support missions and sponsor children and help in your church and tithe, but if you don't love the people you come in contact with, what does that say about you? By "you," I'm talking to me.

What if someone felt unwanted at church because I didn't shake their hand and welcome them because they didn't seem like my "type." I'm sure that happens every Sunday across this country. 

It's not our job to change people's hearts. That's God's work. 
Our work is to love and accept people no matter who they are.
I'm praying to be better about that with everyone I encounter.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Summer vacation 2016!

We visited Kansas City, Missouri for our summer vacation this year. We wanted to keep things a little closer to home and low key this year.
KC is only about 3.5 hours from where we live and there is SO much to do there!

We headed out on a Wednesday morning.
After a few stops, including lunch, we arrived at Union Station to go to Science City!
With our membership to the Amazeum in Bentonville, we were able to get into Science City for free!
It was a really cool science museum and we had lots of fun!

We stayed at a Drury Inn & Suites and really enjoyed our stay. Drury has an outdoor pool, free wifi, free breakfast and a light dinner every night with 3 adult drinks per person per night. All of that saved us so much money!
The kids loved swimming in the pool and sometimes we wondered if we should have stayed home and just went to the pool, lol!

The second day in KC, we went to World of Fun/Oceans of Fun. 
It was a very hot day and we soon learned that we don't think we are really amusement park people. We don't care for roller coasters or big rides, we don't care for the outrageous prices and we just want to relax and have a good time.
The water park side was much better. It was still really crowded as the day went on, but the kids LOVE to swim.
I also went down the first water slide of my life. It was a tube ride and it was so much fun!
I was so proud of myself!

On Friday, we went to the KC Zoo. We have been to this zoo before and love it.
It is a BIG zoo and it was SO hot! They have a sky-lift that travels over part of "Africa" and that is always fun. We also got to see a baby gorilla with it's mama. So sweet! We also got to watch the penguins being fed!

Things aren't always peachy while on vacation with kids. I posted this on Facebook and got LOTS of comments: 
Is it just us, or does vacationing with pre-teens make you want to go home half the time too???? Traveling with toddlers was at least joyful, albeit hard work. We are frequently teaching, guiding, disciplining, and dealing with attitude. The rest of the time, all is well. Just wondering if this is normal with other families?!

On Saturday, we went downtown to eat at Jack Stack BBQ. It was a really good meal!
Afterwards, we visited the Nelson-Atkins museum of art.
Before we had Crystal Bridges museum of art to experience, I probably would not have chosen to visit a museum of art. Now, I appreciate these museums so much!
We got to see such amazing art! We saw Monets, Van Goghs, and very ancient Egyptian art along with ancient art from other countries. We even saw a REAL mummy!

On Sunday, we didn't really have any plans scheduled so I looked for a theater that we could go watch Finding Dory at. I found a cute theater in Independence, MO that wasn't very far from our hotel. It was an old theater and had so much charm!

While driving through Independence, we saw signs telling about the Harry S. Truman presidential museum in town. Well, of course, we had to go see that!
It was so neat and so much history. I had not ever really known that much about Truman and he was president during huge, momentous moments in our history.
We learned so much while there! We also drove through town and went to see Truman's family home.
There were also SO many churches in Independence.  Almost everywhere you looked, there was a church!

Monday was our last full day in KC. We started by first visiting the money museum at the Federal Reserve bank of Kansas City. B Boy has been very interested in money since doing a unit on it in his gifted and talented program at school.
It was a pretty interesting museum. The most interesting part for me was seeing the vault area and learning how much money they have come through there each day was astounding! I definitely learned more about our federal money process!
We went to a Qdoba for lunch and parked in the World Market parking lot. I've always wanted to visit that store but have never been near one. I changed that! It was so fun looking at everything in the store!

The next store I had been dying to go to for ages!
I had never been to an IKEA and I was so excited to see what the hype was all about!
It did not disappoint! They had great stuff at very affordable prices. I wish it was closer!

That night, we attended a Royals game! It was the first major league baseball game for the kids and I!
The Royals were playing the St. Louis Cardinals, so the atmosphere was great!
It was a great game and the Royals won!
It was a wonderful ending for our trip!!!

Monday, June 20, 2016

the weekly recap {June 13-19}

Monday morning was the last rise and shine of the year.
 C Girl's class were all recognized as the students of the week from her teacher!
Tim had taken the day off and we did one of our favorite things - junkin'!
These were made out of books! How neat is that?!
 C Girl had her final piano lesson before her summer break. Her teacher is getting married this week!
After piano, we went to swim at the community center. We recently joined as members so we are taking advantage of the swimming!
Thursday was the last day of school!
The last day of 4th grade for this girl!
The last day of 3rd grade for this boy!
They always want to do a silly face!
Since this was the end of her elementary journey, I had to do a comparison between the first day of kindergarten and the last day of 4th grade.
She's grown SO much!!!
Graduating elementary school!
So proud of our girl!
She has made such sweet friends! I'm so glad that some will be joining her at the middle school she will be attending.
Picking them up for the last time this year in the carline!
Pretty Sissy girl!
Celebrating school being out!!!
This girl loves this boy!
On Friday, my brother, Kevin and his boys and my SIL, Jessica and her boy came up to visit us!
We went to visit Crystal Bridges and then to the splash park. It was hot but we had a lot of fun! I love spending time with my nephews! They are all so funny! I also love my brother and SIL!!!
We went back to my house to have tacos for dinner. Kevin and the boys headed home after dinner, but we got some extra time with Jessica and P since they stayed the night!
I love when these cousins get together!
An exhibit on the floor of hard candy - this is my kids' favorite "artwork!" 
Saturday afternoon we loaded up our van and headed out to go camping!
We used to take the kids camping when they were toddlers/pre-schoolers, but we haven't been camping since moving to Bentonville almost 6 years ago. Unless, of course, you count camping in the backyard! Ha!
The kids were so excited and they have their own tent!
We camped at Prairie Creek on Beaver lake.
Tim and the kids swam for a couple of hours in the lake.
They tried making "nature dolls?" Don't ask me, it was C Girl's idea!
We have been putting a focus on giving the kids independence and teaching them to do more things. They packed their own stuff for the trip and Tim had them help put the tents up!
Our tent is one that Tim has had for more than 20 years. It's been a great tent!
Our campsite:
Things weren't precious the whole time. We have some tweens and tweens have grumpiness and attitude, so we have to deal with that frequently. Ugh!
At least they are cute!
We let the kids practice taking a few pictures with my big camera. I like this one that B Boy took of Tim and I!
We kept things as simple as possible for the trip (It's true that you learn from experience!). I planned a menu of steak (we marinated them at home and kept them in a ziploc until time to grill), mushrooms, asparagus and watermelon. We wanted stuff that had few ingredients and didn't need any extras. It worked out well. We cooked the mushrooms before we came and just heated them over the fire. We also roasted marshmallows over the fire after dinner! 
For breakfast the next morning, we had pancakes (batter had been mixed before we came) and bacon (the pre-cooked kind) and we cooked those on our electric griddle.
After dinner, the kids were exploring and we saw two deer and a baby bunny!
Other wildlife seen on the trip: an armadillo, chipmunks, and blue jays!
It was hot, so C Girl had a really hard time going to sleep. I had a hard time because I was nervous about them being in a different tent and the way they were set up, their tent door was not visible from our tent.
The next morning, Tim and the kids were up early so they went fishing. I stayed behind and slept some more.
B Boy caught around 17 fish!!!! No lie!

That afternoon when we came home, Tim mowed while I worked on the laundry and stuff in the house. We had frozen pizza for dinner and then watched Zootopia. Such a good movie.
We gave Tim his Father's day card and treats. He has gotten some good gifts lately too!
He is the best daddy to these two! So thankful for him!!!