Friday, August 5, 2016

Our summer

Our summer has been a little different from summers in the past. 
1. I have older kids. It's just different with kids that are older. Can I get an amen?
2. I planned to keep it very low key. I wanted my kids to experience boredom.
3. We planned to help the kids become more independent. 
I think we accomplished our goals!
We had so much fun and made a lot of memories!

In early July, Tim's nephew and wife welcomed their first baby!
The kids took part in the summer reading program through the library. They read a ton of books this summer!
We also did a lot of swimming. The kids learned to swim really well last summer, so we did not have swimming lessons this year! We had fun just swimming! Yay!
C Girl still does not like to be in water where she can't touch the bottom, but honestly, neither do I!
B Boy is a certified fish! He has even been working on the backstroke!
We redid C Girl's room as her big birthday gift this year. This is a before picture.
More swimming!
Almost every Sunday in July, we have went together to the city pool.
Tim and the kids did a LOT of bike riding this summer. B Boy loves to go on really long rides with him. They even have code names for their routes!
C Girl LOVES to be in the kitchen. B Boy, not quite as much but we are still making him learn stuff!
We also had the kids begin really cleaning up the kitchen after meals.
The kinds of faces that I get from this girl. Sigh.
She is something else.
B Boy finally got to attend the Pokemon club at the library. He was in heaven!!!
This night, we had C Girl make dinner for us! She cooked spaghetti!
We missed doing a lot of hikes in the spring since I wasn't well. We had this hike on our summer bucket list (I love having these. We haven't checked everything off and probably won't, but it's fun to look at this list and plan fun things!) and this view was worth the trip!
And on the subject of my health, I am doing pretty well at the moment. The Humira seems to be keeping my Crohn's symptoms at bay. I am on a couple of other meds to help with some other issues I had been having that are not connected with my Crohn's. I'm thankful to be in a good place right now. I have been off of dairy for over a year now, but lately, I have limited my breads, sugars, and almost cut out soda. That seems to be helping a lot too. I had gained weight since my surgery in November and flare up in the spring. I had not exercised in a really long time. I've now began exercising again and with the diet changes, I am losing weight, but most importantly feeling better.

These two had a great dental exam!
Keith, Jessica and little P came for a visit! We have missed having them here with us so much!!!!
We went to the Amazeum one evening while they were here.
We all had a great time.
These three cousins had such a fun time together!
We can't not go to Target!
And we made a trip to Cabela's!
B Boy ended up going home for two nights with Keith, Jessica and P!
This was his first solo trip away from home!
They were like brothers!
Tim and I were able to have a date night on Friday night while both kids were gone!
These next pics are a little out of order. Sorry! Didn't want to go back and fix them!
B Boy and I met friends at High Rise one day while C Girl was at church camp!
I also finished her bedroom!
This is the day she returned from church camp!
The Friday while B Boy was away, C Girl left for church camp! She was thrilled that one of her best friends was going this year!
Some of the soon to be 5th grade girls!!!
She had so much fun at camp and I'm so thankful that two of my friends (who are the momma's of girls the same age as C Girl) went as counselors for this group!
She was thrilled with the changes in her room!
 Grandma and Pop Pop came to visit one day. They love to look at our photo books.
 Tim took B Boy to his first concert at the AMP. They went to see Chris Stapleton!
 Another Sunday at the pool!
I posted this on Facebook: I don't know how I got so lucky with this man. He's my best friend, an amazing husband and an incredible dad. I've never once doubted that we are the most important thing in his life. He encourages me, he's a great teacher & leader, he's funny, he loves Jesus and I'm better for knowing him! He works so hard for our family and I felt like sharing his goodness today! 
It's now August and the slowness of summer is over. Things are ramping up with back to school, PTO, church and birthdays! More on all of this soon!

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!"
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.
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!!!