Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Joy Dare::April

1315. Nice enough to play outside for a little while
1316. "Hang out" phone call with my Mom while we are both taking care of children
1317. Aliza loves her dance costume
1318. Josiah telling me the words he can read
1319. Comfort food for supper tonight
1320. To remember--raise children with the ultimate them in mind. Because you love the ultimate them enough to not give in to every whim of the immediate them
1321. Testimonies at the Young Life banquet
1322. Josiah working on his paper independently and being so proud when he bring them finished to me
1323. Visiting my sister
1324. Going to the library to check out a book about dolphins for Aliza's first report that requires an outside source
1325. Aliza so very cooperative at her Dr. appt and she and I both left with our self esteem intact
1326. Josiah and Anna had a blast with Grandad. "We played games the whole time!"
1327. First trip to Dairy Queen for the kids.
1328. Walking around in the mall and only buying what I set out to buy
1329. Long weekend nap
1330. Lots of laughing in the back seats of the car tonight
1331. Spring clothes in drawers
1332. Car floor free of trash and debris
1333. Josiah told me he prayed and asked Jesus to live in his heart
1334. Josiah so cooperative during his well check
1335. Peace of mind and heart
1336. I would still choose to marry Jeremy
1337. Warm spring rain
1338. A neighbor thinking to let us know of a local crime situation
1339. Aliza sang really well for the adults during Bible Study opening
1340. Jeremy to my rescue to salvage my supper flop
1341. Birds chirping in the morning
1342. Sweet notes
1343. The day went according to my plan
1344. Children happy with my parents
1345. Landed safely in Houston
1346. Able to check in to our hotel room early after being awake since 1:20am
1347. Protection from an accident
1348. A fun adventure with Brandi
1349. A new sister in law. Josh and Sarah happily married.
1350. A restful sleep last night
1351. Helping with wedding clean up
1352. Visiting with Josh and Sarah in their home
1353. Safely home
1354. Our family heading home--together
1355. The children had an amazing fun time with their grandparents, great grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles
1356. Mom looked rested and relaxed when I arrived to pick up my children
1357. Getting back in routine
1358. A book I don't want to put down
1359. Children adjusting to being home going so much better than I expected
1360. Mom came over this afternoon and did some things around the house while I took a nap
1361. Coloring eggs and happy playing
1362. Unexpected kitchen gifts--that will be so useful!
1363. Eating apples on the porch together
1364. Aliza wants to help with homework
1365. Good Friday church service
1366. The first grass cutting of the season
1367. 3 children so excited to see Grandma Karen
1368. Resurrection rolls
1369. Maxi dress
1370. Great Easter songs and singing
1371. Easter story colors in baskets, hunting eggs and ham dinner
1372. Listening to Aliza and Anna talk to Grandma Karen quite early this morning
1373. Nobody was ready to Grandma Karen to go home
1374. Warm enough to play outside quite a bit today
1375. Anna got on a bike and took off. She pedaled with all her might!
1376. Good attitudes
1377. Aliza (happily) sets the table for supper just about every night
1378. Anna looking so angelic sleeping by me this morning
1379. Josiah running to tell me that he just read "a really big word"
1380. Three little girls napping this afternoon--at the same time
1381. A cool breeze and warm spring sun
1382. Hearing baby's heartbeat
1383. Jeremy was home during breakfast on a morning when I needed help
1384. Making paper airplanes with Andy
1385. A caring dance teacher
1386. Lovely wedding pictures to look at
1387. Sister in pigtails
1388. Jeremy cooking hibachi chicken and fried rice for supper
1389. Heard--"I just realized I really love Aliza." (Josiah)
1390. Jeremy feeling better
1391. Playing Aliza's custom made Lalaloopsy game
1392. Bedtime stories
1393. Being able to call my Mom just to ask a silly question like "How do you pronounce scythe?" And finding out that Aliza's application of her phonics rules was correct.
1394. Leaves and green grass on rainy days
1395. Josiah's new level of cooperation with school
1396. Aliza and Josiah wanting to do things to please me
1397. Learning a new detail in a Bible story that I've read and heard many times

Friday, April 25, 2014


A new tradition may have been started this year. We made Resurrection Rolls. A marshmallow is dipped in butter, then cinnamon sugar and then is wrapped tightly in a crescent roll. The marshmallow represents the body of Jesus and the roll represents the tomb. As the roll cools after baking, the marshmallow melts and disappears making a hollow place in the roll and an empty tomb. It's a fun visual for the kids and a yummy snack.
Grandma Karen was with us and she had Easter gifts for the children.
New nightgowns for the girls!
Easter morning Jeremy and I gave the children Easter baskets with gifts of colors that reminded them of parts of the Biblical Easter story. The colors are Aliza's expectation now and she knows what each color represents. Pretty cool. Then it was off to church and dinner at Mom and Dad's house. Brian's family and Laura and John were able to be there and after dinner we had an Easter egg hunt.

Ezra had his own egg hunt first. He was so cute carrying around that basket that was about as big as he is. He had lots of help!

Then Anna got a head start before the big kids took over. The big ones had to wait at the end of the sidewalk.  "Who's excited to hunt Easter eggs?"
"Jump up and down if you are excited to hunt Easter eggs"
"Hop on one foot if you are excited...."
"Hop on one leg and turn in a circle if you are excited..."
And then, finally, they were released!!!

It was a sunny day, but the wind was cold! So after opening their eggs inside, Great Gramma made them sit on the couch (Anna was napping) to open their bags from her. Only Great Gramma can insist that these children sit in a row and hold their bags until she has taken a picture or 2 before they open them!
These cousins played for most of the afternoon. Our children got to spend the evening with their Grandma Karen and they had a great time. The girls woke her up Monday morning ready for chatter and some heart to heart talks. It was a really sweet morning to wrap up a good weekend.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Our Weekend in Texas::Story 5

You know how after the main event is over, you just want to be home and you start really missing your children? That's how it happened for me by Sunday morning. I didn't feel very well in the morning. The plan was to meet Josh and Sarah at the restaurant in the hotel they stayed at for brunch. The published time was 10am and I thought I could make it, but I ended up having to eat before we left. It was a good thing I did because as we were driving to the restaurant we found out the published itinerary was misprinted and the time for brunch was actually 11:00. It worked out because Brandi really wanted to check out the Super Target and I, after visiting Anthropologie, *needed* a maxi dress. Brunch was the only destination that we didn't have an actual GPS address for and we ended up getting lost and Jeremy and I entered the restaurant quite irritated with each other.

What also happened was that I talked to Mom in the Target parking lot and she was telling me how much fun the children were having (more on that in a bit) and I was crying. I would have hopped on a plane right then if I could have.

After brunch we went back to the wedding venue to help Josh and Sarah gather up the wedding decor they needed to take back to their house. While we waited for everyone else to arrive, Jeremy and I got to walk down to the beach and sit for a few minutes.
The saddest part of cleaning up was having to take apart the table bouquets! A lot of flowers were taken to a nursing facility in the area. At least we didn't have to throw all those fresh flowers away! After unloading the wedding stuff, the Heslop family spent a while visiting at Josh and Sarah's house. They opened their gifts. It was nice to visit in their home.

During the afternoon I received some pictures of our kiddos. They had gone swimming (which they are still talking about a week later), had pizza for lunch and ice cream from the Chesapeake Dairy for dessert, and Josiah was fishing. And this was just on Sunday! On Saturday they had spent hours playing in the dirt with Caleb and Gideon. I love watching my kids have fun. It's so very fun for me. I had hit a point in the trip where I felt like I was missing so much fun at home that I thought it would be more fun to be at home than where I was.
We left Josh and Sarah's at 4pm. Killed some time at Starbucks. Arrived at the car rental return at 6pm. Went through security, got to our concourse, ate a leisurely supper, changed into comfy night time flying clothes, found a place for Jeremy to plug in his phone and waited for our flight to start boarding at 8:05pm. We boarded at 8:20 and there were delays for whatever reason. We took off at 9:15pm (scheduled for 8:40pm). We arrived in Baltimore at 1am (only 20 minutes late) and then they had trouble attaching the jetway to the plane. We deboarded at 1:15am. We got a bus to long term parking said a quick good bye to Joel and Brandi and drove home. We arrived home at 4am. Once again I couldn't sleep in the car. I dozed off once and felt us go around a curve. I jolted awake because I was afraid Jeremy had fallen asleep and we were curving off the road! We made a beeline to bed and slept soundly until almost 11am.

And, finally, after 4 nights for them (and 2 nights for me! lol) we picked up our children and brought them home. They were all in their seats and I was one happy Mama.
Thankfully Jeremy stuck close to home last Monday. It made the transition a lot easier for me. I spent the next 4 days utterly exhausted, but I'm all back to normal now!

And that concludes the Texas story! =)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Our Weekend in Texas::Story 4

We've made it to the main event--the wedding of Josh and Sarah. Cameras were banned during the ceremony with the threat of fines if pictures were later discovered. lol. That policy was printed in the entertaining program handout. The ceremony itself was 10 minutes and consisted of awesome trumpet playing, I Corinthians 13 and vows. The guests were dismissed to order from food trucks (more on that later in this post) and Brandi and I hung out during pictures until we could sit down with the family.

Awesome picture I stole from facebook.
The flowers were stunning.
Ready and waiting...
Another pretty arrangement.
The reception area. Each table had a grouping of 3 small flower arrangements.

The Van Heslop family minus a few grandchildren.
The 3 sisters in law.
There was a lineup of 3 food trucks that offered a selection of various foods. Guests could walk up to any truck at any time as often as they wanted and order food. This was such a big city novelty for those of us from Maryland and West Virginia. The menus were as interesting as the trucks.

Third Coast Steak Sandwiches

Menu Items:
El Guapo Sandwich - Salsa Roja Chilaquiles, Crema, Queso Fresco, Cilantro, Ribeye Steak
Beef Tenderloin and Veggies with brown rice and chimichurri sauce
Diner Chips - Homemade kettle chips topped with maple aoili, cheddat cheese, hashbrowns, bacon and a fried egg.


Menu Items:
Lamb Burgers with greens, tomato, red onion, dijon aioli, cucumber and olive tapenade
Shiner Pulled Pork BBQ Sliders with crispy onions
Mac and Cheese bites with cilantro ranch dipping sauce
Sweet Potato Fries with srirachi mayo
French Toast Bites with almond granola and maple syrup

The Waffle Bus

Menu Items:
Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Waffles with spicy mayo or ancho chile honey butter
Waffle Burger with cheese and spicy mayo
Cheeseburger Fryders - sliders with waffle fries for buns and spicy mayo
Chicken Fryders - sliders with waffle fries for buns and your choice of spicy mayo or ancho chile honey butter
Nutella & Banana Waffle
Waffle Fries

Kona Ice

Mini Sno Cone truck!

This is the table where the Heslop family selected drinks from. You see at the right end of the table is water, tea and lemonade. At the other end of the table was cherry limeade another fruity drink and wines. While our husbands waited for food at the food trucks, Brandi and I picked up drinks. Brandi thought Joel would like cherry limeade and I thought it looked good too, but I wanted to know just HOW cherry it tasted. So I filled a cup and tasted it. My first thought was that there was soda in the cherry limeade. My second thought was that that was some super strong soda...and my eyes got big and I started laughing. My first ever taste of an alcoholic beverage. AND I'M PREGNANT!!! It was the tiniest of sips. Just the irony. How naive of us to think the whole table would be non-alcoholic!! lol.

At 10pm Josh and Sarah left the reception through a walkway of sparklers. We left shortly after they did. It had been another big day and we were tired.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Our Weekend in Texas::Story 3

I slept well, in fact so well that my growing baby did not wake me up to use the bathroom. The baby did, however, wake me up for breakfast. Karen had just stashed away from food for us when I appeared for breakfast and Jeremy wasn't too far behind me. I had finished eating when I was told about Texas waffles. I HAD to have one, at least for a picture.  Apparently Texas waffles are only a novelty for us tourists...because you can buy Texas waffle makers at any store. Texans are very proud of Texas. It was nice to sit and visit and catch up with Van and Karen a bit.
So this is day...but the wedding is not until 6:30pm. We all had brunch/lunch with Josh and the guys spent the afternoon hanging out at Josh's house. Brandi and I took the car and set out with the GPS, a plan and a firm fear of Houston traffic in our hearts! Houston traffic turned out to be in our favor. We were in slow traffic for 2 miles going in and had no traffic coming out of Houston. We obeyed the GPS and had no problems finding where we wanted to go.
Our ultimate destination was Sprinkles, a cupcake shop. (It's the pink building in the picture below.) We didn't know until we arrived that there was an Apple store right beside Sprinkles. We did know that there was Pottery Barn, Anthropologie, Kate Spade, J. Crew, and Crate and Barrel in the area. We found a great parking a parking lot...and set out.
Being Brandi and I, we, of course, saved Sprinkles for last. This little area of town is unlike anything we have here on the Eastern Shore. We just window shopped and soaked it up. We also loved seeing flowers and greenery.
Anthropologie is always amazing. I had only been in mall stores. The stand alone store was doubly amazing.
How cute is this? If only my Grandma would have know how much she could have sold embroidered hand towels for!!
We tried on a few outfits. I fell in love with that maxi dress, but I did not buy it.
Kate Spade. Oh my goodness. I've never seen so much eye candy in one place. It positively amazes me that people walk in these stores planning to buy things! You can see us in the mirror in the picture below in the fitting area of Kate Spade. Chandeliers in each fitting room--it was outrageous.
And finally, Sprinkles Cupcakes. Such a cute little shop.
We picked our cupcake and took it down the street to Starbucks to eat with sweet tea. My cupcake was chocolate marshmallow. It was yummy!
It was a perfect afternoon.

We drove back to the hotel with just about an hour to rest before it was time to be at the wedding--exactly how we planned it.

Next story will be the wedding!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Our Weekend in Texas::Story 2

After a quick 45 minute nap and a (much needed) shower, it was time for the wedding rehearsal luncheon. It was held on the patio of a Greek restaurant. I had never had a full Greek meal. It was a fun location and the food was really good. I was a bit surprised that the wind was chilly and I had goosebumps!

After lunch we arrived at Carothers Gardens for the wedding rehearsal. It is a lovely venue with a short walk to a beach on Galveston Bay. Brandi and I were not involved in the rehearsal so we enjoyed the beach for a few minutes. After rehearsal we went to Josh and Sarah's house to load up all of the wedding decorations and then unloaded them at the venue. 

One of the things that was loaded in Van and Karen's car were heavy glass end tables. They laid the back seat down and put the tables on top. When Van unloaded the tables he realized that his trumpet (he played the processional and recessional for the wedding) was under the seat (and the tables) in a soft case. He opened the case to find that the metal had been bent from the weight of the tables and the valves could not move. It was devastating. The locals started calling people and posting on facebook to try to find a trumpet. The next morning Van told us the rest of the story... He was walking around the garden, very sad, and asking the Lord what he should do. He googled something and found a brass restoration place in Houston. He called the guy (half an hour before the store closed). The guy doesn't normally pass out advice, but he told Van to hold the bell of the trumpet against his chest and pull the tubes apart, therefore, bending the metal back in shape. Van tried it and, sure enough, one valve started moving and he pulled some more and soon all 3 valves were working. He started playing and Karen heard it from inside the building and knew beyond a doubt it was Van's trumpet. No one could believe it. The story gave us all goosebumps when we heard it...especially those of us who know that Van has been practicing for A YEAR to be ready to play for this wedding.
We could have hung out with Sarah's parents and family for the evening, but the 4 of us were done--especially Brandi and I. So back to the hotel we went for another rest, but, of course, I couldn't really sleep. It was soon time for supper and the 4 of us (Joel, Brandi, Jeremy and I) used our phone resources to decide on a place to eat. We had some specific food requirements and we ended up at this place.
And when we went in it looked like this--
Not exactly what we had in mind, but apparently all of us were too tired (awake for about 18 hours by now) to suggest we try again. So we sat down, a little self conscious about our attire (until later when others were seated who were all dressed casually), and ordered a simple meal considering the restaurant. Jeremy enjoyed a steak. Brandi had a salad and Joel and I had the last 2 burgers in the kitchen. Those were some high quality burgers! haha.

While we were eating Joel and Brandi remembered Blue Bunny ice cream that you can pretty much only get in Texas. On our way back to the hotel we stopped at a grocery store to pick some up. I was a *little* emotional by this point so Jeremy and Joel were acting completely ridiculous to diffuse the emotions. So embarrassing....but they are SO brothers!
Brandi and I ironed our husbands wedding clothes while they went out for some brother time with Josh and the best man. 22 hours after we woke up that morning Brandi and I went to bed. The guys got back to the hotel at 12:30am which with the time change was exactly 24 hours since they had slept. Let me tell you--I am not made for all nighters. Pregnant or not.

We did not set the alarm clock. I did not care if we missed breakfast. Actually I did because I asked my mother-in-law to save us food if she didn't see us by the time breakfast was put away.