Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Baby Brother

  Today was THE day that we'd been waiting for several weeks to arrive.  Today, we found out we were having a baby boy!  Anna Beth has been so sure this whole time that there was a baby sister in my belly.  She has even told people that and they've congratulated us on another girl!  The following is the conversation that we had in the car after we got them loaded up from my friend, Kim's, house and were heading home:

Me: "Anna Beth, Lynnsie...there's a baby brother in my belly."
AB: "And a baby sister!"
Me: "No, just a baby brother."
AB: (frowning) "But, why?"
Me: Because that is the baby that God gave us.
AB: (looking sad) "Oh."

  Fast forward through playtime, lunch, and nap.  Here's another attempt at trying to tell AB about her baby brother:

Me: "Anna Beth, are you excited about your baby brother in my belly?"
AB: "Yeah, I guess."
Me: "What will we do with him when he gets here?"
AB: "Play with him.  And when he comes out, then there will be a baby sister in there!"
Me: "No, there won't be a baby in my belly anymore."
AB: "Well, then when he comes out we'll put him back in your belly and get a baby sister."
Me: staring, listening to Jacob cracking up, not really knowing what to say to that...

  Oh, the thought processes of children and the things that they say.  Lynnsie is pretty quiet about the whole situation...she may not give this "being the baby" thing up very easily :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter 2011

  Our Easter weekend was filled with fun and the celebration of our RISEN Lord and Savior.  On Friday, our SS class had an Easter Egg Hunt in the park.  No pictures...had my camera, but left my memory card at home :(  The girls had a great time.  Gram (my mom) took AB around and Papa (my dad) took Lynnsie around.  Poor Lynnsie, to a kid with peanut allergies finding the eggs is the most exciting thing because we couldn't risk her eating anything because they didn't have the ingredients listed.  Oh, well.

  You can see an earlier post, REAL Easter Eggs, to read about another part of our Easter weekend.  We did the Resurrection Eggs 3 or 4 times.  As I mentioned in that post, it was my girls favorite "egg" thing of the weekend.  As it should be, since, Christ's resurrection is the whole point of celebrating Easter.
   Saturday afternoon, the girls and I dyed Easter Eggs.  I boiled them on the stove, mixed up the dye, and moved everything we needed outside.  I didn't think it would be the best thing in the world to allow two toddlers to play with dye inside the house.  They had a great time and their eggs made a beautiful centerpiece for our Easter lunch.
  Jacob took off of work on Sunday, so we all got to go to church.  AB and Lynns looked absolutely beautiful and I would say that if they weren't my daughters.  Their dresses were given to them by their Nana (my grandmother) for Christmas.  I have been waiting months to put them on!! I was too afraid to even take them out of the closet beforehand for fear something would get on them.  They were both very excited about their new white sandals...which I waited until the last minute to buy resulting in 3 trips to the mall to get the right pair for AB. lol.  As soon as Anna Beth saw her dress the night before, she wanted to put it on.  I told her it wasn't time to put on her "pretty dress", but that she would wear it for church the next day because it was a very special Sunday.  She woke up at 6:30 asking if it was time to put her pretty dress on!!
  Gram and Papa let Anna Beth and Lynnsie pick what our Easter lunch was going to be. You wanna guess what they chose? McDonald's.  Yep, our Easter 2011 lunch consisted of chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers, big macs, and french fries.  But you know what, we were celebrating as a family and I really didn't care what we were eating. 

It's a typical family picture with two toddlers....
Gram and Papa got a little bit better shot, though.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

How Sweet To Hold...

"How sweet to hold a newborn baby.  And feel the pride and joy he gives.  But greater still the calm assurance this child can face uncertain days because He lives!!"

  This is a verse from one of my very favorite hymns, Because He Lives.  As I was singing it in church this morning, Easter Sunday, I could not help but think of when I held my newborn Anna Beth and my newborn Lynnsie and how I will hold my newborn baby in a few months.  The love that comes when holding your newborn baby - or your newborn child, if God brought them to you later in their life through adoption - is out of this world and you are suddenly amazed that you can love another person so much!!  What a joy and a relief that God has each of my children in His hands. 
  Anna Beth, Lynnsie, Baby Coleman, and future children,

  There will be uncertain times in your life.  There will be joy and there will be sadness.  There will be things you understand and things you do not.  There will be memories you want to preserve and memories you want to forget.  But in each situation, have the calm assurance that you can face every single day with the certainty that He lives. 

I love you,

Glorious Day

  In an earlier post, "Singin' Miss Grace", I talked about singing Chris Tomlin's version of Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) to Anna Beth when she was a baby and how, when she was just in a crying mood, it was the only thing that would calm her down.  I have a song that I sing to Lynnsie, too.  It took several tries to find the one for her, but eventually I found it.
  Casting Crowns has been a very favorite Christian band of mine for several years.  If you've never heard them, you should definitely Google them and listen to some clips of their music...then go buy their albums or download them to your iPod!  In their most recent album, there is a song titled Glorious Day.  I fell in love with this song the moment I heard it...almost 2 years ago.  I just recently found out that it apparently is a hymn, too, ... or first, I guess.  I mostly sing the chorus to her and the words in it are powerful enough to calm anyone down because it is the Gospel in four short phrases.

Living He loved me, dying He saved me, buried He carried my sins far away.
Rising He justified, freely, forever, and one day He's coming, O Glorious Day!

  Again, who can be upset when they have this truth that they can freely claim!!  I love singing this song to Lynnsie and how, when I do, she looks up to me with the biggest, brownest of brown eyes that I have ever seen.  I pray, sweet Lynnsie, that you will claim these words and this truth for yourself one day very soon.  It will be a glorious day.
  Here are the rest of the words to this most beautiful song:

One day when Heaven was filled with His praises, one day when sin was as black as could be.
Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin, dwelt among men, my example is He.
Word became flesh and His light shined among us...His glory revealed!

One day they led Him up Calvary's mountain, one day they nailed Him to die on a tree.
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected, bearing my sins, my Redeemer is He.
Hands that healed nations stretched out on a tree, He took the nails for me!!!!

One day the grave could conceal Him longer, one day the stone rolled away from the door.
Then arose over death He had conquered. Now He's ascended, my Lord evermore!!
Death could not hold Him, the grave could not keep Him from rising again!!

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming! One day the skies with His glories will shine!
Wonderful day my beloved one bringing!  My Savior Jesus is mine!

Because LIVING He loved me, DYING He saved me, BURIED He carried my sins far away, RISING He justified, freely, forever and one day He's coming, O Glorious Day!

Here's a link to a nice video of it on YouTube...not the official one, but it's good.  http://youtu.be/GTBnCCreO5M

REAL Easter Eggs

  When I was working at Rachel Sims Baptist Mission a few years ago, a mission group brought some Resurrection Eggs to do with the kids.  I had never heard of them before, but went and bought some ASAP after that day.  This year, I shared them with Anna Beth and Lynnsie.  I cannot write the words that accurately describe the experience of sharing this with Anna Beth and Lynnsie.  Anna Beth knew so much that I was already telling her about each egg.  There are a dozen eggs, each one with a different object in it that symbolizes a part of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection (thus the name Resurrection Eggs).  Here is what is in each egg and I've put in parenthesis AB's response as she saw each of them - mostly for me to remember her understanding at this age of Christ's death and resurrection.

 Donkey: Jesus rode a lowly donkey to ride into Jerusalem just before His death and Resurrection. Matt. 21:1-9 ('Jesus rides a donkey.')
Silver Coins: Judas accepted 30 silver coins for betraying Jesus into the hands of the Jewish leaders. Matt. 26:14-16; 27:1-5 *this was the going price for a slave during this time...
Passover Cup: Jesus used the Last Supper to explain His death. Matt. 26:17-19, 26-28; Ex. 12:23 ("Jesus broke the bread and shared it with His friends.")
Praying Hands: These hands remind us that Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray with His disciples just before He was arrested. Mark 14:32-42 ("Jesus prayed in the garden.")
Leather Whip: After His trial by Pilate, the roman soldiers used leather ropes with rocks and metal woven in to whip Jesus. John 19:1-5 ("Mommy, the bad men whipped Jesus.")
Crown of Thorns: A crown of thorns was placed on His head to mock Him. Matt. 27:29 - 31. ("They put that crown on Jesus' head and it had stickers and it hurt.")
Nails in the Cross: Three large nails were driven into Jesus' hands and feet to nail Him to the cross. John 19:16-22 (pointing to her feet and hands,  "They put those nails in His feet and hands.")
Dice for gambling: Roman soldiers gambled for Jesus' clothes using dice. John 19:23 - 25
Soldier's Spear: Roman soldiers used a spear to pierce Jesus' side when He was on the cross. John 19:31-37 ("They poked Him in His belly.")
Linen Wrapping: Joseph of Arimathea wrapped Jesus' body in linen after He died on the cross. Matt. 27:57-61 ("They wrapped Jesus up.")
Stone of the Tomb: The huge stone that covered the tomb was found rolled away. Matt. 28:1-3)
Empty Tomb: Jesus tomb was empty because He rose from the dead.  Matt. 28:5-8 ("Jesus lives in our hearts, Mommy.")

  Like I said, words cannot describe the joy at hearing my almost 3 year old tell me so many things about Christ's death and resurrection.  We talked about why He did each of these things...because He loves her and me and Lynnsie and Daddy and everyone in the whole world.  Lynnsie mostly enjoyed looking at each object which is fine because she has to start somewhere.  Of all of the eggs that were a part of her Easter weekend....these were her favorite.  More than the ones we hunted, more than the ones with candy, and more than the ones we dyed.  Her favorites were the ones that told her just how much Jesus loves her...and you.

*In the picture above of the eggs, the egg with the dice is missing....curious toddlers!! I'm sure it'll turn up somewhere :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sandwiches...Sometimes, it's as real as it gets

  Have you ever had great plans for a super-yummy-delicious supper?  I did last night.  I was going to make veal parmesan, roasted potatoes, and cream corn.  Mmm...sounds so good.  I know Jacob was looking forward to it, too, since the veal parmesan was his idea.  But when 4:30 rolled around...I just didn't feel like it.  I didn't feel like trying a new recipe. I didn't feel like dipping raw meat - with my bare hands - into bread crumbs, grated cheese, and eggs.  I didn't feel like dicing up a half dozen little, red potatoes.  And no, I didn't feel like opening the can of cream corn and turning the eye of the stove on low.
  So, we had soybutter sandwiches and sliced peaches (from a can, not fresh, and that's okay).  Soybutter is our peanut butter substitute due to Lynnsie's peanut allergies.  Not the greatest tasting thing, but it is a great substitute and a fabulous quick meal.
  I call the girls to the table, give them their milk, and put their plates in front of them.  Anna Beth takes one look and says, "But, mommy, I wanted a real supper tonight."  Guess what, darlin', this is as real as it gets tonight :)  But I know what she meant...she wanted meat and a veggie (ha! I like to tell myself that) or spaghetti or something cooked.
  I've never really loved cooking.  I could tell you about my first time cooking spaghetti, but you might never risk having dinner at my house, so I'll leave that out.  But when Jacob and I got married, I slowly...very slowly...started to like it more.  One thing that I love about that man, among other things, is that he doesn't expect me to have some grand, home-cooked meal every night.  And if there's a night where I don't feel like cooking, he'll whip something up.  He doesn't mind a low maintenance supper.
  But then Anna Beth and Lynnsie came along and, not that I enjoy cooking any more than I used to, I enjoy taking care of my children in this way.  I try to instill good eating habits and encourage them to eat fruits and veggies and I limit sugar and cookies (for them, at least).  There are still times, however, that I just don't feel like.
  In those times, soybutter sandwiches or grilled cheeses are as real as they get.  At least they're on whole wheat bread, though.  And soybutter has protein and cheese has calcium.  Oh, for the record, last night after supper...AB looked at me and said, "Thank you for making me a 'butter sandwich, mommy."  I love my kids.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Calling All Turkeys

  One of the girls favorite noises to make is a turkey call.  Hmmm...I wonder where they learned this?  Yes, my little girls who wear pink, purple, and pigtails can make a turkey call.  It provides great fun and entertainment when they start making them to each other. 
  Sometimes, they will start doing it at the table when they are in especially silly moods.  Once, when they were doing this, I told them they needed to stop and finish their supper, that it was not time to be silly.  I used my "Mommy Voice" and they knew I meant business.  They were both quiet for about a minute...then Lynns' just goes "aahhhrrr"...making her turkey call....and just grins at me.  I lost it...all authority was lost as I burst into laughter!
  Yesterday, I go to pick up Anna Beth from her Mother's Day Out class and her teacher's are telling me how funny she is...about how she likes to sing and tell stories.  Have I mentioned that I love it when they do this?  Or that I love how amazingly wonderful they are to my Anna Beth?  Well, I do and they are.
  Back to yesterday...Mrs. Karen tells me that they are reading a story to the class when Anna Beth all of a sudden makes this noise like "waawwawa" or something like that (that's my best spelling of the noise she made!).  They stop and look at her and she says, "That's what a turkey says.  My daddy taught me that."
  Yes, this is my little blond-haired, blue-eyed, toe-nails-painted-hot-pink little girl....so proud to call a turkey in the middle of story time. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Heartbeat

  I have never really thought much about heartbeats, or really the sound of heartbeats.  But now, heartbeats are one of the most beautiful sounds there is my life.  Especially when it is the sound of my baby's heartbeat.  For now, I am only going to the doctor once a month.  Not much happens at these appointments, but I get to hear our little baby's heartbeat. 
  I always hold my breath for a split second when my doctor first puts the little heartbeat listening device (not sure of the proper term!) on my belly, but I can't hold back that smile when the sound of that first heartbeat comes through.  And then I listen for a brief moment at the life growing inside me.  I can breath again, hearing that precious sound.
  It is a sound of assurance.  A sound of life.  A sound of our future as a family. A sound of the love God has for me, that He would allow me have such a child.  A sound that comes with so many emotions that I really have no idea how to write them down.  I love that sound.  I could lay on the doctor's table and listen to it all day. 
  In a few months, I will trade hearing that sound once a month for holding our baby in my arms.  But for now, I will look forward to hearing the precious sound of the precious heartbeat of our precious baby.

What's In A Name?

  I remember a long time ago, when Jacob and I were still dating but knew we were going to get married someday, we were talking about kids.  We were talking about how many children we wanted and what some of our favorite names were.  We made a short list of 2 boy names and 2 girl names that we really liked and those were going to be our kids names.  I kept up with that list in my head over the next few years, hoping  every time a friend got pregnant that they didn't use one of the names we had picked out!
  Then the time came when it really mattered.  We were having a baby, the pregnancy was moving along great, and it was time to pick our boy/girl names.  I mean, picking out names is something all moms and dads have done...it is easier for some than it is for others.  I remembered a friend and she and her husband, named their first child based on the names meanings and she said that they gave their child that first and middle name because that was their prayer for them.  I thought that was a really great way to name a child.  We poured over baby name books and then finally came back to our first choice name for a girl...Anna Elizabeth.  It just sounded so beautiful and just brought that smile to our face.  We knew we would call her Anna Beth.
  When our first little surprise came along just a few months after AB was born, we had no idea where to start for a girl and, of course, we still had our first boy name.  We originally had a second girl name, but since coming up with it, I met and spent a lot of time with someone who had the same name and - to put it nicely - I didn't want my child to share that name and risk me being constantly reminded of this person.  So, we played around with several name combinations, but nothing seemed right.  Nothing gave us that "smile" like it did with AB.  Then, while we were taking a walk around seminary campus on afternoon, I asked Jacob about the name Lynnsie - spelled L-Y-N-N-S-I-E.  There's so many ways you can spell this name, but we really liked this spelling because it incorporated Jacob's mom's middle name, Lynn.  Jacob asked about a middle name and I said I really didn't know.  Then he wanted to know about "Dale" for a middle name.  Dale is his middle name - and his dad's middle name - and I couldn't think of anything sweeter than our little girl having her daddy's middle name.  My youngest sister has my dad's middle name and I've always thought it was precious!  So, there we had it - Lynnsie Dale.  And it worked out perfectly, too, because Lynnsie "looks" like a Lynnsie and not like the other name we had originally chosen!
  Now, we're doing it again!!  We still have our first boy name, which we will use if this is a boy, and we've chosen the first name if this baby is a girl...still working on the middle name.  This will be a post all to itself once we know boy/girl for this baby...so check back at the end of the month!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Storybook Life

  If you were to ask Anna Beth and Lynnnsie what they did today, here are some things you would hear them say:

 * had a "picky" aka picnic in the park
 * ran in the grass
 * played in a giant shoe
 * slid down a dragon's tongue
 * jumped on the bed in a pirate's ship
 * gave a little pig a hug
 * walked inside a big blue fish
 * went on a pumpkin carriage ride

  Sounds fun, right?  Maybe a little like they spent their day in a story or two?  That's because we went to Storyland today in City Park.  I must admit, I have lived in New Orleans for five years and have never taken the time to enjoy City Park.  Very sad, I know.
  Storyland is a little hard to explain, but it's an amazing part of City Park for kids.  They have all of these giant scenes built from different children's stories, movies, and nursery rhymes that the kids can play on.  "There was an old lady who lived in a shoe", Peter Pan, 3 Little Pigs, Pinocchio, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland...and this is just what I can recall at the end of a fun-filled day.  If you ever visit New Orleans, or if you live here and have never been, Storyland is MUST for your kids. 
  We first arrived at the same time as 7...yes, 7!...school buses. Yay, for field trips ;) It was very crazy at first, especially since the girls were trying to take it all in among the madness!  We let them play for a while and then walked across the street to a big, beautiful grassy area and had a picnic underneath some palm trees.  The girls finished eating and enjoyed just running around in the grass and soaking up some beautiful sunshine. 
  After lunch, we went back in - after all 7 buses had loaded up and left - and had a much better time.  This is when AB and Lynns experienced the giant dragon slide.  This slide started 20 feet up in the air.  AB was fearless as she walked up all of those steps and the flew...literally, flew...down the slide with the biggest smile on her face.  I had heart palpitations.  Then Jacob took Lynnsie down.  She didn't know what to think of it at first, but once she got to the bottom, she realized she liked it and wanted to do it again.

  Such a fun and beautiful day.  The girls are already asking to go back and, to be honest, I can't wait to go back, either!

One Stormy Night

  On Sunday, Jacob had to run to Wal-Mart to get Anna Beth some more bedtime diapers. Anna Beth and Lynnsie both wanted to ride with him, so off they went - and down I sat on the couch to enjoy the quiet...after I got supper started, of course :)  When they came back in, Anna Beth was carrying a green, bouncy ball and Lynnsie was carrying a purple bouncy ball.  This is now two trips in a row to Wal-Mart where the girls were able to pick something out for themselves...I hope they don't think this will be the norm!
  Jacob wanted to replace the bouncy balls they had gotten for Christmas that have since busted.  So, they each picked out a new bouncy ball.  We played in the driveway with them most of the day yesterday...rolling them, bouncing them to each other, and the girls loved chasing after them when they got away in the yard.
  After we got them tucked into bed, it began to storm outside.  After one loud clap of thunder, I heard AB.  I thought she was scared, so I ran into her room.  She was not scared.  She was watching the storm out of her window and she had just seen her new, green, bouncy ball blowing away in the wind and headed down the street.  We raised the blinds and she, Jacob, and I sat there and watched the storm together...assuring her that Daddy would go get the ball.
  The storm passed and we tucked her back into bed.  Jacob grabbed his rain boots and a big flashlight and out into the street he went.  He returned several minutes later...green, bouncy ball in hand.  And that is just one of many reasons, my girls have an amazing Daddy.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

They Say It Takes a Village

  They say it takes a village to raise a child and I believe there's a lot of truth in that.  There are some very special people in Anna Beth and Lynnsie's lives right now, outside of the amazing family members that surround all four...I mean five(!)...of us.  I just wanted to take some time and jot down who they are and why they are special.  Each person is a huge influence in their lives right now and I am grateful for each of them.  I am taking a huge risk at leaving someone out and am hoping desperately that I don't.  If I do, you better believe they will get a post all their own!!
  I will start with a lady who is very special to both of them, and that is Mrs. Lea Hord.  She is the Director of Preschool Ministries at our church...First Baptist Church Slidell.  She makes sure there are loving teachers for my kids every Sunday and Wednesday during church and on Thursday mornings when I am in Ladies Bible Study.  But here's the special thing about Lea, she doesn't view preschool ministry as a "need for babysitters", but as a time for laying the foundation for these young children coming to Christ...starting at the very beginning, I guess you could say. 
  Still in the preschool department at church, we have the Babies nursery at our church.  Children stay in here until they turn one and are walking.  Lynnsie was with them for 18 months...she was a late bloomer in the walking department!  These ladies loved Lynnsie so much!!  And they loved "on" her so much, too.  When it came time for me to move her, they asked me to wait just one more week so they could play with her one last time and tell her goodbye.  It brought tears to my eyes to see how much they loved my child.  They taught Lynnsie that church is a happy place to go, where you find love from others, and get 'loved on" by others. 
  Lynns is now in the 1 year old class.  She's only been in there a few weeks, but already I know that her teachers, Mrs. Carmen and Mrs. Bonnie, picked up where Mrs. Teresa and Mrs. Jessica left off.  For months they would check to see if she was walking because they couldn't wait to get their hands on her!! Again, showing that her love and being eager to love on her.  They were also the first Sunday School teachers AB had at our church - and they still love her now just as much as they did when she was with them every Sunday.
  Mrs. Betty keeps Lynns on Wednesday nights and Thursday mornings.  There's others who are in there, too, but even they will tell you that Lynnsie belongs to Mrs. Betty.  Mrs. Betty is waiting by the door for Lynnsie every time I drop her off.  She reaches for her and smiles the biggest smile.  Most of the time, her feet do not hit the floor while she is with Mrs. Betty because she is being snuggled and rocked...two things that she loves!  Lynns has even called Mrs. Betty "Grandma" before, so I told Mrs. Betty she could be her Louisiana Grandma!
  AB's SS teachers are great, too.  Mrs. Andrea and Mr. Carl.  Mr. Carl teaches AB a Bible story every week and talks to her about how much Jesus loves her.  Mrs. Andrea plays with her and, AB's favorite, brings her donuts!  AB has said many times she likes going to church because she gets donuts...and that's okay with me because I want church to be a place that she wants to be and enjoys being at and knows that church is a fun place, too.
  Mrs. Laure plays two roles in AB's life...she is a helper in her Mommy's Day Out class and she is also her choir/Awana teacher on Wednesday nights.  AB loves her on Wednesday nights because she always stuffs her pockets full of candy on the way out!! But what AB really talks about, is when Mrs. Laure helps her take a nap at school.  Mrs. Laure rubs her back and plays with her hair while she settles down and falls asleep each Tuesday and Thursday.  AB will say, 'Mommy, rub my back, please, like Mrs. Laure does.'  It is so precious!  And I love knowing that my child is loved during a rough time of day...when she's super tired and worn out!
  Finally, but certainly not least, is Miss Kelly and Miss Karen, AB's teachers at her MOD school.  I had no idea AB would have two teachers who loved her so much!  To see her give them hugs, and watch them give her hugs, every single day is priceless.  AB asks if they can come play at her house or come to dinner.  When one of them is absent or sick, she is excited to get to school the next time to see them.  They even take the time to send home notes about funny things AB did during the day.  They know when she's not herself and they call me.  I pray that every teacher any of my kids have, will be just the way Miss Karen and Miss Kelly are!
  I know throughout the years, there will be many people who are special to my children and play important roles in their lives and I never want to forget them and I want to be able to look back and remind my children about each and every one of them.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Fresh Strawberries and OJ...it's all in a week with Nana and Denden

  Every year for the past I-don't-know-how-many years, my grandparents have loaded up in their camper and headed south for the winter...snowbirds, as they call themselves.  They always leave a few days after Christmas and head home at the very end of March.  In all of these years, only one even has drawn them away from Florida during this time, my wedding.  And then we had babies :) This year, they came to visit (or to the rescue!) in February when I was very pregnant-sick and this past week, they left their campsite a week early and spent the last of their winter vacation with us. 
  The girls - not to mention Jacob and I - love it when they are here.  I cannot begin to tell you how much help they are when they're here!!  On this last visit, they brought us some fresh strawberries and some fresh Florida oranges...YUM!!
  I caught a glimpse of my childhood as AB sat with my Denden at the table and watched him cap strawberries.  I used to sit on my Granny Wren's (Nana's mom) front porch for hours at a time in the summer and shell peas and break green beans.  These are some of the best memories of my childhood...summer days in Bradford, TN.  My Nana will take these strawberries and cut them up, add some sugar, and serve them over hot biscuits with butter (another reason why I love it when they visit!)
  They also brought their juicer over - that my granddad said they got at a garage sale many, many years ago - and we made fresh squeezed orange juice with the dozen or so oranges they brought.  And it was SO much better than Tropicana!!  Denden showed them how to do it and then let each of them do a couple of oranges. 

 We ALL enjoyed drinking the fresh OJ together after we made it!!

Planting Our Rainbow

  One of my MOST favorite books to read to my girls...and one of their favorites, too...is a book titled "Planting a Rainbow."  It's a big board book with the brightest colors I've ever seen.  In summary, a child and their mommy plant a rainbow every year....they grow something red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.  If you know me, then you know that I love lots of color, so maybe that is why this is one of my favorite books to read. 
  Last year, as I was reading it to the girls, the thought hit me that this was a great idea to do with them!  So, last year was the first year.  I took AB (Lynns was only 8 months old) to a family-owned nursery and we picked out a purple plant.  I don't remember what it was called, but it was pretty and grew and grew and grew!  Each morning AB and I would go out to the front porch and water our pretty flowers.  This was happening while Jacob was away at Basic Training, so we would write to him and send him pictures - and even a flower one time - all summer long.
  Well, today was our "Plant Our Rainbow" day.  Jacob was away for drill, so this morning after our picnic snack in the back yard, we loaded up and went to the garden center at Wal-Mart. (I would've loved to have gone to another family-owned, local nursery, but I failed to look any up!)  We went up and down the aisle of beautiful flowers.  AB said she wanted orange flowers and insisted that Lynnsie wanted pink ones.  Lynnsie doesn't know her colors, yet, so I held some pink ones up for her and she smiled and reached for them and said, 'Kay.', which seems to be Lynnsie for "yes".
  Next, we went and picked out some pretty flower pots to put our flowers in.  AB chose one with stripes that were pretty shades of blue and Lynns chose a pretty green one.  We came home, ate lunch, napped, snacked, and were just heading back out to transfer our flowers into our pots, when Jacob walked in...surprising us all b/c he wasn't supposed to be home until tomorrow.
  We all went out and Jacob helped put the flowers in the pots.  The girls were really excited and now our tiny little front "porch" has some beautiful color to it, our own little rainbow.

  * As I was trying to take their picture, our neighbor came over and started talking to Jacob, so getting them to actually look at the camera became a lost cause :)