Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fun at MOSH

Lately I've been trying to figure out what we're going to do during the summer, since my baby girl and myself are busy little people! We can't stand to be home all day every day, and once Mom 2 Mom is over in a few weeks, my guaranteed weekly 'outing' will be gone and I need something to replace it! We have zoo passes, but for the hot-hot days, I want to have an indoor activity that Brookelynne can enjoy and get her energy out. So, I thought about MOSH. And since my sister had passes to get us in, we planned an afternoon playdate there!

This is Paw Paw (our dad) with our kids! Davis, Braxton, Abbi and Brookelynne
Abbi and Davis LOVE Brookelynne so much! (And she loves them too!)
Paw Paw with his newest addition (even if only for another few days)
Abbi picking Brooke up! haha
Me and my little Man!
Tricia, Braxton, and Me :)
Davis is such a sweet cousin that he wanted to hold Brookelynne's hand and take her to his favorite spot! (The Indians)
Abbi making herself at home in the Jacksonville History exhibit!
After going through the whole museum, we went to the playroom. Here's Abbi and Davis making a dam.
Abbi also showed Brooke how to 'drive' the cars!
Davis helping Brookelynne up the stairs.

We really did have a great time, and Brookelynne thought the exhibits were really cool. I'm looking into the season pass, and strongly considering it because it's so close to church, and their doctor's offices, so we could easily 'stop by' there for an hour every couple of weeks and it would be really fun. Not to mention that it's air conditioned! lol

Monday, March 28, 2011

Trip to Lakeland....

This weekend my cousin Clay was getting married in Lakeland, so we happily made a trip to be there! A few years ago when his brother Cole got married, Mom, Mitch and I just made a day trip down there, but with the kids, I knew that I would not be up for that. So Mom, Brookelynne, Braxton and I headed down there Friday morning so that we would have the whole afternoon and next morning to spend some time with family and go see/do the things we wanted to. We stayed at my cousin Laura's house and she was so kind to host us so graciously. She's such a sweet person and has a beautiful home. (which is quite spotless, I might add)

I didn't take us long to make ourselves at home, as you can see. Brax and Grandma took a short nap soon after we arrived. After all we had a busy night planned!

We ate dinner and visited for a couple of hours after the kids got home from school and then headed over to the ball field to watch Taylor play baseball. :) Brookelynne was quite interested in this! :) She stood at the fence watching the boys warm up and then regularly 'checked out the action' in between her climbing adventures on the bleachers! haha (She would go up and down the first two steps, and she also found and stole Grandma's water a time or two!)

Taylor's team played well, and while he struck out his first time at bat, he did get a hit his second time. Not only did he get a hit, but his hit brought home the boy on third, breaking the tie, so that they won the game! Brookelynne loved clapping with everyone! She even said "GOOOOO TAYYYY" one time! :)

She was such a sweet girl most of the night and took a couple of trips to the concession stand with Hannah. :)

Toward the end of the night, you could easily tell that it was past her bedtime, because my little booger got Grump. E. !!! We headed home and I was just sure that Brookelynne would go to sleep, but boy was I wrong! lol She got a bath, which she was a little hesitant about at first, but quickly started to enjoy herself in the tub with the cup and ability to 'slide'. (Our bathtub is textured on the bottom, so she can't slip at all, but Laura's was not textured, so I would pull Brooke from side to side and she LOVED it!) We also put Brax in the bath, and he really enjoyed it. I hadn't brought his bath chair, so I just held his head out of the water and let him rest in the water, which I guess is better to him than his chair, but I'm not really sure how. Braxton fell asleep shortly, right after his 9:30 bottle, and right along with his normal schedule, but Brookelynne Starr did not fall asleep until at least 11:30. Oh.My.Goodness. lol It was quite a fight to get her to go down, but then she was out!

We woke up the next morning at 5, but after I pumped and fed Brax, I made Brookelynne lay back down with me and we slept until 9ish. Aunt Betty had made us a wonderful breakfast of biscuits and gravy when we got up, and we all enjoyed a few hours of getting ready and hanging out. Josh and Amy arrived around 9:30. And we all headed out around 11 to go to the cemetery. I know that may sound morbid to some, but it's a really sweet time for us to go and visit my grandparents grave and put flowers there. I don't know how others handle that type of stuff, but I take that time to talk to them and tell them the things that they've missed, and how much I miss them. I know they can't hear me and that they're not even there, but it seems so much more real when I talk to them there than if I did it anywhere else.

After that, we went to Chili's for lunch.
Aunt Laura took some time while we were there to love on Brax! :) Aren't they so sweet!

When we left Chili's, Mom, Amy, Josh, the kids and I drove by my Grandparent's house to show it to Amy. It was definitely bittersweet to see how badly the people are taking care of it and the land. Then we drove by Uncle Elam and Aunt Vera's old house and stopped at Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Darlene's house to see them. Aunt Darlene wasn't there, but Uncle Jimmy was there with some of our cousins working in to install a lift. Josh decided to stay with them for a little while and help them finish up. :) We went back to Laura's house and make Brookelynne take a nap, and when I say "made her", I mean that I had to hold her in the 'laying down' position until she fell asleep. She cried hard for several minutes, and then my mom came in there and held her and she fell right to sleep. I went ahead and took a shower and started getting ready for the wedding and packing everything that we had to take home. Here is a picture of Mom and Aunt Betty before we headed out!

The wedding was at a large Catholic Church in Lakeland, and they had quite a ceremony! With 14 bridesmaids and 14 groomsman, but only 1 step, they had a line that stretched across the whole church! The bridesmaid dresses were beautiful and pink. And Heather looked amazing, as Amy put it "a real life sized Barbie!" The ceremony was sweet and much shorter than the last Catholic wedding that I went to. (That ceremony had Mass as a part of it). Brookelynne was clapping after each song, so we were trying to keep her quiet. When the priest had us all stand to pray, I told Brookelynne to bow her head because it was time to pray. Unfortunately the priest didn't start to pray immediately, he just talked for about 2 minutes and then read a verse that had "Amen" in it. When Brookelynne heard that, she looked up at me and said "Amen" just in time for the priest to actually start praying. I kept whispering "Bow your head, we're praying" and she kept shaking her head going "Na, Na, Na" and trying to grab a book. Finally my mom had to take her out because after we sat back down, she was looking at a book, turned the page and got so excited that she squealed! *Talk about blushing* And since we were family, we were sitting on the third row. Thankfully, Braxton slept through the whole thing. :)
 We headed over to the reception site, which was at Lone Palm Golf Club. When we walked in, there was a candy bar for everyone to take advantage of. Grab a bag, fill it with your choice of candy and head into the ball room. There you found cheese, fruit, shrimp and such for everyone to start on while we waited for the wedding party. There was also an open bar, with anything you could want. We had seats right next to the dance floor and it was great to get to see everyone come in. When they were announcing the wedding party, Brookelynne was very interested in it! :)

Here is a picture of the happy couple's first dance. It was very sweet and easy to see how very much in love they are. :)

Here is a picture of my mom, Aunt Gail and Aunt Linda. They were catching up during the interlude between the bride and groom's first dance and when Heather danced with her dad. It didn't last long though, because Aunt Gail was up next to dance with Clay!

Then they cut the cake! :) I didn't get to see it because I was feeding Brax (and myself) at the table, but hear that they did get each other dirty, at least on their faces!
Here is a picture of Aunt Linda and Uncle Chet! They are super sweet and I just love getting to see them. I wish I got to see them a lot more often, but unfortunately we just don't. I loved that she got to spend a little time loving on my little man though! :) Here's Braxton and Aunt Linda!

The whole reception was a lot of fun. The toasts were fantastic, especially Cole's. He was practically a stand up comedian!  lol. I took advantage of the dance floor a couple of times, one dance with Uncle Jimmy, and then a line dance just because I can't pass a line dance up! :) Brookelynne spent the night being a little ham, but everyone seemed to love her and be totally fine with that, so I was too. :) Didn't my little man look great in his little suit? :)
We left around 10:30 and headed on home, so that the kids would sleep the whole way home! (Which they did) I dropped Mom off around 1:45, and got home at 2:15. Brookelynne went to bed with Daddy and I pumped, fed Brax and got to bed around 3 am. Up and atem for church came quickly, but we made it to Sunday school on time, so I call it a success!
Uncle Jimmy, Me and Brax, and then a picture of me and my sweeties before I changed them into their pjs! :) Can't you tell that it was late and they were a little cranky? lol

Friday, March 25, 2011

An afternoon with Paw Paw....

Last weekend we had a lot going on and by Sunday we were tired and worn out, so we didn't see my dad at all. (We usually see him for Sunday lunch). Monday I got a call asking how the kids were and telling me how much he missed them. Tuesday he called, hoping I was still in town so he could meet up with us. Wednesday I got another call, when he realized we weren't going to be around this weekend, asking to see the kids. "I can't go two whole weeks without the babies" was all I kept hearing! lol. Anyway, I had a few errands to run on Thursday, as well as a TON of things to get done, so I told him that if he wanted to, he could come up and help me with the kids so that I could get more done.

Needless to say, he took advantage! haha. He got here while Brookelynne was taking a nap, and spent an hour or so holding and talking to Brax, and then when Brookelynne woke up, he was in full-on "play" mode! Braxton and I headed out to go to the store while Paw Paw and Brookelynne took walks, played outside and read books. As always, Brooke had a ball with Paw Paw. When I was out, I picked up some shovels, one for Brooke and one for Brax. They immediately got put to use when I got home...

Brookelynne with the shovels
Digging with Paw Paw
"Put it in the bucket"
Concentrating so hard!
Tire fun!
Paw Paw would put the tire on the shovel, and say "Ready Set Go" and then let it fall and roll to Brooke!
She LOVED this!
She's READY!

I love that my dad loves my kids and is constantly wanting to see them. I never have to even think about how long it's been since my dad saw the kids, because any more than a week and he's blowing up my phone! haha Its so nice to know that he loves my kids, and even though he's not even close to perfect, he tries and does everything he can to show how much he loves them!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Visiting with our sweet cousins...

Growing up, we had a lake house on Lake Brooklyn in Keystone Heights, only a few doors down from my Aunt Cathy and Uncle Mike's lake house. I have wonderful memories there with my cousins. Even though they were all several years older than me, we always had so much fun. In the last several years, as we've all grown up and moved out of our parents homes we've not seen each other as much as I would like. One of those cousins made it a little harder to see them last year when they moved to Costa Rica! Kelly, her husband Daniel and their boys Luke and Ben are missionaries in Costa Rica these days and came home for a short visit. :) Mom and I took the kids over to Aunt Cathy's house so that we could all spend some time together.

Luke and Ben wanted to sweep up the leaves
Brookelynne wanted to help too!

Braxton James hung out with Grandma most of the time. How handsome is he?
Aunt Cathy and Brookelynne  pushed Ben on the swing

And then Brooke came back to help Luke finish cleaning!

The boys found a catapiller and Ben decided to show it to me, but he didn't want to look at me when he did! :)

We tried several times to get a smile, but the yawn and "showing his teeth" grins were the best we could get!

We had a great time talking about their time on the mission field and the new baby boy they have on the way! Hopefully they will make it back to the states in 6 months or so and we can get some more time with them then! :) Until then, please keep this sweet family in your prayers. They are in a very poor and dangerous area of the country and Daniel helps host teams of people each week doing all different types of ministry. They are reaching people with the gospel and disciple them as well!