Showing posts with label Memories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Memories. Show all posts

Painting With A Twist



After a post yesterday that was very difficult for me to write (and share) and a different heavy post last week, I wanted to lighten things up a bit around here this afternoon!  (Probably for my own sake more than yours.)

We are big college football fans in this family.  This goes back to Derek's childhood.  When he was a boy, his dad took him to the spring practice for their college football team every year, and they created alot of good memories around college football!  So when his dad asked Derek if he and our boys wanted to go to spring practice with him this year, obviously they said yes!  I love that they can create multi-generational memories now.

That left the girls and I with nothing to do on a Saturday, and Derek insisted we should do something fun too.  So he did some research and signed us up for a Mermaid Tea And Painting Party.

I did not even know there was such a thing, but the day arrived and the girls and I jumped in the car to head to the paint shop.

I have to admit, it was pretty magical.  First the girls each got to decorate a little plastic teacup.  They got their faces painted.  Disney princess music was playing in the background.  Then we were instructed on how to paint mermaids by a mermaid.  Later she gave us cupcakes.












It was adorable to see how the girls chose to decorate their teacups, and to watch them as they concentrated on filling in the lines on the canvases with paint (we obviously helped them quite a bit).  Every time I look at the pictures in the girls' room now, it makes me smile.

Afterward I was informed repeatedly that it was the best day ever, and really it's thanks to Derek.  I was a little skeptical about whether this was something we should spend money on, and I probably wouldn't have done it myself, but he signed us up and insisted we go.  Husbands are pretty smart.  It ended up being a sweet memory with me and my three girls!  I'm glad we went (and I'd recommend a painting experience with your kids if you ever get the chance, it was pretty fun!).

The Big Easy (Our Trip In Photos)



My hopes for my little getaway to New Orleans basically boiled down to two things - I hoped Derek and I could get some quality time together, and I hoped that getting away for a couple days would give me a fresh perspective and get me out of my months-long discouraged funk.

I can report back in the affirmative on both counts!  

Derek and I had a great time together, first of all. We had beignets for breakfast in a cute cafe, went out to our favorite NOLA restaurant (twice), listened to some live jazz, and watched our favorite show before going to bed at a decent hour (because we are wild and crazy like that).  We had good chats about deep things, practical things, and silly things.  He indulged my photo-taking, and New Orleans is a photogenic city, so I have lots of good shots to share.  It was a lovely time.

On my hope of getting enough space to renew my perspective, that happened in the first two hours on the plane.  I picked up a fantastic audiobook that immediately hit on some of the things I've been so down about lately and gave me a biblical perspective on it.  It was completely something the Lord blessed me with, because the book was so timely and brought my focus back to Him.  By the time we touched down in New Orleans, I was feeling ready to bring that encouragement back and tackle my real life again.  The rest of the trip was just icing on the cake!

Highlights of New Orleans:

A plantation tour - I hit two plantations in one tour, Laura Plantation and Oak Alley.  Laura plantation was unusual in architecture, but oh man, the history!  It was probably my favorite just because I learned so much. (Also, those people were crazy.  Someone should make a TV series about it.)  Then I went to Oak Alley, which had towering oak trees on both sides of the drive and was completely gorgeous.  I wish Derek could have come with me, but he had to stay at his work conference.  I nearly missed my bus back because I misheard the pickup time, but that was the only hiccup.

Mr. B's Bistro - I had a chocolate molten cupcake and a bowl of gumbo at Mr B's the last time we were in New Orleans, and I've thought about that meal several times since then.  So of course we had to go back to Mr. B's (a couple times!).  I sprung for the bacon-wrapped shrimp and cheese grits one night, and oh my word.  It was so good.  Why is there not a Mr B's where I live?  It's expensive, but totally worth the splurge.

The Hotel Monteleone lounge - We were planning on doing a riverboat cruise again, but there were tornadoes or something while we were there?  I never witnessed this supposed bad weather, and the rain and wind weren't even too bad where we were, but we decided to be safe and just hung out at our hotel lounge.  Monteleone has the famous carousel bar that rotates slowly.  We didn't try that, but we did order a pop and sit in the lounge listening to the band one night.  It was just nice!

Cafe Beignet - Everyone tells you that you must go to Cafe Du Monde for beignets when you are in New Orleans, but last time we went there we just felt crowded and rushed.  It was busy.  So this time we went to the Cafe Beignet on Royal Street.  It was tiny and quiet, the patio was pretty, the beignets were just as good, and we were serenaded the entire time by a street musician.  I'd recommend it over Cafe Du Monde!

French Truck Coffee - And I have to mention this coffee shop, because as much as I was dreaming about that molten cupcake for two years, Derek dreamed about French Truck Coffee!  It's probably his favorite coffee place of the many we've tried over multiple states.  So far, anyway!

Without further ado, some pictures for you!

Coffee Run


(French Truck Coffee before my plantation tour the first morning!)

Laura Plantation

(Me, solo on my plantation tour - yes, I propped up my phone so I could be in some of the photos.  You do what you have to do.)




Oak Alley








An Evening Walk Down To The River

 (Of course we had dinner at Mr B's first!)







Beignets For Breakfast









(I pretty much spent the rest of the day lounging around the hotel and blogging and reading.  It was lovely.)

Dinner And Jazz
 (Our hotel was so pretty!)

(Mr. B's.  The amount of forks there was a little overwhelming, but it was still worth it.)

 (Had to dress up fancy for dinner one night, you know.)

(The carousel bar at our hotel, which we did not try, but which definitely added to the atmosphere.)

Beignet Encore




(Last picture in New Orleans before I had to leave to catch my flight!)

New Orleans is such a fun city to visit as a couple.  Plants grow on buildings, there is always jazz playing somewhere.  There is just something in the air down there, something musty and mysterious and romantic.   I'm glad we got to go again!  

Have you ever been to New Orleans?





An Easter Memory



My mom has always been better at sewing than me.  The most impressive thing I have ever stitched is quilts for the cribs of each of my children, but any experienced seamstress would look at the back of those and note how messy they are.  But my mom, she was amazing.  

One year, she made my sister and I matching Easter dresses, navy blue fabric with yellow roses, double-layered with a sheer, silky yellow fabric on top.  It had ties around the back.  I was almost to the age where I didn’t want to match very much anymore, but that year I loved the matching dresses and felt very stylish.  

I don’t know exactly what led our family to try that little church, but I do have an idea.  The winter after I turned nine, we had attended the church at the top of the hill in our little mountain community.  It was a bigger church in the community but still quite small.  I can remember the shape of the pastor’s hair, I remember going to the church one night to watch a testimony movie and feeling inspired by it.  I remember being baptized there and being so excited by the portable CD players my grandparents gave us as a congratulatory gift.  

But what I remember most about that church is the kids.  Unfortunately, I don’t remember them in a good way.

I remember always sitting on the perimeter in Sunday School class, and avoiding speaking as much as possible.  I remember fidgeting in my chair.  I remember dreading the moment the class was over.  Because after the class the other kids, who all knew each other (I didn’t know any of them), would go sit on the couches in the corner of the lobby and talk and laugh.  It always sounded like a mean-spirited laugh to me. I didn’t join them, I stood across the room, right outside the door of my mom’s Sunday School class, waiting for her to come out.  I just didn’t feel comfortable sitting with those kids.

One Sunday I plucked up my courage, and I went and sat on the couch while the kids talked.  None of them really talked to me, and it was nightmarishly awkward the whole time.  One of the ruder boys started pointing at me and teasing another boy about having a crush on me.  I don’t know if that boy did actually have a crush on me or not, I don’t know if I was the target or he was, I just know my nine-year old heart started thumping in my chest.  I finally got up the guts to sit with these kids, and now their attention was focused at me in a way that made me feel as if they were laughing at me.  Maybe they were.  Or there is the possibility that my childish self misunderstood the situation, but I didn’t wait around to find out.  I grabbed my hardcover kids’ devotional Bible and booked it back over to my spot by the adult’s Sunday School class door.

I never sat with those kids after that.  I cried every week while I was getting ready for church, not sure what to wear, terrified that the kids were going to laugh at me again and not wanting to give them any provocation with a silly outfit.  I vividly remember my mom trying to help me get dressed one day, but I was convinced all the kids would make fun of me.  I stood crying in front of the mirror, my eyes red and puffy.  I look back at this as an adult and realize perhaps I was being rather sensitive and a smidge ridiculous that morning.  But my mom looked back at me in the mirror, and I saw her eyes soften.  She turned me to her, gave me a hug, and softly said that I could just stay home with my dad.

My dad and I watched football on the couch that Sunday morning.  And I don’t ever remember going to that church again.

The next time I remember going to church, I was dressed in that pretty yellow Easter dress, matching with my sister.  We drove to a new place, a little white church in a high altitude park, surrounded by fields and mountains.  A boy was in the foyer with a tall white-haired man helping him pull a thick rope that rang the bell in the steeple.  We listened to the sermon while trying not to be distracted by a red-haired girl with the same name as my sister who sat in the row in front of us, grinning over the seat back.  My mom visited with the adults after the service and then walked us kids out back to the merry-go-round, one of the metal kind that spin impossibly fast, the kind they don’t make anymore.  Another girl with dark braids and a bright white smile, dressed in a long fur coat, elegantly watched the other kids as they spun, but she turned to grin at me as we walked up.  

It was a cold, blue day, with a strong wind that carried laughter.  But this time it was the good kind.  Laughter born of joy and friendliness and love for each other and for our Savior on that bright Easter morning.  The kind of laughter that I’m sure Heaven must be filled with.

We never left that church, we stayed there until I was grown and married.  They weren’t perfect, there were a few church dramas, but those people truly functioned as the body of Christ in our lives.  We spent countless Easters there.  We spent many Christmases caroling to the smattering of houses at the foot of the mountains.  The pastors taught us more about our Savior.  The church payed for Christian summer camp for all the kids, in exchange for Bible verses memorized.  They invested in us, and trained us, encouraged us, and taught us truth.  They helped grow me into maturity.  The whole church came to my high school graduation.  The ladies threw a bridal shower for me, they helped plan my wedding.  And the whole church came again the day I married Derek.

Sometimes I’m not sure why children grow up and feel the need to leave something that was good to them as a child.  Because I’ve never found a church that I loved, or that loved me as much, as that one.  It was the love of Christ they showed to us, the love of the One who suffered and died to save us from the wrath we deserved, the love of the One who rose again to free us from our sin.  The love of the One who keeps us still, now and through all eternity as we will worship our King forever in a place with no more tears.


They reflected His perfect love imperfectly.  But it was still dazzlingly bright.


Happy Easter, my friends!  Praying you reflect the love of Jesus our Savior to all who enter your church doors this Good Friday and Resurrection Day.  You never know when the Lord will use you, His hands and feet, in your little church right where you are, to make a lasting impact on someone's life.  Even someone who is already a believer, like I was.

Wrapping Up The Year: 2018



Last year on New Year's Eve, Derek and I sat down for our traditional ringing in of the New Year by drinking sparkling cider by the tree.  We usually spend this time reflecting on the last year together, and dreaming about everything we hope the new year holds.

But I'm not going to lie, last New Year's Eve, I broke down and cried when I thought about 2018.  We had just had our last baby (as far as we have planned), and after seven years of pregnancies or new babies or the hope of new babies, I didn't know what to look forward to anymore.

There are no big exciting things on the horizon!  There is nothing left to look forward to! I thought.

This is silliness for a multitude of reasons, but as I remember how I felt last year, I think I would just give myself a gentle slap, and tell myself to stop worrying about the lack of big events on the horizon.   Even when you don't seem to have anything exciting in the near future, things have a way of changing a lot over the course of a year anyway.  This year, I think the overarching lesson has been to learn to appreciate things as they are.

Wonderful things happen in the course of a year, and sad things happen in the course of a year, and you don't necessarily see any of that coming.  You can hope and pray and plan, but in the end God knows what will happen.  "A man plans in his heart, but the Lord directs his steps."

This year, I'm calmer on New Year's Eve.  Tonight I'm going to take inventory of where they Lord has brought us this year, how He saw us through to the present, and just memorize what it's like to be in this small moment in time, on December 31st, 2018.

It will all change before next year, and that can be happy and sad.  It's best to remember that it's always both.

Now, on to the year recap!

Note: Some of these links are to photos on my Instagram account (follow here: @callienicole7), and some are to blog posts!


January

-Georgie turned two months old at the very end of December, and I wrote about it on the blog.

-We went on a gorgeous mountain drive as a family on New Year's Day!

-I got in a lot of baby snuggles.

-We started homeschooling again after Georgie was born and I started to find my rhythm.

-I started attending my local Community Bible Study and reconnected with a lot of ladies I knew as a teenager.

-We went to our local stock show and bought the kids some new heavy-duty farm toys that they still love!

-We visited our local "insect zoo" with friends!

-Georgie turned three months old.  We found out that she wasn't gaining weight because she wasn't getting enough milk from me, and we started supplementing with formula.  I tried really hard to get my milk supply up, to no avail.  Georgie, obvious to my struggles, laughed and discovered her hands this month!

On The Blog: Why I Wear Makeup, 18 Book I'd Recommend From My 2017 Shelf




February

-Derek started swimming lessons with the big kids, which gave me some nice time with the littles!

-Wyatt turned 7 years old!

-The Lord started to convict me about evangelism.

-We celebrated Valentine's Day and I took a bunch of cute pictures of the kids.

-We took the kids bowling for the first time for our friends' 30th birthday party!

-I started to realize that there are other moms in this small town.  What do you know?

-Georgie turned four months old!  We figured out she had a lip AND tongue tie and took her in to get those clipped.  We discovered her love for toys.

On The Blog:  How To Start A Casual Blog, Evangelism Is Scary




March

-Georgie turned five months old.  She started to chunk up quite a bit!

-We made slime for the first time.

-We visited our dear friends on their ranch - a yearly tradition that we all love so much!

-We colored Easter eggs.

On The Blog: Thoughts About Homeschool Rooms, Large Family Q&A



April

-We celebrated our first Easter with Georgie!

-We booked our vacation for North Carolina in May.

-Gwen got her first haircut!

-We went on a field trip to our local railroad museum, and the kids had a wonderful time!

-Clyde turned four years old!

-I only spent $200 on groceries for the month.

-Georgie turned six months old.  I quit nursing her right around her month birthday.  It was especially sad for me this time because I would have gone longer, but my milk supply was just giving out.

-I introduced Wyatt to microbiology.  It was an exciting day.

-I injured my knee!  I had knee surgery after Wyatt was born and didn't have any problems since then, but I pushed a little too hard at the gym one day and ended up tearing my meniscus (just a baby tear). I hobbled around on crutches for a week.

On The Blog: Don't Be Like Bob, 8 Minute Memoir: Spring



May

-There were a couple wild fires and the air smelled like smoke.  It was unsettling.


-We visited my brother-in-law and sister-in-law in North Carolina for the first time in years!  It was a wonderful vacation. (I just realized I never shared photos on my blog! Sheesh. Lots of pictures on Instagram though.)

-Georgie turned 7 months old!

On The Blog: Why I Won't Be Sorry To Turn 30, Homeschool Curriculum: First Grade In Review




June

-We continued at the church we started attending in 2017, and really started to make some friends in our Sunday School class and enjoy the fellowship there!

-We went on lots of hikes.

-I made a bunch of summer plans after we got back from vacation!  I found out some disturbing news about Nancy Drew.

-We went antique hunting.

-I read in the hammock.

-Derek planned a birthday party for me!  We celebrated my 30th birthday with family and friends, and it was lovely.

-I reflected on nearly 10 years of blogging, and why I think it's still worth it.

-I tried making my own body butter.  Update six months later - I'm going to try a different formula.  Too greasy.

-I bought a grain mill.  It's not as weird as it sounds.

-The Lord really started working on me with contentment with where I live.

-I turned 30 years old!  It wasn't a big deal at all.  30 is great!

-Georgie turned 8 months old and started eating purees and sitting up really well!

-We visited my grandma and grandpa at their cabin, and they took the kids fishing for the first time!

On The Blog: Things I Regret (And Don't) From My First 30 Years, On (Almost) Ten Years Of Blogging




July

-We celebrated Georgie's first fourth of July!

-We found a house we liked and put in an offer, which was soundly rejected.  Weirdly (and ironically, as you'll come to see if you keep reading) it made me more content with our little house.  I started my home tour series.

-We put up a hummingbird feeder and thoroughly enjoyed watching our little feathered friends.

-Gwen started ballet with her cousins!

-I got this cool metal print of one of our vacation photos, and shared about how and why I decorate with family photos.

-I started homeschool planning, and found so many great resources - I was so organized!  I shared here.

-We celebrated our ten year anniversary!  We visited a lovely restaurant and farm to celebrate (the restaurant closed this year, so I'm glad we went one more time).

-We caught a couple $1 movies.

-Georgie turned nine months old!  She got her first tooth!

On The Blog:  That Time We Almost Moved (And Why I'm More Content Now), What I Learned In Our First Real Year Of Homeschooling




August

-We made the most of the last bit of summer!  I shared about all our fun summer things here and here.

-We let the kids camp on the porch.

-We had a couple campfires.

-Derek and I watched our show on the porch with twinkly lights.

-I pulled up a ton of thistles - yuck!

-We took the kids to see Christopher Robin in the theaters.

-We went on a big "last hoorah for summer" camping trip!

-We kicked the school year off with donuts!

-Georgie turned 10 months old!

On The Blog:  My Homeschool Curriculum Picks (2nd Grade and Kindergarten), One Thing That's In Our Morning Basket




September

-Wyatt started soccer as his first sport!

-I was very vague and mysterious in my September currently post, and that is because we put in an offer on a new house and it was accepted!  It was a whirlwind.  We weren't really expecting to move (see July note about contentment), but a house came up that we LOVED, and the Lord worked it out for us!

-Derek and I took a (late) trip to celebrate our ten-year anniversary together!  We decided to go to Seattle, and it was a great choice.  If I didn't live here, I might want to live there - we loved it!  The photos in these posts are well worth the extra clicks, I assure you - it was beautiful!
Permit Me To Gush (Pike Place - Seattle Part One)
Ferries And Lakes And Orcas Oh My (Seattle Part Two)

-I finally shared about our new house!  And that it had pink carpet.

-Georgie turned 11 months old!  Amidst all the house and trip craziness I forgot to post for her ten month update (and accidentally deleted her ten month pictures - I might have cried a little about it!), so I did her 10th and 11th month updates together here.

-Clarice turned 3 years old!


On The Blog:  Donuts And Peanut Butter Cups: Currently, 7 Things About Our New House




October

-Moving month!  Inspections went through, and I put off packing to the very last minute.

-I took Georgie's one year old photos amid the fall splendor.

-I was crazy and decided to do a writing prompt series, so I was surprisingly prolific on the blog.  You can read the posts I wrote about "How I Handle It" here.

-We celebrated Georgie's first birthday party in the old house, the last party we had there.  It was a donuts and pumpkins themed birthday party, and it was adorable!

-Said goodbye to our old house with a bunch of pictures and ceremony.

-Moving day was October 25th and 26th!  We moved most things into the garage because our house needed a lot of work.  We had the painters and carpet people scheduled for that very first week in the house.

-Georgie turned one year old!  I totally didn't take a 12 month photo with her bunny stuffed animal, because we moved right before her birthday and all that stuff was packed up.  But I did write her a lovely birthday letter, so I'm counting that.  We celebrated her actual birthday the week we moved into our new house!

-We spent a lot of time at McDonald's while the house was worked on.

-We played in leaves.

-We also squeezed in some Reformation Day fun!

On The Blog: The Main Reason We Don't Celebrate Halloween, Why I Don't Daily Plan In Our Homeschool




November

-Lots of house renovations!  I wrote about everything we accomplished here.

-We voted.

-Lots of unpacking.

-Some things went down at church and our dear Pastor left (second pastor we've lost in two years).  We're honestly still sad and stressed about the whole thing.

-We celebrated our first real holiday in the house - Thanksgiving!

-We decorated for Christmas!

-I went Black Friday shopping for the first time in years and got ALL my Christmas shopping done!  I felt very accomplished. I also bought myself a couple things.

-I decided to go on a Facebook break for the month of December, which I mostly kept.  I was forced to break it a couple times, but overall I've really been enjoying being off Facebook!

On The Blog: The Gifts I Bought Myself, Screen Time - How I Handle It (Or Not)




December

-We took a break from home renovations to just enjoy Christmas together!  I wrote a Christmas list for Derek.

-We visited Santa (Georgie didn't like it).

-We made gingerbread houses with our friends from church!

-Derek bought us tickets to see A Christmas Carol!  We went with my sister and her husband as a double date!

-We went to a Christmas parade.

-We went to a Christmas light trail, which was beautiful (Georgie especially loved it).

-We surprised Derek at work and decorated his office for Christmas!

-I got my teeth whitened with Zoom at the dental office - it was an interesting experience.  Full video on Instagram.

-Got our new school area set up before we went on Christmas break!

-The kids were part of a living nativity at co-op and it was so cute!

-We got sick a lot, and I lost my voice.

-Lots of baking. 

-We went around to meet all the new neighbors right before Christmas, bearing Christmas candy!  Helpful hint: If you bring your neighbors a Christmas card or present, the best night to go is December 23rd.  People are usually home on December 23rd, before the Christmas rush.

-Enjoyed our first Christmas in the new house!  It was a lovely day.  We also put in a little more effort to the kids' "together presents" this year, and it paid off (play kitchen and Hot Wheels track were a hit!).

-Celebrated Christmas Eve at my mom's, and the day after Christmas with Derek's family!

-Celebrated Gwen and Derek's birthday on the 27th!

-I took Gwendolyn to get her ears pierced for her 6th birthday!  She's been asking for months and was so excited!  She looks so grownup now!

-Celebrated New Year's Eve (today) by cleaning the house in preparation for our official housewarming on New Year's Day!

On The Blog:  To Those Who Are Joyful This Christmas, And A Merry Christmas To You!

That's a wrap!





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