Sunday, July 14, 2013

My birthday week vacation 2013-finale

Friday was the last full day I had with Becky and family.  It was my birthday, as far as the kids were concerned.  I woke up and came downstairs that morning to find these fun embellishments:

Becky made biscuits and chocolate sop for breakfast.  The sop is her Mom's recipe.  Becky is from TN and she is a great cook.  The sop is basically icing -YUMMY!

Becky asked me what I wanted to do - just the two of us - for my birthday.  She had mentioned that Once Upon a Child was having a sale and she needed some things.  I had never been there and had heard a lot about it, so I said that's where I wanted to go.  Daddy graciously offered to watch the kids as we had some girl time, which was fun.  I love the kids like they're mine, but it is great to have grown-up time, too. :)

Once Upon A Child was having a $1 sale.  We ended up getting 75 pieces of clothing for $75! Here is the total before discounts:

Here is the total after discounts - for 75 pieces of clothing!

We got brands like Gymboree, Lands End, Janie & Jack, Old Navy, and Gap.  Our best find, though, was a Hanna Anderssen dress - with tags still on - that was for Christmas.  It was a shiny silver with a embroidered waistband.  So cute.  That dress alone, full price, would have been $75 easy!  Yet we got 75 pieces for that price!

When we got home, we gave Bethany the pleasure of trying on the girls' clothes first.  Emily is big for her age so she and Bethany can almost share clothes (except Bethany can't wear Emmy's pants, they're too short).  Bethany was thrilled.  She separated the skirts from the shirts from the dresses and went to town trying the outfits on.  She was so excited.  She went down the hall every time to show Daddy the next outfit she had on.  I love this pic because it captures perfectly the mood of the moment.

I went upstairs to lay down to try to get rid of my headache so I could enjoy thoroughly Becky's handmade lasagna dinner and the wonderful dessert I knew was coming after.

In between dinner and dessert, we went to the store, because Aunt Sarah always lets the kids pick out something they would like.  True to form, Emmy had to set up the chairs as soon as she saw them.  She said, "they're the perfect size!"

They're hard to see in this picture, but Emmy found some reading glasses and had them on.  They were so big she had to hold them on.  It was too funny. :)

After each of the kids picked out something they wanted, we headed back to the house for this:

Bethany really wanted me to have at least seven candles because she is six and I am MORE THAN SIX. In the end, Mommy and Daddy convinced her I only needed 4.  Becky's TX sheet cake was AMAZING.  I enjoyed it on my actual birthday two days later, too, because she sent me home with the smiley face piece.  Thankfully the TSA doesn't consider cake a liquid! :)  YUMMY!!!

Right after this picture, he brought the plate up to his face and licked it clean!

It was such a great birthday and ending to a wonderful, relaxing and fun week. I am so thankful I was able to spend time with these dear friends.

My birthday week vacation 2013-part 3

My friend had told me that July 4th parades were GREAT in New England.  She was right!  We went to one in nearby Columbia.

Loved the Colonial clothing...

And the bagpipes...

The Shriners' little cars were great.  Titus especially loved them...

Apparently last year Becky and family watched the parade next to the same family we were by this year.  They came armed with MAJOR water guns and huge coolers of ammunition.  Some of the firetrucks spray water on the crowd, so this particular family sprays back.  It was hot and Bethany really wanted to get sprayed, so she asked the girl to spray her.

Titus quickly figured out that these vehicles were throwing candy.  He was running out with the big kids to get it by the fistful!  The boy is serious about his food! :)

After the parade, we headed to a great Mom & Pop pizza place and then home for some down time.  After rest time and dinner, we went over to a church member's house to go swimming.  We put the watermelon in the pool to keep it cool.  I had never seen this done before but apparently this is something Becky grew up doing.  The kids thought it was funny because it floated, of course.

It was a great 4th of July.  The next day, Friday the 5th, was my last full day with my friends.  It was a wonderful day as they celebrated as my birthday all day long...stay tuned! :)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

My birthday week vacation 2013-part 2

The second day I was in CT was Sunday.  The Bridge Church, the church plant that Becky and her husband Aaron are ministering at, holds their service in the evening.  It was great to have a relaxing morning and afternoon after such a busy day the day before.

The next day, Monday, it was time for the missions team from MS to go on to their next church. Aaron took them to the drop off location in Boston and Becky, the kids and I meet him there.  Because they are such fans of Chick-fil-a and we were within an hour or so, we went to the nearest location, which happened to be a nice mall with a great indoor play ground.  Titus has a great time in the little car.

Emily decided to make a side dish out of the Polynesian dipping sauce!  Becky and I were parceling out the food and looked over to find her doing this!

Bethany was very distracted and just wanted to go back to playing with "her friend".  She is very sociable and doesn't know a stranger.  Apparently she had met and made a friend while playing before dinner and was impatiently waiting to get back to playing!

The next day was story hour at the library.  The lady was great.

Apparently, Emily's favorite thing to do when someone is reading to her is to look at another book, because Becky said she does this all the time at home, too!

After the story, the kids made July 4th crafts.  Then we headed to the play date scheduled with Becky's two Pastor's wife friends and their kids.  First on the docket was lunch: PB & J.  Titus really gets into his food - and he especially loves grape jelly!

The kids had a great time playing.  There were girls Bethnay's age and a boy Emmy's age.  Titus wanted to be with the big kids, of course.  I tried to keep him out of trouble to let Becky have a chance to talk to her friends, because her time with them is very limited.  In addition to being Pastor's wives, these 2 ladies are also homeschooling like Becky, so they have that in common as well.

There are places in Africa that are actually more evangelized than areas of New England.  Becky and Aaron really appreciate when they get to fellowship with other believers outside of the church.  It's something I know I take for granted.

My vacation was so much fun. The weather was good - with the exceptions of the mosquitoes.  They had had so much rain there that the mosquitoes were awful.  Even though we sprayed the kids down, they still got eaten up every time we went outside.  By the end of the week, they had cabin fever.

We did get to go outside on July 4th, though, in town, away from the bugs.  I'll talk about that in my next post!

Friday, July 12, 2013

My birthday week vacation 2013-part 1

My birthday week started out VERY early Saturday morning when the shuttle came at 5:20 a.m.  I arrived in CT about noon their time.  My friend Becky and the three kids, Bethany Grace (6), Emily Faith (3.5) and Titus Aaron (18 months) picked me up at the airport.  After a very unwelcoming reception by the curbside passenger pick-up rent-a-cop,  I was greeted warmly by my loved ones with hugs and beautiful handmade pictures.  We went to Cracker Barrel on the way home.  The kids had fun sitting in the rocking chairs and playing with the oversized checker board game.  Here they are individually.  Notice the double dimples, blonde hair and blue eyes.  Cuteness x 3!!

Bethany Grace, biggest sister!  She has lost her 2 bottom teeth and the adult teeth have come in, and she is proud of them!  She is very thoughtful and sweet.  She donated her bed to me for the week and slept on an air mattress.  Because she wanted me to have something purple in my room, she gave me her stuffed purple My Little Pony.  She was adamant about putting more than 6 candles on my cake, because I am MORE THAN SIX!  Mommy and Daddy assured her that 4 was enough!

Emily Faith, big sister.  I can't tell you how much I love her curls.  Her brother loves them too.  He will touch them and pull them, which, as you can imagine, does not delight Emmy!  She is a mini Mommy and very girly.  She doesn't leave the house without a baby doll or a purse or both.  She will pretend a waffle or any animate or inanimate object is a baby!  She loves to play Mommy to her little brother and tries to pick him up.  This never ends well because #1, he's too heavy for her and #2, he doesn't want his sister to hold him (he's too busy for anyone to hold him unless he's tired!)

Titus Aaron, little brother.  He was 3 months old the last time I saw him and had dark hair.  Now look at him!  He is 18 months and talking up a storm and running everywhere!  He is super polite, too.  No matter where you are in the house, or who you are talking to, if he hears you say "what do you say?" he responds in his cute little voice "da-doo" (thank you).  So precious!

Here's a little example of sweet Emily's personality.  After eating, Becky let the kids look around at the toys at the Barrel.  I went to the bathroom and after I came out, I saw this:

She had set up an entire tea party with their toys and dolls.  She has done this before, apparently, and the previous store loved the set up so much they left it for the other kids to play with.

While little sister was having a dolly tea party, big sister was shopping for Mommy (Mommy went to the bathroom to change the baby).  Bethany picked out everything Mommy's favorite color.  She also showed me all the purple things because she knows that is my favorite color.  This was the look on Bethany's face after coming out of hiding (it was a surprise) to show Mommy what she picked out:

This was my room for the week.  It belongs to Titus.  His crib was rolled into Mama and Daddy's room for the week, and Bethany's bed was moved into brother's room.  Because she thought the room looked too "boyish", Bethany picked out the 4 throw pillows.  And, the aforementioned My Little Pony is because she wanted me to have my favorite color on the bed.  She is a very thoughtful little girl.

After some rest time for everyone and a light dinner, we went to Coventry Fest, the local town festival.  Daddy had been at the church's booth all day with a mission team that had come to town from MS. Bethany used the money she was allotted to get her face painted instead of riding rides or jumping on bounce houses. She looked so cute when the guy was done.

This was the view before the fireworks started.  It was a beautiful night weather-wise. The fireworks display was the most impressive and longest I had ever seen - and it was free!  True to his 3rd child nature, 18 month old Titus responded to his first experience of fireworks in a very relaxed way.  He just laid on Mommy's chest with his blanket and watched and occasionally said "wowwww".  He wasn't scared at all!

Around 11:00 that night, I finally got to bed.  It was a very long but very good day.  Being with people you love and that accept you just the way you are is absolutely priceless and very relaxing and encouraging.  It had been 15 months since I had seen Becky and her family.  It had also been that long since I had taken an entire week off work, and I was more than ready for this vacation!

More about my birthday week in the next post...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Birthday week escape to CT

This will be let you know I am still alive and that I thoroughly enjoyed my pre-birthday celebration week with my dear friends in CT.  Here are two pics. I will recap my trip this weekend, but suffice it to say, it was wonderfully fun, and great to relax and be off work for a whole week!