Thursday, June 14, 2012

Kentucky 2012

A couple of weeks ago, we made a trip that I have been looking forward to for the last two years.  We FINALLY all went up to Kentucky for a family reunion.  Dane and Aidan went two years ago, I was last there four years ago, and Brandon has not been since before we were married.  And of course the girls had never been.  I was very much looking forward to all of us going together, and as usual, it was worth every second of the long car trip.

We headed out on Thursday morning, and made it to Little Rock with plenty of time to swim in the hotel pool (always a highlight of any road trip for my kids).  My mom met us in Little Rock, and my dad, Lindy, Andy, and baby Nora flew to Little Rock late Thursday night.  Friday morning we all loaded up, girls in one car, boys in the other, and headed up to Sikeston, Missouri (not really on the way, but kind of close) because we cannot go to Kentucky without first stopping at Boomland.

Which, in addition to fireworks, now offers home decor.  Of course.  That's the real reason we come to Boomland.  The home decor.

Not the row after row of fireworks...
We may or may not have bought enough fireworks to get a free hat.

Pictures of my four kids all look the same after a while.  Emerson smiling sweetly at the camera, Aidan refusing to look at me, Harper horizontal.
We arrived in western Kentucky Friday evening, and I spent the next couple of days with my beloved extended family, but only took pictures of people I see all the time.  Of course.  Why I have almost no pictures of my Kentucky people, but 80 pictures of baby Nora doing cute things, I will never know.
Friday nights at Kentucky reunion are fish-fry in the barn nights.  The kids play in the pool and the adults catch up, and towards the end of the evening, Fireworks Round 1 commence.

I don't know how many times I have eaten fried fish in a barn in Kentucky in my lifetime, but that Friday night I looked up to seen several hams hanging from the barn ceiling, curing.  I've never mentioned this on the blog before, but one of my favorite foods in the world is really good country ham.  Not regular ham.  COUNTRY ham, the saltier the better.  My uncle* Walter Lee and aunt* Jane surprised me with my own little sample of their country ham the next night, which I gleefully enjoyed in my kitchen a couple of days later.  You know it's good when it's so salty it doesn't really need to be refrigerated :)

Aidan with his cousin Walter*.

I don't think they're making a bomb in this picture with various parts of different fireworks.  And I promise we feed Aidan.  Every day, in fact.  He's just a skinny little dude with shoulders that poke out and ribs that you can count.

We had pulled the boys out of school for that Thursday and Friday, causing Dane to miss the day at school when all the kids who clocked a sub-7 minute mile would race against each other for the Magic Mile Race.  Dane's best mile was 6:59 this past year, and he was pretty bummed about missing the Magic Mile.

He got over it pretty quick when he saw where he would run his Magic Mile:

And he had a (slightly slower) running buddy:

(Sidenote: Teeth are falling out constantly at our house now.  Dane is currently missing both of his top teeth, and Aidan lost his first lower tooth last week.)
Some corn runners are less graceful than others...
Someday Aidan will get all four of his long limbs coordinated and will be a beast of an athlete.  Until then, I will take lots of pictures like this that make me so happy.

Saturday evenings at Kentucky reunion are always dinner at Aunt* Juanita's house.  Some of my most favorite times have been spent in and around Aunt Juanita's house, with people that I have NO PICTURES OF.  You'll just have to trust me on this one.

The kids kept entertained on the new swing set and taking endless rides on the golf cart.

Baby Nora wanted to drive.

There were lots and lots of "Fourth Generation-ers" this year.  Not sure how they're actually related to each other (5th cousins, maybe?), but they had a blast!  Emerson latched onto a couple of these 4th gen-ers...

and spent the evening excitedly telling me, "Mom, she's my COUSIN!"  She was beside herself with all the excitement of meeting so many family members all in one place.

Like Francie and baby Lydia,
and her cousin Zelda (That's right.  ZELDA.  Because my family is AWESOME.) and her daddy The Baby Whisperer.
No Kentucky reunion is complete for my crew without a few of these things:

1.  Pyromania.  This was the bonfire when we got to the house Saturday evening.  It was as tall as my 6'2" husband.  Brandon put on his invisible firefighter hat and spent a few minutes hosing off the surrounding grass,

then a few hours later we were attacking the fire with the leaf blower for roasting Smores...

while Brandon, Andy, and a bunch of 4th Gen-ers were burning through more Boomland goodies.

2.  Getting beat at backyard football by your girl cousins.

Girl COUSINS.  Plural.  This gives me hope that perhaps some of Dane's athleticism did come from my side of the family, after all.  
3.  Food.  And lots of it.  Actually there was a strawberry cake that didn't even make it till after dinner, because so many of us snuck into the laundry room for "just a tiny piece".  This girl found herself a princess chair to enjoy her chicken from.

4.  First Generation-ers.  Like GG.

5.  Making my dad take pictures of us outside by the corn.

My beautiful seester and her family (did I mention that Lindy is pregnant again?  Due in September.  Baby Nora will be a big sister at 14 months!)
And my little family.  I think this is the first picture of all six of us since Christmas 2010.  Our kids are bigger now.

We had a wonderful WONDERFUL time in Kentucky this year.  And if any of my family has pictures of people other than the people I see all the time, please send them my way!  Hopefully we will get up there again before 2016.

*I use the term "aunt", "uncle" and "cousin" very loosely.  Basically these are generational distinctions.  My "Uncle" Walter Lee is actually my father's cousin's husband.

*Aidan's "cousin" Walter is actually my dad's cousin's grandson.  No idea how he's related to Aidan.  5th cousins?  4th cousins?

*Aunt Juanita= GG's sister.  Aunt Juanita had 6 kids, who then went on to have a million babies, who are in the process of multiplying as we speak.  Hence the abundance of 4th Gen-ers.  I hope you are getting all of this.  There will be a quiz later.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Happy Birthday Emerson!

Dear Emerson,

The day you have been asking me about for the last couple of months has finally arrived!  You had your big 5th birthday one week ago.  Every. Day.  You have been asking me "Is it my birthday today?"  and "When is my birthday?"  You were so excited when the day finally came.  Everyone we saw got a rousing "Hi!  Today is my birthday.  I am five.  I am going to kindergarten next year!"  You shared the exciting news with your daddy and me, and Dane, Aidan, Harper, your swim coach, and your teacher.  Mommy surprised your school class with cupcakes for lunch, and then we celebrated by going to a Hibachi grill that night for dinner.  
You tried a few bites of your beloved fried rice with the chopsticks before switching back to the fork.  You opened a few gifts at dinner:  a keyboard from your grandparents, a new Leapster game, new pajamas, sunglasses, socks, and a pony toy from your family.

The sweet waiter that you charmed brought you an ice cream treat after dinner...
...before we went home for birthday cake!  You blew the candles wearing your new sunglasses.
Some Five-year old Emerson Factoids:

You love Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and everything Disney princess.
You love to play with Harper, and you play pretend (teacher/teacher, mommy/baby, sister/puppy, etc.) all day long.  You could play dress-up and boss your sister around forever if I let you.
You're still a great (but SLOW) eater.  You're not too picky, but it takes you twice as long to eat as the rest of the kids take.
You're in speech therapy for the time being, and you've speech has been improving quickly!  We're still working on details like possessives, past tense verbs, and putting all of the "little words" in sentences.  Overall, you're making great progress, and I'm confident that you will do great in kindergarten this year.
You love being on swim team with Dane and Aidan.  You are still in the "non-swimmers" group, and your favorite part about swim practice is talking to your friends and your coaches.  :)  Bit of a social butterfly.
You are still as bossy as ever.  This year for your birthday party, you requested to go to a movie with two of your friends.  Since NO KID MOVIES were playing early last week during your actual birthday, we are taking you and your friends to see Madagascar 3 later this week.
Happy birthday, my sweet Emerson!  We love you so much and are so honored to get to celebrate this birthday with you!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Hibachi: Mixed Reviews

Friday, June 8, 2012

Thor and the Flower Girl

Some weekends are relaxing.  

Very ho-hum.

The kind of weekend where you don't get out of your pajamas until 1pm on Saturday, and watch college football all day with pizza.

And other weekends are like last weekend (and the weekend before that, for that matter).  

What did we do last weekend?  Enough that it's taken me a full 5 days to recover from it and blog about it.  Thursday-Sunday last weekend found us at one rehearsal dinner, one wedding, one swim meet, one baby shower, one birthday party, and two graduation parties.  In short, a lot of cake to muster up the willpower to NOT eat.
Emerson was privileged to precede her beloved Miss Kylie The Babysitter down the aisle Friday night.

With a fresh mani-pedi (thank you for including her, Miss Kylie!) and her sassy new boots.  Because clearly this girl needs more sass.

The wedding went off without a hitch, and the flower girl stood on her penny on the ground for the whole ceremony.

High five, Emerson!

And look!  I was there, too.  Please excuse the very bright cell phone flash.
Emmy was excited to discover that she got to eat a giant plate of mashed potatoes at the reception.
And pixie sticks (fed to her by Daddy) from the "candy bar".  Thank you, dear husband, for feeding the (already very excited and energetic) little girl flavored sugar at 10pm.
The fun didn't stop there.  Saturday afternoon (after the swim meet and the baby shower), I ran home to find this guy and the kids loaded up in the van to leave for the birthday party:
Thor God of Thunder riding shotgun in the minivan.  Eat your heart out, ladies.

There's a perfectly good explanation for Brandon transforming (very convincingly, I might add) into Thor for our Saturday evening.
A sweet family at our church has a little boy who is obsessed with Thor and All Things Avengers.  Sweet Little Boy had a super-fun birthday party, and Thor's presence was requested.  Truth be told, we had a blast, and a certain someone was pretty excited about getting to wear his costume again...
And he thinks it's pretty cool to have his own action figure...
Our weekend wrapped up on Sunday with church, two more parties, and no additional superhero costumes :)

Up next:  A sneak peek at Emerson's birthday dinner.