Sunday, October 28, 2012

Wedding Weekend

Sometimes I need a weekend to recover from my weekend.  Or in this case, and entire week.  Last weekend, my family descended into my neck of the woods, to celebrate my cousin getting married in town.  Sheets were washed.  Babysitters were booked.  Groceries were bought.  We rehearsal-dinnered at Pappadeaux on Friday night (child-free steak dinner with family?  Yes, please!), then Saturday morning I FINALLY got to meet baby Parker.

And I didn't put her down until sometime after lunch on Sunday.  And then only because she had to leave to go back home.  I am so thankful that our siblings keep having cute babies for me to hold.  Saturday got underway with a requesite Cousin Picture at the park.

Some cousins were more excited about the picture than others.

And I'm slightly frightened that Aidan is now a "big cousin" and finds himself in charge of baby-wrangling.

How prolific are our families?  Harper has 6 cousins YOUNGER than her.

Lindy, Andy and the girls:

We played at the park for a few minutes after pictures, then I attempted to get a cute picture of just my four.

There's always one who wants to do exactly her own thing...

After pictures, we changed clothes and headed out to the snowcone stand before going to my aunt and uncle's house for munchies and chatting.  Yes, we stopped and got snowcones on the way becuase my precious stand closes on Halloween so we are seizing the day, so to speak.  Making every moment count, if you will.  Supporting our local snowcone economy.  And then we stopped by my aunt and uncle's house.  After several hours of the chatting and grazing, my aunt loaded me up with a bag of lefovers (including about 30 hot dogs and a gallon-size bag of rolls) we headed home to get cleaned up for the wedding, and left two unsuspecting babysitters with seven kids for the evening. 

The wedding iteself was beautiful, at one of those pretty outside-venue locations a mere 10 minutes from my house that I didn't even know existed.  Perfect weather, good music, baby-holding, giant trees with those twinkly lights, and good company made for a thoroughly enjoyable evening.  And Brandon wore a suit without us having to go to a funeral.  And look how pretty the six of us look all dressed up.
Please excuse my awkward jazz hands.  

GG, Brandy, and John...
Me and my cousin Gretchen...
Me and Brandon...

We may have run out of gas on the way home, nothing a cooperative babysitter with a garage-gas can can't handle.  :)

Sunday morning we eventually got ourselves out of the house in time to meet Pappy for donuts before church.  We celebrated Pappy's birthday by letting him buy us all donuts and then sticking him at the kids' table.

After church, the birthday celebration continued back at my house, with the girls blowing out candles on Pappy's half-eaten chocolate pie.

My brother and mom got the munchies and had to sample the chocolate pie before we got donuts.  Are you sensing a theme here?  Snowcones before munchies.  Pie before donuts.  My people are fans of eating sweets at inappropriate times.  We are not deterred if it happens to be someone else's birthday pie.  We WILL eat it before breakfast. 

Eventually everyone got in their cars and went back home on Sunday, and Brandon and I (okay, maybe just me) curled up on the couch and stared at a football game for a few minutes and (unsuccessfully) tried to not eat leftover chocolate birthday pie for dinner.  Congratulations, Josh and Meredith!  Thanks for getting married so I could see my family!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pretty Princess Tinkerbell Fairy

Some days it's hard being the littlest sister.  Last year, Harper watched longingly through a window every week as Emerson took her princess dance class, dressing up like Belle and Cinderella and dancing around to princess music in a class full of little pottytrained, 3-4 year old princesses.  It's really hard to be a two-year old on those days. 

Well.  After a couple of missed sessions, these past few weeks it was finally Harper's turn at the eagerly anticipated princess dance classes.  

With only three little girls in the class, it seemed the perfect introduction for miss Harper girl, who has been talking about princess dance class for approximately one year.  
And every week, she would get to prance around in a Tinkerbell costume. 

All sounds good in theory...

In reality?  She spent about 55 minutes a week wandering around a dance studio, picking at the paint on the walls, checking herself out in the mirror, and every now and then, busting out a pretty princess dance move.  
And then she would come home, dress up in dance clothes, and talk about how much she LOVED pretty-princess dance class, and showing us toe-taps and sashays and twirls.
Some point during week three I decided that her teacher was the most patient woman on earth.
We weren't able to make it to the much-anticipated dance recital this past Saturday (more on our weekend later), so we were treated to a little dress recital this past Wednesday during Harper's final turn as Tinkerbell.

Note to self:  Sure am glad I didn't kill a whole Saturday afternoon watching her do this.
Because the 'Hands Over Ears' move was not something they had rehearsed.
Neither was the 'Lift the Dress Up' move

Or the 'Eat the Foam Flower You're Supposed to be Standing On' move, which was my personal favorite.
Nonetheless, Harper LOVED her few short weeks as Beautiful Dancing Tinkerbell.  

We're just not telling her that she will have to wait a few more princesses before she may be ready for dance class again :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Guatemala, continued

(I'm still playing blog-catch up.  I just keep getting further behind!  Still blogging about a trip I took LAST MONTH to Guatemala...)
Our little traveling group was in Guatemala over the weekend, so on Saturday we played tourist for a little bit and traveled to Antigua to do a little shopping.  We stopped off at a lookout point to catch a view of the beautiful city. 

The volcano in the background is usually covered in clouds, but we caught a brief glimpse of the top.  
The volcano behind us in this picture near Antigua spewed ash and dust all over the place about a week before we went, but it was clear and beautiful on our Saturday.

We spent a few hours in Antigua, shopped for soccer jerseys, scarves, purses, and just supported the local economy in general.
On Sunday we checked out the local market in the morning, a three-story parking garage that on the weekends transforms into a market place selling everything from raw organ meats to lingerie.  Sort of an open-air Guatemalan Wal-Mart, if you will.
Sunday afternoon we loaded up and headed out to church, where I realized I have even less 'clap while singing' ability than I do when the songs are in English.  It's sad how little rhythm I have.  Sad.  

During "sermon time", our little group headed outside to help with the kids' lessons.  

For the past year, the kids at our church have been raising money to help build a shelter for the kids church here in Guatemala.  We enjoyed the "open air" portion of church while the storm clouds rolled in.  
This time of year it rains many afternoons here, and children's church frequently gets rained out.  

I'm sure one particular motorcycle owner will be very happy when the kids have their own building to color in.

Monday morning we packed up and headed on home, already counting the weeks till our next trip to visit our new friends in Guatemala!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

So I Went to Guatemala...

I'm not sure if I mentioned it here or not, but last month I had the opportunity, along with three other ladies from church, to go to Guatemala for a few days.  Our church has connections with a couple of missionaries in a village in Guatemala, who each run schools in a village.  Julie, Vicki, Gina, and I (and baby Julia)went to spend time encouraging these missionaries, and visiting the schools.  Our quilting ministry at church quilted 52 quilts for us to take and gift to the teachers and staff of these schools, as sort of a "thank you for all of the hard work you do everyday" sort of thing. 

Um, it was the funnest trip ever.  I mean, it was horribly hard and taxing and with great sacrifice I boarded that plane to Guatemala.  Not exactly.  I went on a four night trip with three good friends, where we spent time hugging children and eating and talking and shopping and talking and laughing and giving people presents and going to church and (hopefully) encouraging and eating and talking.  GREAT SACRIFICE.  Clearly I was born for mission trips. :)

Families at our church sponser about 100 children at one of the schools, contributing monthly towards the cost of tuition and supplies.  This is my little Alex that we sponser:

He's still talking about the huggy white lady.
And wondering what the heck this logo is on his new teddy bear.

One of the schools has a marching band consisting of 4th, 5th, and 6th graders, and wouldn't you know, it was picture day on the morning we visited.  
I had visions of my father and memories of many picture days, as I watched the staff assemble the kids in their bright and shiny uniforms.

I have no idea who this kid is, but I almost brought him home with me.  Seriously.  If for no other reason than to watch him squirt yogurt through that gap in his teeth.  

Never mind.  I don't know any kids who squirt yogurt through the gap in their teeth.

We brought with us pictures of kids from our church to pass out to the kids in Guatemala, and they LOVED them.  At one point, we turned around and the girls were swapping cards like trading cards.  It was pretty fun.
I desperately wish we had a copy of this poster on the wall to use in the ER to help us diagnose illnesses.
Excuse me, sir.  I see you are lying on a bed with a blanket over your lap.  You must have la hepatitis. 
Passing out the quilts to the hard working teachers and staff at the school was very rewarding.
The Sunday before we left, our church prayed over the quilts, and prayed for their recipients.

The boys LOVED their "guy quilts".  Some of the quilts were less flowery and girly, so we gave them to the guys, who promptly turned them into Super-hero capes.  Because some things transcend cultures.
This is Gina with Lori, who runs one of the schools we were visiting.  Gina first went on a mission trip with Lori in the early 1980s, and it was a sweet, sweet reunion for them.
At the second school we visited, we were escorted classroom-to-classroom, and had a chance to hug every single student at the school that day.

And again, we got to pass out quilts to all of the teachers and watch them swap with each other for their favorites :)
(I have a few more pictures from our trip, but it will have to wait till later.  I am tired of blogging tonight...)