April Fool's Day is always a lot of fun around our house, though I
couldn't seem to "get" Brian this year! He was one step ahead of me
everytime – he missed the salted toothbrush, the taped water faucet,
the green milk. But I did get him with vaseline on the doorknob
and–the best–bubblewrap taped to his tire AT WORK (totally unexpected
:D) so that when he backed out it sounded like he had just run over a
ton of glass and he freaked out! He got me way more, though, with
rubberbanded kitchen sink sprayer (classic! how did I miss it?!),
changing my browser to several funny youtubes that are inside jokes,
changed my facebook profile pic. At work, we got our boss Gary GOOD by
wrapping everything in his office in tin foil. I mean, EVERYTHING.
and then just for good measure, we put his telephone in the ceiling, a
la "The Office".
The first weekend was beautiful! The weather was so pretty (it had been pretty bipolar through March) and it was the perfect day for "Spring into Nash Farm" – an annual event in Grapevine when they open up historic Nash Farm (in the middle of town a restored farmhouse and farm from the 1800's) and have all sorts of "olden days" things going on. Clara liked the petting farm most of all…
though at first she didn't know quite what to think:
before long she was petting away!
She kept saying "Oooooh!" and pointing
She got a perfect spot for watching the chickens…she was so fascinated by them!
One thing she has started doing is running towards us with a big hug when she sees us – talk about melting your mommy-heart!! Here she is coming for Brian. She has become so much more affectionate – giving so many hugs and kisses, though I don't think I could ever have too many!
We got the GREATEST treat later that day — a visit from Christi, Larr, Aidan and Sophie!! It was so fun to hang out with them and let the kids play.
Trying to get three wiggly preschoolers to all look and smile at the same time = IMPOSSIBLE (but way to go, Aidan!)
Clara the little hostess…"Hey, cuz, welcome to my crib"
Aunt Chris is so much fun!
Me with my sweet niece and the other littlest Rhea…
we took the kids to the Bass Pro Shop down the road and they loved the huge aquarium and all the animals!
they're such cute little buddies…
Guess who got sick…again?
After her hospitalization in December, they gave us a breathing treatment machine and medicine we could use at home, so for about 6 weeks we were giving her these a couple times a day. She liked it because she got to watch TV during the treatment. It got to the point where she would run to our room, point at her nose, point at the machine, then point at the TV. :P
Another pretty day we visited the Botanical Gardens in Grapevine. We played catch, looked at all the flowers, and went to the playground. What a gorgeous day to be outside!
Checking out the fish…
I wanted to take her picture in the azaleas, but she was NOT having it!
This is a tree that was alive when the Declaration of Independence was signed! Clara is appropriately amazed.
Cheese!! Our little 17 month old!
Brian got a Blackberry and he was soooo excited (and sooooooo obsessed) – here he is hiding it in his glove.
Someone just found the water fountain!
Easter brought the annual Easter Eggsperience. Prior to that were really moving Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services- it hit me all over again how tremendous the Father's love for us truly is. Then Saturday was the EE – and what great, great fun this is!!! It is an annual event that our children's ministry puts on, and I'm the director of. It was so neat to see my own daughter really begin to experience it this year. The most special part is an "Easter Path," and it is so powerful to see families walking through the Easter story together, talking and sharing. Clara's still a little young for that, but she will be there soon enough!
Easter Sunday was special because my parents came in that afternoon, Kristi and Eric came over, and we all went to service together that night. People shared stories about how "Jesus is alive!" So, so true!! Afterwards, we had dinner together and it was just nice to all be together. :) Clara hunted for eggs…with grapes inside them. Which, I might add, she was EXTREMELY excited about. Wonder how many years we'll be able to get away with that?!
Then…bluebonnet season came to this great stretch of Texas! More bluebonnet pics to come!
After all the craziness of Easter (those are a couple of LONG LONG work-weeks), we escaped to the lakehouse the following weekend, arriving Thursday night to maximize our relaxin' before heading back Saturday night! I can't believe these are the only pictures I took…I guess I was too busy not doing anything to get the camera out!
Clara and her Dadly love reading together
And the on Sunday…paybacks from April Fool's Day.
We celebrated my mom's birthday with dinner and then gifts, games and cake at our house. They were going to the Texas star party down at the McDonalad Observatory the next day, so we got her new hiking sticks!
Mimi wants a kiss, Clara wants the hiking stick…
the best gift of all!
Clara is ALWAYS trying to get into my make-up, and has even managed to a few times – the mascara and lipstick make quite the little mess. But those time pale in comparison to the morning she found a shaprie…right as we were leaving for work…and a meeting I had to be at on time…and she treated it like it was mascara….
Amazingly, none of it got on her dress! and sharpie comes off surprisingly well with baby wipes – it's like they KNOW!
Brian painted a piece of art for an organization in Paris that is trying to restore the old Grand movie theater. This is a really neat landmark in the historic downtown area that fell into major disrepair after they shut the theater down about 15 years ago. It holds lots of special memories for us and many people in Paris and Brian was so honored and excited to get to be a part of the project. They asked him to paint a painting of the Grand that would be auctioned at a party/fundraiser in June. Here he is working away (the painting is of the marquee)!
This was the first draft…he ended up completely starting over…
It was an art-filled week! We went to "Art in the Square" in Southlake's town center (Southlake is next to Grapevine and the town center is about 5 minutes from our house) and enjoyed the festival, checking out all the art and booths with Kristi, and then all went to Baja Mex for dinner and margaritas afterwards (our favorite mexican food in Grapevine!).
Clara likes to push her stroller…
Here Clara and Brian are rooting on the Rangers! They were doing so good and really making a run for first place!! It has been such an exciting season!
At the very end of April I went to the Orange Conference in Atlanta with several others from our children's ministry staff. We were gone for five days and I missed Brian and Clara so much! It was a FANTASTIC, inspiring, motivating conference, however, and I was so grateful I got to be there! "Orange" is what happens when you bring together the heart of the family (RED) and the light of the church (YELLOW) – you get ORANGE, a combined influence that makes a much greater impact on the life of a child than either of those two influences alone. Tons of great teaching for children's ministry and especially with how we can empower and build into families in order to leverage their time with their children. And lots of other great info along the way, too
The speaker that I got the most out of was Francis Chan. WHAT A TREAT to get to hear him live. He has a great and really strong message about "crazy love" –living that kind of love that Jesus lived and called us to, but that gets called "crazy" in our culture (especially Christian sub-culture) nowdays. He's done some really cool things with his church out in California and with his own family and life that have gotten him called a "radical" by many, though he is quick to point out that he is just living like Jesus said to live. pretty awesome.
we have fun together.
the last night we went out and did "atlanta" things – we went and ate at the Varsity, walked around centennial park (and prayed our car didn't get broken into), and saw the olympic torch from 1996.
We stayed with a former IBC volunteer (who had moved to Atlanta) that I had worked with to create our creative programming large group worship experience for preschoolers. I've missed him and his sweet family so much! They went above and beyond in "hosting" us and we were so blessed, while also very much enjoying getting to catch up with them!
My mom came in to help out with Clara while Brian was at work and we were very grateful! She said that when Clara would wake up in the morning she would point to my room and run in there and be so confused that I wasn't there…that made me feel so bad, but also so good! :)
Other highlights of April:
Meeting with my "mom group"–we meet every other Tuesday night and just talk for hours – sharing stories and encouraging each other. Sometimes we read from mommying-devotional books and talk about them. They've been such a great source of love and encouragement over the past 18 months and I don't think I've ever mentioned it on here :) It's definitely something I want to remember one day when I am reading back through our life recorded here, though I don't know how I could forget such an amazing group of Godly, compassionate, supportive women!
Brian played poker via videochat and WON! just wanted to include this as a "this is sooooo 21st century moment" – the guys were together (and oh how they love them some Texas Hold 'Em) and he couldn't go because Clara was sick, so they just set it up, showed him his cards on the camera and he played that way…amazing. If only we'd had the same set up for Vegas :P
In other gambling news…Brian won 3rd place in our dentist's college basketball pool! yes, you read that right…our dentist. He has a free pool every year just for fun with all of his patients. And Brian won 3rd place out of several hundred people – a $100 Best Buy Gift card! woohooo!! me…I got 139th, which I must say wasn't a big shocker. at least I get to enjoy in the spoils with him! :D
Clara makes this piggy face with huffing sound everytime she sees any animal, and especially when she sees any dogs. They could be live, pictures, or on TV. It is hilarious. She is becoming more and more independent – and WANTING to be independent. She is pretty good at feeding herself (don't think we'll be losing the bib anytime soon, but definitely an improvement), following simple instructions and walking, jumping, climbing, running. The run isn't very smooth but includes some sort of hop/skip and is just hilarious. One of her favorite things to do is try to put her clothes on by herself, but she is definitely NOT very good at that yet! But I love how determined she is and how she doesn't give up very easily. She eats pretty much anything now. She has oatmeal with raisins and a banana for breakfast everyday (she thinks the oatmeal is a treasure hunt for the raisins, actually) and usually a PBJ (whole wheat bread, natural peanut butter, and just fruit jelly make it not a dessert like most PBJ's ;)) with green beans or some other veggie and a fruit for lunch. dinner varies greatly but she never fails to eat a TON! She will out-eat kids 3 times her size — I can't imagine where she got that love of food from! ;) She loves to put my purse on, grab my keys, say &
quot;bye bye" and blow kisses and then head for the front door, and even pretend to put the keys in the door knob. She also loves to play "Bye Bye chase" where she acts like she is leaving and then runs around through the kitchen and playroom to "get you" from behind.
Happy April, on to Merry May…