We’ve entered the youth group stage

White Water BayI keep trying to find the right caption for this photo and failing. I think Maddie and Anna are the only two giving me a true representation of how they were feeling at that moment in time. Funny kids.

And in other news, we’ve officially entered the youth group stage, both in our family and in our church. Maddie and Chloe both have their own Frontier City/White Water Bay season passes and presto: I drop them off with the youth leaders and other kids and say, “Have a great time!” Makes for an easy gig for me, but makes my younger kids bitter. All in good time. We all have to live through the watching everyone else have fun and having to wait our turn stage, right? I took everyone else to the Science Museum, though, so it was a close second.

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A Beary Fun Birthday Party

Millie turned 9 last month. My baby. My youngest is NINE. *sniff* HOW did this happen? Time, you are but a tricky one. Speaking of time, somehow it slipped away from me because we had this awesome Build-A-Bear Birthday Party on October 6 and here it is, November already. I’m still scratching my head here.

At any rate, it was a BEARY fun party. And I took so many photos I’m a little overwhelmed at figuring out which ones to show here because I want to post all 246 of them, but that seems a little like overkill to me. You? So bear with me here while I choose the beary best of them (Okay, I’ll stop with the bear puns now).

We invited all the girls in Millie’s class plus a couple of girls from the other class. We were given a gift card that had enough in value to allow for 10 kids to have at it in the store. We were really trying to keep the head count to 10 so the girls could have the full experience. In the end, we had more girls than originally expected, but it turned out okay. We just lowered everyone’s budget by a few dollars and they were good to go.

It was actually a pretty good lesson in economics for these 3rd graders. I explained to them at the beginning how much they each had to spend and, like typical 8 and 9 year old girls, they each immediately went to the most expensive end of the bear section. When I told them at that point that it was fine if they chose that animal, but they needed to understand that doing so meant they wouldn’t be able to choose an outfit too, as a herd, they all rushed down to the least expensive end of the bear section. It was really pretty funny to watch that happen. They all made their selections and then we had the bear ceremony.

Then, of course, came the stuffing, the fluffing, and the dressing of everyone’s new friend:

The staff did a great job of making the girls feel welcome and Millie, in particular, extra special. She really hates having the spotlight on her, so she was embarrassed when they called out to the entire store that it was her birthday and they were going to sing. But it was good for her. *wink*

After the party we went out to the food court area where I had a party table set up. It was Sonic Happy Hour, so we got everyone a drink of her choice. I found these cute little drink tags at Target so we put each of the girls’ names on one with her drink order on the other. Two of my daughters took care of placing the orders while we were finishing up at Build-A-Bear Workshop. And we had a Groupon for Sara Sara Cupcakes, so we had awesome treats for the party!

It was a super fun party and a super great group of girls. And Millie felt extra special. Win-win all the way around!

Thanks, Build-A-Bear Workshop, for helping make Millie’s ninth birthday BEARY memorable!

I am one of Build-A-Bear Workshop’s 15 Friends in 2012 and receive occasional product and compensation in exchange for posting honest feedback on my blog.  All thoughts are and will continue to remain my own.

Intersecting Lives

Back when we met we had four different last names. Eagle Lake has a way of joining like-minded people together and sending them out to serve. There are so many people from our Navigator past who will remain in our hearts forever. There are just as many who came in for a season and left and I struggle to remember their names or which year they were at camp with us.

Kara and Jason could have been in that second category, but for the fact that we reconnected a few years ago on the internet. Kara has the most amazing way with words and has the ability to make you just want to sit at the feet of Jesus. It was during this period of cyber-reconnecting we discovered we were in seminary at the same time. Different seminaries, similar direction. And then this summer we found out that the Tippetts were headed to Colorado Springs to plant a PCA church on the west side of town. Y’all, I’m so excited for them in this venture. Part of me wishes they had done this back in 2000 and changed the course of our Colorado Springs church story, but I guess I shouldn’t wish away what God ordained to be ours.

We had dinner with the Tippetts and other long-time friends, the Stricklers, while we were in Colorado Springs recently. That night we found out Kara had been diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. I don’t pretend to know why God works the way He does. I don’t pretend that I don’t also wish this away from the Tippetts. I do. I wish it away with all my heart. I pray God would do a miracle in Kara and bring about health and restoration and long life and all that. I do.

And I’m asking you to pray with me for her in this. And above all else for the peace that passes all understanding to be hers and Jason’s and each of their four sweet kids from this time forth and forever.

Kara has started a new blog for this new season and her heart is so worth hearing. I wanted to share it with you. Read and be reminded to pray. Read and be blessed.

High Tea for the 11 and Under Set

Last week we enjoyed a high tea experience with a few other friends. We were getting together to discuss one the American Girl books about Samantha and decided to combine it with a tea party.

My 8yo and I made these using this Alton Brown scones recipe and they were darn good, if we do say so ourselves! And did I mention Devonshire cream? This was my first time to make it. If I’d realized how easy it was to make, then… oh, better to not have known, I guess. But watch out world (and waist lines) here we come! We served these with Lemon Curd too – oh man, where they good!

We made some super yummy cucumber tea sandwiches too.

And oh yes, what would a tea party be without TEA?

There was much tea drinking and giggling and talking and over-all tea partying to be had all around!

After our formal “high tea” we made our own stationery to write letters on.

I don’t know about you, but I think this was a definite hit. *grin*

The Middle of Vacation

I like to call this photo “Small Town Detention” because I snapped it near the ball fields of a, well, of a really small town earlier this week. It just cracked me up, so there you have it.

We’re currently in the middle of a two-week trip that isn’t exactly a “vacation” in the traditional sense, but is a ceasing of sorts, and thus a break. We’re in a small motel in the middle of Kansas, the kind with an outdoor pool and the kind of early 1980’s broken metal playground out front akin to what you might see on, say, Con Air.

We stopped for lunch in Kansas City to see our friend Ron and tour his awesome audio visual wonderland, aka: Harvest Productions. It was there I discovered two things: 1) I want my own warehouse and 2) Chloe is going to work there when she grows up. Maybe before.

Millie is still battling croup and we’re still drugging her up periodically, but she managed to avoid all walk-in clinics and emergency rooms for two days straight now. We’re hoping to make that three tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, we’re headed to our last big stop of our trip, Colorado Springs, where we will be for the duration of the trip. We’re really looking forward to seeing a lot of people, to visiting favorites from when we lived there, and just being for a few days.

And I’m totally in denial that school starts again in just 5 weeks or so. Wah. I need a break from our summer break. Sooo not ready. You?

Mouse a la Mode

I’m in a fun group of gals who get together once each month for “Mom’s Night Out” and once each month for field trips for our kids. Last Tuesday was the night out for us and we met at the lovely home of one of my friends.

She has a really long table and I was sitting at one end of it beside my friend, Susan. At one point during dinner, both Susan and I got up to go back to the kitchen. She walked off first and then I stood up. I happened to glance down on the floor and saw some food one of us had dropped so I bent over to pick it up to thow away.

Well, I picked it up alright, but it wasn’t food that one of us had dropped. No, ma’am. It was a mouse. A dead mouse. A dead, flat mouse. And he appeared to have cream on him, but I didn’t hang on to him long enough to find out for sure.

Seeing as how there were some 12 ladies at the table or so I managed not to scream, not exactly. Somehow, and to this day I’m not even sure I know how, I managed to bend back down and put Mr. Dead, Flat Mouse with a Possible Dollup of Cream, back on the floor and quietly announce that there was a dead mouse down there.

I then proceeded to the kitchen where I scrubbed my hands for what felt like decades under water as hot as I could make it. I then sat back down at the table (by this point my friend’s husband had been summoned to come escort the unwanted dinner guest OUT of there). I think I managed to sit down for 7 minutes or so before I popped back up to go scrub again. My friend came in and kindly asked if I would care for some bleach. I accepted her offer and proceeded to scrub yet one more time, this time with a chaser of straight bleach.

It seems only fitting, though. I have a dead cat story and now I have a dead mouse one to match it.

Yay for me.

Forever Friends

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Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, and the other gold.

Jenny moved in with us when she was 18. One week after she moved in Katie was born. She only lived in our home four months or so, but it was long enough for her to become family and family she will stay.

We don’t get to see her nearly enough, but you know the type of friend you just pick back up right where you left off? Jenny is that kind of friend to our family. We love her. We’re so glad she came to visit us this weekend and we’re sad she had to go back to Colorado.

Jenny, you are welcome back any time. And you don’t even have to do any dishes. Love you.

Quotes on Friendship

We finally finshed reading Charlotte's Web today. I say "finally" because we started it in August and then somewhere along the way we lost the book. I found it yesterday and made sure we finished it in a hurry so we could move on to the next one on the list that we should have read the first week of September, but I digress…

I have two favorite quotes from Charlotte's Web that I remember loving the first couple of times I read this book. They are worthy of sharing and so I wil.

Unless you've been under a literary rock, you probaby have a general idea of the story of Charlotte and Wilber. At the very end of the story, right before Charlotte informs Wilber she's about to die, they have this conversation:

    "Oh, Charlotte," he said. "To think that when I first met you I thought you were cruel and bloodthirsty!"

    When he recovered from his emotion, he spoke again.

    "Why did you do all this for me? he asked. "I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you."

    "You have been my friend, replied Charlotte. "That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what's a life anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this traping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that."

This speaks to me on a very deep level. In this age of keeping things even and people not being able to serve one another without exchange of like-service in return, I long for lasting friendships that say, "You know what? What is life? We live a little while and then we die. It's messy. It's complicated. And if I can do anything at all to easy the mess and complication in your life, even for a few hours, that's what I want to be about."

Amen?

Then there's the classic from the very last page:

"It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both."

*Love*

Do you have any favorite quotes on friendship?

 

 

 

Celebrity Sighting!

I have a bunch of stories to tell from our time in Colorado this past month, but one that I want to be sure to post tonight. I met a cyber-celebrity on my trip.

We had a great visit. And we had our photo taken together:

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Then we had our photo taken together again. This time you can see that really there are three of us in the photo:

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But enough of this keeping you in suspense. The cyber-celebrity of whom I am speaking is none other than the eloquent Gretchen of Lifenut fame. And I was able to meet not only her and her soon-to-be-born baby, she was kind enough to bring her entire entourage down to Colorado Springs for an interesting lunch meet-up at the Squeak Soda Shop. Here’s the whole Mopsy crew:

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My family tried to one-up them in the attention grabbing department by breaking one of the glass vials of flavoring the shop keeps accessible for customers to sniff, and thus choose, which soda they want to create. I smelled like Lemon-Lime Rickey for the rest of the day.

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Not to be outdone, the Mopsy family came back with a one-two punch by tossing an 8-ounce Lemonade Stand overboard.

We stood even on the number of times the mop had to be employed by a Squeak Soda Shop employee.

As a little aside, the Squeak Soda Shop does not charge extra for use of their mop, employee included.

Gretchen and the entire Lifenut crew, thanks for coming to Colorado Springs on a sunny day in July. I enjoyed meeting you (finally) and am confident that had we not moved away from Colorado five years ago, this meeting, and possibly more, would have taken place much sooner.

I’m looking forward to reading the news of your newest Mr. Baby.