Thursday, June 20, 2013

Better Late Than Never (:

Abby likes to believe that her birthday should be celebrated for a whole week, so she definitely wasn't disappointed when she received a few birthday gifts a little bit late.  Who can resist getting excited about seeing packages sitting on the porch when you get home from somewhere?
 Thank you, Aunt Becca, Uncle Neil and Nolan!
This is so adorable and looks perfect in Abby's bedroom!

Thank you, Grandma and Grandpa Grief!
Abby has been wearing these bracelets everyday!

Happy Father's Day!

I was a Father's Day failure this year.  With all the chaos of getting Ben picked up from his trip to California, getting ready to go out of town, trying to be prepared for Abby's 13th birthday, softball practices and games, lessons...I failed to prepare for Father's Day.  There really aren't any good excuses and I felt terrible all day long for not having a plan and gifts.

I know...Father's Day isn't about big plans and gifts, but I didn't do anything.  No breakfast in bed.  No gifts.  Nothing.

Jon didn't really care.  He isn't into those kinds of things anyway.  All he wanted was a relaxing day with his family.  I could do that!

Lunch (dinner) was a cinch!  We ended up having Abby's birthday dinner that we didn't have the day before.  Jon is always game for Mexican!  You can't go wrong with carnitas!  They are our favorite!!

While we were sitting at the table, I was (again) apologizing for not being prepared for Father's Day, and I reminded Luke that he had made a gift for Daddy.  He jumped out of his chair and ran.  I tried to stop him, telling him that I had his gift.  He kept telling me, "Hang on!"  Lo and behold, he ran back into the kitchen with a card.  Since Luke was attending Parent's Day Out at school, his amazing teacher made Father's Day gifts and cards with the kids.  Luke was so happy and excited to give his gift!

The weather was gorgeous, so Jon thought it would be fun to go to the lake.  Perfect!

Abby had a plan. (:

Abby couldn't wait to get to the sand and write her Father's Day message.  I love it!

Once we left the lake (due to the fact that it looked like it was going to rain.) we took the scenic route home.  The kids didn't love it, but I love Oklahoma.   The scenery here is just gorgeous!

This piece of scenery...not so gorgeous!  Cool, but not cool at all!  We, actually,  saw TWO of these buggers while we were driving!  YIKES!  I am not a fan!

All in all, I think Jon had a nice Father's Day.  I still feel terrible that I wasn't prepared, but I reassured him that just because I didn't have anything special planned didn't mean that I loved him any less.  I love him very, very much and am thankful for the father that he is to our children!  

Happy Father's Day, Jon!  You are a great dad!  I am so thankful for you and for all that you do for our family!  I love you!!!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My Baby Girl Is Officially A Teenager!

Can it be?  How is it possible that Abby is officially a teenager?  I hate to always say the old cliches, "Where has the time gone?" or "Time flies!", but is the only thing that comes to mind when I think about Abby turning 13.

Needless to say, Abby was very excited about her birthday. She started emailing birthday lists to us months before her birthday. She wanted to make sure we knew what she wanted for her birthday.  That, and she loves email!

As soon as she woke up in the morning, she asked to open presents.  Ummm...I wasn't quite ready...  (I was working on the birthday cake!)  She didn't like having to wait.

One of Abby's birthday wishes was to go to Frank & Lola's for lunch.  Her birthday wish is our command!  Can't turn that one down! 

(Disregard the crummy pictures.  I took them with my iPod in a room with strange light.)
One of Abby's birthday wishes was to go to Frank & Lola's for lunch.  Her birthday wish is our command!  Can't turn that one down!  While we waited for an available table, I asked Abby to let me take a picture of the two of us. This is what I came away with.  That stinker!

She finally, reluctantly, let Jon take a picture of her with her delicious birthday lunch.

It was finally time to open presents! 

I don't think she was disappointed when she opened her presents!  Well...except for the fact that the thing she wanted most was a Facebook account.  I just couldn't convince dear old Dad.  Yes, she was disappointed about that...

Time for cake!
Yep, we skipped dinner.  We ate a big lunch late in the day, that Abby's wasn't even hungry for the birthday dinner she requested.    However, there's always room for birthday cake and ice cream!

Abby's request for her cake was chocolate cake with chocolate frosting with coconut, but she wanted sprinkles like Luke's cake had.  This is what I like to call "the best of both worlds."  (:  She was very pleased with how it turned out!

"Happy  Birthday To You!"

Pure delicious-ness!!

I got another one of those texts, again, asking if we would like two tickets to the OK Mozart concert on Saturday night.  And, like I said before, you just can't turn them down.  Especially the grand finale concert! I would go to every concert if I could.  This time, I thought Abby would enjoy going to the concert with either me or Jon for her birthday.
YAY!! I got to go!

This concert did not disappoint!  It was...awesome!  I am so thankful Abby and I were able to go together on such a special day!

All day, I continued to hear things like this:

"I really thought I would get a Facebook for my birthday."

"It's not fair that Ben got Facebook for his 13th birthday, but I don't."

"Ben ruined it for me to get Facebook."

It is safe to say that Abby was genuinely disappointed.  I felt terrible!  I am positive that Jon didn't feel nearly as bad as I did.  However, I may have guilted him into one last gift for Abby to open after  we got home from the concert.

Abby finally got her very own Facebook account and she couldn't be happier about it!

I couldn't resist posting these pictures of Abby and Luke.  Look how precious they are!  Sadly, Luke doesn't treat Abby very well.  I don't know why and it makes me sad.  Abby loves Luke to pieces!  She is so sweet to him.  Well, I don't know if it was because it was her birthday or he was feeling especially nice that day, but when Abby asked Luke to take a picture with her, he was very cooperative.  He made Abby a very happy girl!  They are so adorable!

Abigail, I hope you had a very special day for your 13th birthday!  I honestly can't believe that you are officially a teenager.  You will always be my baby girl. I am so proud of the young lady you are.  It makes me so proud to walk into your room and see the Bible verses all over your wall.  Remember how much Jesus loves you and he made you perfectly!  You are growing so much in your clarinet playing.  Keep up the hard work and you will do amazing things with that instrument.  I love you so much, Baby Girl!  Welcome to your teenage years!

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Psalm 139:14

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

OK Mozart ~ Woolaroc Concert

OK Mozart week is one of my favorite weeks of the year.  I love that my community supports and promotes the arts.  I have never lived anywhere that offered so much.  During OK Mozart week, you can see as much as you want to see and many of the events are free and open to the public.

This year, I was so disappointed when I discovered that we were going to be out of town for the first half of the week.  I was just glad to know that we would be back in town in time to go to the Woolaroc concert.  What was even better was that by Ben and Abby participating in the OK Mozart Master Class earlier in the week, they each received two free tickets to this amazing concert.  Score!

One of my favorite things about this concert is deciding what to make for our picnic dinner.  (For this concert, you come really early, bring your dinner and hang out.)  This year we had a super yummy Italian sub, Caesar salad, chips and dip, strawberries and brownies.  YUM!  I am a firm believer that everything tastes better when you get to eat it outside!  (:

 Ben's friend, Mario, found us.  Maybe I should have had him take the picture...

This concert was amazing!  The music in the first half was movie tunes by John Williams: Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, The Terminal.  For the second half we heard a lot of patriotic music.  It was spectacular!  

I am already looking forward to next year!

Monday, June 17, 2013

My Softball Sweetie

I love that Abby loves softball!

I don't always love softball season, only because of the extreme weather.  Maybe extreme is a harsh word.  The thing is, softball starts when it is cold outside, and ends when it is blazing hot.  Thankfully, this year was very mild and enjoyable.  I, actually, looked forward to going to Abby's games.  I love watching her play.  (Selfishly, I also love the excuse of sitting for an hour and a half!)

 This is where we have spent a lot of our summer evenings.

I love to watch my girl play!  This girl can hit the ball!

In the past, I have also dreaded taking Luke to Abby's softball games.  He would be all over the place and not very cooperative.  This year, it has been great!  Luke really looks forward to going to Abby's games.  He asks almost every morning if Abby has a game that night.   He is often disappointed when I say, "no".

My social little guy always finds a friend or group of friends to play with and is sad when the game is over and we have to leave.

Abby's team had a great season!  They won 7 games and only lost 2!  They were a great group of girls and awesome coaches!

Of course, they are silly girls!

Abby wasn't very happy with me at this point.  I told her coach that it was her birthday and the team sang happy birthday to her. (:  (We also found out that #8's, who became one of Abby's very good friends, birthday was the same week!)

Like I said in an earlier post, we decided that since Abby was scheduled to take snacks so close to her birthday, that we would make them birthday treats.  Abby requested softball cupcakes.  Perfect!  I think they turned out pretty cute.  The girls were all super impressed!

That's my girl!  Isn't she adorable?! I am so proud of her!

Abby's rec games are over, but school softball is only just beginning!


The moment we got home from Indiana, our "vacation" was over.  We hit the ground running.  

The very next day Luke was due to start his summer session at school.  (I'm not the meanest mother ever, it's one day a week of pure fun!)  That meant that I had to go to the store to make sure I had something to pack for a lunch for him.

Both, Ben and Abby were signed up for the OK Mozart Master Class.  Thankfully they didn't have to be there until the afternoon!

The next day, Abby had a softball game, but not just that, she was on the schedule to take the snacks.Since it was two days before her birthday and the last home game, we thought it would be fun to take birthday treats.  If you know me at all, you know that I love making treats.  I just can't bring myself to go the store-bought route.  Not that that's bad, I just don't do it.

On the way to the a fore-mentioned softball game, I got a text from a dear, sweet friend asking if we would like tickets to that night's OK Mozart concert.  Having been out of town, we hadn't been able to attend any of the week's concerts thus far.  AND... One doesn't turn down tickets to an OK Mozart concert!  Sooo...after the softball game, we made a dash for the Community Center!  Phew!

The summer chaos isn't due to stop any time soon.

I will stop rambling.  I didn't mean to go into detail.  It was just a crazy week.  This whole summer has been pretty nuts.

Ok...moving on...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Family Road Trip ~ Indiana Bound!

I, seriously, couldn't wait for this trip.  It had been almost two years since we had been to Indiana, Kris just moved into a new house and Alex graduated from high school.  Despite the 10 hour drive, I couldn't wait to go!

Of course, nothing we do can go smoothly.  We had the van in the shop to get something fixed before hitting the road.  Wouldn't you wasn't ready in time.  Ugh!  We decided that we would just get a late start.  Who says we had to be on the road at 6:00am?  Ok.  I was ok with that.  Well, after talking to the guy at the car place, Jon found out that our van wouldn't be ready to be picked up until 1:30ish.  Seriously?!  Ok, that meant a serious change of plans.  I really didn't want to wait another whole day to leave.  I was dying to go!  The packing was all done and we were, literally, just sitting around waiting to leave. We talked about leaving after picking up the van and just driving halfway.  But then that would require paying for a hotel.  Bummer!  Oh yeah!  "Jon, do you have any hotel points we could use?"  "YES!"  Phew!  Jon's travels to the rescue!  He had just enough points for a hotel stay!  Sweet!!  Thank you, Lord!  On the road we go!

Stopping halfway was a great idea.  Breaking up the trip made 10 hours in the van not seem so bad. 

We finally made it to Indianapolis and were ready for the task of getting ready for Alex's graduation party.

 Everyone helped!  It is so true that "many hands make light work"!  Kris couldn't believe how fast everything was getting done.  I was just happy to finally be able to help.  The one thing I hate about living far away is that I am never around to help.  I was so happy!

 Ok, so maybe not everyone helped.  (:  The girls had to paint their nails for the party!  To be honest, I was couldn't be happier to see these three painting their nails together.  They don't get to see each other often enough. This is, totally, what they should be doing together!

 These kids had so much fun playing together!

It made my heart so happy to see them all playing together so nicely!
Aunt Kris was more than willing to take a break to snuggle with Luke as he woke up from his nap!

Grammy took the boys to her house for a sleepover.  Fun times!

One of the things that Ben was most excited about on this trip was to get Aunt Becca's old saxophone.  He couldn't wait to try it out.  It needs some serious work since it hasn't been played in 16 years, but he was excited, just the same!


It was so nice to see so many people that I hadn't seen in so long!  There were some people I hadn't seen in so long that they had never met Luke!  Crazy!  I hate that it takes a big event to see some people, but it makes the time together that much more meaningful.

I love this girl!  I can't believe she is done with high school!

After the "formal" graduation open house, family and close friends headed over to Kris and Scott's house for more visiting time.  Thank goodness for their amazing back yard!  So much fun for everyone!

Uncle Brian bought all of the boys Detroit Tigers shirts and had to have a picture of all of them.  Could these boys be any cuter???

Since we don't all get to be together very often, we (well, it might just be me...) hate to miss an opportunity to take lots of pictures.  The last time we did this was at Nolan's first birthday, so it was definitely time for some updated pictures!
It took a lot of tries to get some pictures that actually turned out good.  

Here are my favorites:

Beth, Kris's best friend since elementary school, and her son, Collin,  were so much fun to hang out with.  Some of the nicest people I have known!

I forced the cousins to get their pictures taken together too.  Seriously SO cute!  I love these kids!!  (We are missing Haley, or this would be all of the cousins.)

Silly pic (:

Grammy and my boys.

We went over to Grammy's house and played for a little bit. (:

The girlies :)

Taking advantage of snuggles!

Oh. My. Goodness!  I just love looking at all of these pictures!  I love my family SO much!  I hate living so far away!!

Abby liked to make sure we knew that it was her birthday week.  We decided to have a little surprise party for her since we were with family.

She was pretty surprised!

I can't believe that this girl is going to be a teenager in a few short days!

This is where we spent a lot of time for the week.  The perfect place to hang out!

I really wasn't ready to come back home!  I had so much fun all week long!  I was so happy to hang out with family.  I was thrilled with the way that all of the kids got along.  Even Luke was a pure gem!  He always had someone to play with.  Nobody ever complained that they were bored or that anybody was being mean.  It was just awesome!

I couldn't be more thankful for the time that I had to spend with family!  I hope it won't be too long until we can all be together again!