Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Last Day of CC 2014-15

Last day of C.C. 2014-15. I snagged a picture of all the kids on stage practicing for the end of the year program singing John 1:1-7, in Latin and English. As you can see, the rest of the pictures are of our last science class for the year. It was sorting and graphing activity that included mean, mode, and median...and Skittles! What did we learn today? That science can be yummy! Fabulous year! We are looking forward to may more excellent years with this amazing C.C. family.

Last day of CC 2015

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Easter Morning 2015 (It is finished.)

This Easter we made a spontaneous decision to go to the lake. What a super decision it was indeed! We have never done Easter with Grandma and Grandpa before and it was so much fun. Instead of putting candy in the eggs this year, I switched it up and put in Legos. That’s right, I said Legos. I gave each child specific colors and then numbered their eggs 1-48. Each child was bought a Lego set and I broke it up and put all the Legos in the eggs. When they found all of their eggs, they were given their instructions so they could see which set they received. They LOVED it! Eden got Elves, Noah got Minecraft, and Hope got  Avengers. In their Easter baskets they received books as well as candy (in eggs), plus a new TY big eyed plush stuffed animal. Eden - Owl. Noah - Raccoon. Hope - Zebra. After the hunt we got ready and went to church. Upon arriving home we ate lunch and then the adults hid all the empty eggs in the yard. After all the eggs were found, the kids hid the eggs! Grandma, Mommy, and Daddy “got” to hunt for those eggs. It was a beautiful, fun, wonderful Easter celebrating our Risen Lord.

They are so cute when they are sleeping, aren’t they? If you are wondering why you see so many photos of Hope finding eggs, it’s because she moved the slowest. Eden was like a white tornado collecting her eggs. Noah wasn’t much slower, but occasionally he liked to help Hope find her eggs.

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Easter Day Two @ Murphy Lake

I’m not sure what prompted my mother to let Eden drive the car around the neighborhood, however, Eden was thrilled. Shockingly, she did a decent job. I have video of this adventure as I wanted footage in case we crashed, sorta like the black box. Everything goes at Grandma’s house. It’s not to hard to see why the kids like making memories here. Fishing is quite the rage here at Lake Murphy and there is nothing Grandpa would rather do than to take his Grandson fishing. They have a running competition that Grandpa is losing much to his delight. Noah caught five fish on this outing and was prancing around like a proud peacock. Grandpa caught zero. Both boys had a great time together out in the boat.

ML Easter Day Two 2015

Can you tell that fishing was popular? These little girls loved to cast and reel in. If you notice, in the middle picture, Eden is on one side and her bobber is on the other side! She can cast like a pro! Hope learned how to cast and she too was a natural. Both of them enjoyed the sport immensely. Noah caught the first fish and it was a beauty, thus kicking off the Lake Murphy Fishing Tournament with Grandpa. On the bottom right you see Eden running in grandma’s jacket. It was freakishly cold this weekend and we were woefully unprepared. We even had to go to Wal-Mart to get warmer Easter clothes!

ML Easter Day Two-2 2015

Eden caught her very first fish this weekend! Interestingly, she was casting and reeling in quickly in an attempt to NOT catch a fish. I watched her cast long and as soon as her bobber hit the water it went under. At first I thought it was caught on a log but I quickly discerned that she had a fish on the line! So did she. Initially she panicked and tried to hand her pole off to Grandma, but she was encouraged to reel it in herself, which she did. It was a sizeable fish for such a little pole and it was a bit of a fight to land this “monster” fish. Amazed and awed, she exclaimed, “It’s my very first time I ever caught my own fish.” Somehow I managed to get part of the catch on video. Eden was so cute. The awe instantly disappeared when the fish got close to her. Grandma released it for her, then everyone rejoiced.

Easter edens first fish 2015

Murphy Lake Fishing Tournament 2015

Ron – 1         Noah – 5 

ML Easter Fishing Tourney 2015

ML Easter Day Two-3 2015

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Easter Weekend Archery Range Kick-off

The Murphy Lake Archery Range, Dadeville, Alabama

By far the coolest range ever! There are several lanes, one has a moving target, they are lit at night, and it’s all pure awesome! Just recently they made this beautiful stone patio and fire pit, hung up lights, and purchased outdoor upright heaters. They have a Yeti cooler always stocked and my favorite touch is the golf cart parking places. This was so much fun!

ML Archery Easter 2015

To say the kids had a good time on this evening would be a gross understatement. Noah got to shoot his bow with Grandpa while Eden and Hope tagged along. However, once the girls found their “walking sticks” they were locked into mortal combat as you can see. Digging around in the sand, the girls made great art. Mommy and Daddy enjoyed sitting around the fire talking with friends and loved ones. A highlight of the evening was a small rabbit that hopped around for quite sometime out in the open, until the girls crept up a little to close. This was followed by s’mores, bonus! As the darkness fell, the warm glow from the fire and the camp lights was cheery and peaceful. None of us wanted to leave, but another big day lay ahead of us. Waving good-bye, the kids jumped in the golf cart with Grandpa and were ticked to beat Grandma and I home, since we drove the “lame” van.

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My favorite pictures of the night. I really love the expression on Grandpa’s face as he looks at Eden, which is why you see that photo twice. I needed a close up and a far away. Love my beautiful kids!

ML Archery Easter 2015-3

Easter Eggs

Let the egg coloring begin! This year we used “faux” eggs. These eggs are light, hollow and plastic. They floated in the colors and even though you had to hold them down they were still fun to wrangle around. We even had roller paints this year! They were the favorite tools of all the children.

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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Easter Dinner 2015: You want fries with that?

**NOTE** I am starting at the end of our Easter weekend because these were easy fun pages to throw together. More on our fabulous weekend is to follow!

Nothing says Easter dinner like McDonald’s. Here we are at the end of our amazing Easter weekend. We stopped at the halfway mark, on our journey back home, here at the Golden Arches. What prompted this informal photo shoot...I honestly can’t remember. However, these are some of my favorite pictures of the entire weekend. Doesn’t everyone look so happy in these pictures? Guess what? It is because we all ARE genuinely happy! Praise you Jesus for so many wonderful things, this euphoria included! The staff was so sweet, and even though some woman accidently spilled a super sized drink all over the floor in front of and on top of Eric’s shoes, a good time was had by all. Such a fun way to end this most delightful Easter weekend.

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Bridge Ceremony

Scout Law

A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.

This was Noah’s Bridge Ceremony where he walks over a bridge from being a Webelos/Cub Scout to a Boy Scout. This was held the Monday following his Blue and Gold banquet where he obtained his Arrow of Light award, Super Achiever Award, NOVA Award, and Supernova Award. It was held on the meeting night of the Scout troop he is joining. The Boy Scouts of that troop lead the ceremony and as the Webelos cross over the bridge one part of the Scout Law is being called out and explained. Noah was the last to cross the bridge and so Reverent was what was being read when he was walking over the bridge into Boy Scouts. Eric, Noah and I all thought that was pretty cool.

“A scout is reverent. A scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.”

After he crossed the bridge he received his new shoulder loops and neckerchief for his Boy Scout uniform. Officially, he is now a Boy Scout. We are extremely proud him and look forward to what his future in scouting holds.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Noah’s Blue and Gold Banquet


Noah is officially not a cub scout any more. Recently he participated in his Blue and Gold banquet that celebrates Webelos rising to Boy Scouts. Here is a recap of what happened.

The Arrow of Light award is the highest award available to Cub Scouts. It requires the Scout to have earned the Webelos Scout badge and eight activity badges. In addition to the skill and activity requirements of the preceding ranks, the Arrow of Light requires Scouts to learn the Scout Promise and Scout Law, and visit one meeting and one activity of a Boy Scout troop, in preparation for advancing to the Boy Scouts. Earning the Arrow of Light will help earn many of the requirements for the lower ranks of the Boy Scouts. The Arrow of Light award is the only Cub Scout award that can be worn on a Boy Scout uniform.

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Super Achiever Award

In Webelos the scout has the opportunity to earn up to 20 different activity pins, picking and choosing the ones that interest him. The Super Achiever award is for Webelos scouts that earn all 20 activity pins before their Arrow of Light ceremony. Noah was the only scout in his pack and in the district that earned this award. Working hard, Noah reached a lofty goal of all 20 pins. Certainly an accomplishment in which to be proud. Looking at his face, you can see that he indeed is proud.

Nova Award

The Boy Scouts of America's NOVA Awards program incorporates learning with cool activities and exposure to science, technology, engineering and mathematics for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturers. Counselors and mentors help bring this engaging, contemporary, and fun program to life for youth members. For their first Nova award, Scouts earn the distinctive Nova award patch. After that, a Scout can earn three more Nova awards, each one recognized with a separate pi (π) pin-on device that attaches to the patch. The patch and the three devices represent each of the four STEM topics—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The Cub Scout Nova awards are: Science Everywhere, Tech Talk, Swing!, and 1-2-3 Go! Noah earned all four! We could not be more proud of him, oh wait, we could.

Dr. Charles H. Townes Award

He also received the Dr. Charles H. Townes Supernova Award. The Supernova awards have more rigorous requirements than the Nova awards. The requirements and activities were designed to motivate youth and recognize more in-depth, advanced achievement in STEM-related activities. Noah is the only scout that we know of in the entire district that earned any of these awards!

Super Achiever

Part of the ceremony focused on a tale on how the Webelos came to adopt the colors blue and gold. It came from a native legend, which culminates in accepting the gold of the sun and the blue of the sky. Three boy scouts, shown below, dressed up and acted out this legend with the fake fire you see and some dry ice, it was pretty cool. The arrow you see below is actually and arrow that is hooked to a propane gas tank and fire emanates all along the shaft of the arrow. As the final part of the service the boys walk by the arrow and graze their hands along the fire, down the arrow. Obviously no one gets hurt, but many of the boys were extremely shy about doing this and kept their hands way above the flame. In fact, the only scout who touched the flames was the Boy Scout who demonstrated for the Webelos what to do. Grandpa was able to attend this event with us and he was so proud of you Noah! Sadly Grandma and Eden did not get to attend since that evening Eden got a fever so Grandma stayed home with her. There was wonderful food and deserts. The giant cake you see is not real, but the cupcakes are and they were yummy. It was a wonderful night all in all and we could not be more proud of all that you worked so hard to achieve this year, Noah. We can’t wait to see what amazing things you will do in Boy Scouts.

Blue and Gold banquet random

Thursday, April 2, 2015

More psycho-babble? Yes, please!

EMDR Therapy, we are big fans.

Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing.

Take it all in. Wait for it. What the? Yeah. We thought the same thing too at first, but having experienced the amazing results with two children, we are believers in EMDR.  What is it though?! Below is a link to a website I found helpful in describing what this is in terms most everyone can understand. I have cut and pasted some of the definition below the link, so you can get some idea of what we are doing.

EMDR Defined

“EMDR is a form of therapy that integrates some new and unique techniques with many elements of traditional psychotherapies. In many forms of psychotherapy, clients are encouraged to explore past experiences which were distressing or even traumatic, with the goal of understanding how these experiences have affected them in the past in order to change how the experiences affect them in the future. In EMDR, the way the client works through or “reprocesses” earlier memories is unique, and from our experience, remarkably fast and powerful.

To understand how EMDR works, an analogy might be helpful. One of the brain’s main functions is to make sense of or “digest” our experiences, in a similar way that our stomach and intestines digest our food. Our digestive systems takes out nutrients from our food that our bodies need and then eliminates what we don’t need. In a similar fashion, the brain will take out what we need to understand or learn from our experience and then eliminate the rest – meaning we will discard or eliminate experiences that are not helpful to us. When an event or experience is particularly emotionally charged or traumatic, that event can be like a large piece of food stuck in our throats – it is too big to get down to the digestive tract. Psychologically, a similar thing happens with emotionally charged events, they are too large to be digested psychologically, and so they tend to remain “stuck” in our minds. EMDR is very helpful in getting charged experiences “unstuck” and ready for processing or being made sense of. EMDR also helps our minds understand old experiences in new ways, even if we did not believe that these old events were particularly emotionally charged.”

This form of therapy uses bilateral stimulation to help process the “stuck” memories and I believe this is what has made the difference. Here is more info from the website.

“The client receives bilateral stimulation of some kind while they process distressing material. Bilateral stimulation is providing some kind of sensory input (sounds, touch, vision) that is given in such a way so that the information goes to the two sides of the brain in an alternating sequence. This may sound complicated, but is really as simple as wearing headphones and hearing a sound alternate between the left and right ears; or having a hand buzzer vibrate in the right hand and then next in the left hand and so forth. While not entirely clear why, it appears that this bilateral stimulation is an important component of the procedure. There are several hypotheses about the mechanism by which bilateral brain stimulation is helpful. One hypothesis is that by stimulating the right and left hemispheres of the brain in sequence, this encourages the two hemispheres of the brain to more actively communicate with each other and so produces a more integrated experience. A second hypothesis for why the bilateral stimulation is effective is that the bilateral stimulation promotes a sense of dual awareness – of keeping the mind in the present moment while at the same time it goes somewhere else. This may reduce the distress associated with what is being processed, as well as help the mind remain open to processing the material in new and different ways.”

If you aren’t rolling your eyes and are still with me, let me just say that currently we are seeing amazing results in Hope with this therapy. Our goal is to alleviate the tremendous amount of anxiety she carries with her daily. Most of which centers around her “Gotcha Day” memory. May 14, 2012 was the day we met Hope. Since that day every 14th of the month hijacks her. Actually, a few days leading up to it and after, are extremely difficult for her. It is bizarre how this date has been haunting her month after month, coming up on almost 3 years now. With Hope’s improved speech we decided to try to take her to  Ms. Michelle, an EMDR therapist, to see if we could get Hope some relief from the anxiety that plagues her. In just 4 sessions we have seen a dramatic drop in Hope’s anxiety level. Praise you Jesus! Guardedly optimistic is how I can best describe our feelings about what is happening with our sweet girl. It seems almost too incredible to believe. We are thankful for each day that she reports, “A tiny bit anxious, and 100% happy!” Day by day sweet Jesus until you return.


P.S. When I selected this photo for this blog I didn’t realize that it was actually taken at Ms. Michelle’s office. Hope, by the way, LOVES  Ms. Michelle.  Constantly she is asking me if we can go see Ms. Michelle. Thank you Jesus, for this wonderful woman, who loves children and works so beautifully with them.

Remaining Birthday Pictures!!!

Ta-Da! The rest of the birthday pictures!

Here are some pre and post photos. I am every woman as I make your cupcakes on a knee scooter. You loved the licking the beaters. After the party you ate another cupcake and decided to share a kiss with me, I also got to enjoy your cupcake. Last, we are posing with your latest weapon. What a great day!

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The Birthday Girl- From LAST June (Nice.)

Yep. Almost a year later here is Hope’s 4th Birthday. She’ll be 5 in June.These are just of the party. I have some pre-party shots that I thought should go separately. Who knows when those will show up. No one hold their breath please.

Yaya celebrated her 4th Birthday, on June 29, 2014. Again this year we chose a pool party and all our guests had a wonderful time. Yaya is an amazing little girl and has such a sweet spirit. Avengers was her theme…no one was shocked. Again it was an intimate party and it was super.

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