Monday, April 29, 2013

A Papaw Break

Everyone was so excited to have Papaw come visit!  It was a quick three days, but filled with lots of fun.  He managed to come in between all the thunderstorms.  It was raining before he came and started raining again about 15 minutes after he left.  We couldn't have asked for better weather.
Before Papaw arrived, Lauren's class at school had an Open House for the parents to come see them in action.  We watched them have class, eat snacks, perform, and have competitions.  Check out the teacher's shoes :)
Here she is in her math class.  She was so excited to show us what she had learned.  She even got called on to go to the front of the room to answer a problem on the great big  abacus that they use for teaching.
She was concentrating so hard.
We went outside for the races and it cracked me up.  The parents panicked because the sun came out and they did not want their kids to get a tan.  The umbrellas came out so quickly!  Lauren and I enjoyed our sun until someone put us in the shade :)
Lauren and some of her classmates doing one of the dances for us.
They had all kinds of competitions.  Guess who came in first in the folding clothes competition?!  Lauren did great and she was all business!  The kids were chosen to compete in one of the many competitions that they had.  Some of the events included: getting you shoes and socks on, changing your clothes, folding clothes, cracking an egg and eating it, and maybe one more but I can't think of it right now.  Those are the ones that stand out to me.
When they have completed their task, they have to raise their hand high up in the air and the timekeeper behind them will stop the timer.  Lauren raised hers and would not put it down.
Here's one of our thunderstorms rolling in.  Literally in a matter of minutes the sky will be sunny and clear in all directions and then black and windy and the storm hits.  This is the time of year where we just have to carry an umbrella because you never know.
Papaw came bearing gifts!  Four new age appropriate devotionals for the kids.  We are all super excited to have new books!
We went to a park and they had some little carnival type games know the kind that is a waste of money.  The kids really wanted to try and shoot the BB gun.  So we paid for 10 bullets and the kids each got to shoot twice with Papaw teaching them how to aim.  Regan was the only one that popped a balloon.  No prizes, just fun.
Benjamin REALLY wanted to ride this motorcycle ride.  He was just barely tall enough.   I rode with him.  It was a fun little ride.  Benjamin had fun at first, but then terror. 
I couldn't believe that Jonathan actually captured it on film.  It was just the two of us on the ride so I told the lady to stop it.  She did and Benjamin said it made his tummy feel sick and he was white as a sheet.  To top it off, the bridge malfunctioned and they couldn't get us off the ride.  We just sat there.  They could tell how nervous he was, so they jumped on and pulled him out.  I had to wait.  I was hoping they would have to run it through the whole cycle to get it fixed and I would have to ride again. 
Since we stopped it early, we let him choose another ride.  He rode the swings with his sisters and everyone loved it.
 I was proud of this little girl.  She wanted to ride so badly, but she was not tall enough.  She just enjoyed watching her brother and sisters have fun.

 She got to ride the carousel with Papaw.  It's always a winner.
 We hiked a hill.
 Benjamin wanted his picture drawn by a guy on the sidewalk.  It turned into quite the show.
 I thought the guy did a pretty good job at capturing the "I'm not going to smile for you, but can't help it" look.  He has it up in his room. It didn't take the guy very long at all to draw.
 The other thing that happened is last week I started a reading program for the older kids.  I remember growing up that our schools would have prizes if you read so many books or Pizza Hut would give you a personal pan pizza.  Well, our kids don't have nay of those incentive programs, so I made my own.  The grand prize is an iPad for reading 1,000 books.  Talk about motivation!!  BOTH kids have been reading up a storm. 
 I am so proud of both of them already!  I had no idea that they would love reading so much ;)  but seriously, I think they are enjoying the reading more than they thought they would.
Regan has already reached her personal pan pizza and dessert milestone.  Great Job, Regan!
The last boy eating his very first Big Mac!  I didn't think he could do it, but he did.  Watch out, growing boy with big appetite on the loose :)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


After we got Mamaw off to the airport, we stayed in a retreat of sorts for 3 days.  It was a retreat for us, but not a real resort....just a place away.  It was still in the middle of the city, but this hotel tried to make you forget that.  The kids loved it (and we did too)!  They had this great playground and every few minutes Lauren would point to the sky to show me the airplanes.  We were near an airport and right next to an interstate, but we really did forget all of that while we were there.  They had game and music rooms and a mini theater where you could watch DVDs.  It was great.
They had this little zip line.  All the kids wanted to do it, but were too scared when they climbed onto the platform.  Katherine was the bravest and went first....Daddy running behind her just in case she let go :)  Regan and Benjamin ended up trying it, too, after they saw that their little sister had fun.
Katherine enjoyed catching tadpoles.  I guess this is where living in Asia has helped out....she has the squat and balance thing down.  I would have fallen in!
The kids all slept together on blow-up mattresses.  I thought it might not work, but they were so tired at the end of the day that they fell asleep very quickly.
Regan giving Lauren a ride or Lauren choking Regan....I'm not sure which one ;)
A group of friends invited us to go on a day trip with them.  We had a lot of fun, but I came back exhausted.
This absolutely cracked me up.  Over here they use the slang "WC" when talking about the bathroom.  It stands for the British English "water closet" So when I saw a sign that had a dog on it with the letters WC I thought it was funny and had to get a picture.  I didn't realize it at the time, but the dog was actually "using the facilities"  Too funny.
Here's our girl playing hide and seek.
We all went to see the church ruins.  We got ice cream as a treat.  Lauren was upset because it was getting on her hand.
Proof that I was there :)  Regan was the only one that would get a picture with me.  I guess because so many people had already taken their pictures....they were over it.  I have one of my kids with this man and his wife and they are all making the grumpiest faces you have ever seen, but the couple did not care.  They just wanted a picture.
Here is a snapshot of us just walking around.  PEOPLE, people, everywhere!  This might explain some of my tiredness when we got home. :)
The day after we got back, Katherine had a performance.  Her class sang a song in English. 

The kids decided to do a show at the house for us.  Glow-up Boy and Glow Girl saved the day by saving Princess Katherine from the villain Lauren.
We had a half day of sun, so took the opportunity to go out and snap of few shots of Lauren and Regan.  They were the only two in the mood for pictures.
Beautiful girls
Lauren took her blow-up ball outside to play.  So many of her pictures are action shots.
I loved this picture, too.  It reminded me of when Regan had portraits done when she was 2 years old.  She did this same thing.  Some of you might know what picture I am talking about.  If I can find a digital copy of it, I'll try to put them side by side!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Benjamin's 8th Birthday

This week we celebrated Benjamin's 8th birthday!  We took Benjamin out for some fun.  We got home and the girls wanted to go back out, but Benjamin was ready for some down time.  After about 30 minutes, he started getting ready for his party and wanted to have his picture made by his presents.  I thought he looked so handsome and matched the wrapping paper so well.
This was his Avengers cake!  He asked for a tier cake.  I had a lot of fun making the symbols for the cupcakes and coming up with a workable design for the cake.
Blowing out the candles!!
We had taken Benjamin to the place where he and Regan did some pottery because they had told them to come back on the 5th to finish it (paint/fire it), but the guy was on vacation.  Benjamin was a little bummed so we went to the arcade next door.  Because it was a holiday, they were having a special on the tokens.  The kids had a great time!  Regan even hit the jackpot on a game! 
Last week was very busy and we were waiting for Mamaw's flight to come in before we dyed the Easter eggs.  We intended to do it just before Easter, but did it the day after instead.  It was great to have Mamaw there to help out and join in the fun.  I love all the aprons on the kids/Jonathan.
That is one blue egg!
Just waiting for the colors to take....brown eggs have to sit a little longer for the colors to show up brightly.
We all went out and had a picture made by this tree.
The little girls had a class dance competition.  Regan came with me and climbed to the top of the playground to get this shot.  Lauren's class won!
So sweet to get some Lauren hugs.  If you haven't had one, they are the best!
 Mamaw came bearing gifts from her and Auntie Em.  I got these awesome cookie cutters!  I can't wait to try them out!
 Lauren dressing up in her beautiful necklaces :)
 Benjamin got to go to Burger King for his birth day!!!!!! 
 Lauren spent some of her birthday money at the mall.  We asked her what she wanted to buy and she said rain boots.  When we got to the mall, she fell in love with several little dresses.  She was actually able to get both and the little flower headband in her hair.  She is definitely all girl.
 Benjamin got a Captain America mask for his birthday.  I love how serious he was when putting it on!
 He also got this stuffed puppy.  He saw it a long time ago and wanted it soooo badly.  His dad was so sweet and snuck back to the store to buy it for his birthday only to look for awhile trying to find it because a certain unnamed little boy HID the animal hoping that no one would find it and buy it.  Needless to say he was so happy to get it.
 Out around town with Mamaw...
 Where ever we go draws a crowd.  I had gone into this store to look at a backpack and ALL the workers were preoccupied with my kids.  They all had phones and cameras and wanted picture after picture.  I actually did want to buy something in there and the guy was a little disappointed that he had to ring me up because he was missing out on the "fun"
 And just in case we didn't draw enough comes the foreigner in the bright orange Tennessee shirt RUNNING down the street, weaving in and out of people, carrying 2 little blond girls who couldn't stop laughing.  Love making memories!
 The Easter egg hut was a little late because it had been raining non stop for days.  We finally had a break in the weather and the kids hit eggs in our complex.  It was funny to listen to the people watching us from their balconies "What are they doing?" "Are those eggs?" "Do you think they are real?" "Oh, look they found one." etc
The kids all went after the same egg at one time.  I really don't know who got to it first, but by looking at this picture, I would guess Katherine.  This cracks me up.  Oh, speaking of things being cracked.  Laure hid one egg so well that it got stepped on and then found by a different kid.  It was demolished!  So, it was yet again a fun filled packed week and we were so glad that we could spend it with Mamaw!