Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Peach Pageants, Amazeum & 6 Birthdays!

Last week was the beginning of Peach Festival season in Johnson County! This year was extra busy for us because Noah was Little Mister and had some things to participate in for the end of his reign and Ryan asked to be in the Tiny Peach pageant. Monday night was Noah's Farewell Dinner. He could only bring 2 guests so Ryan got some special time with Meme while Nathan and I accompanied Noah at the dinner. Each member of the reigning royalty got to go on stage and give a speech. Noah marched up on stage, gave a great speech and then it happened...he did a mic drop! I was so shocked I literally laughed until I cried and so did Nathan. It was the perfect ending to his reign and the crowd loved it!

Tuesday night was pageant rehearsal night for both kids. Ryan was the only one in her age group to do it alone - she made it clear she did not want my help! I was actually very surprised with how well she did in practice! Noah had to show the boys running for Little Mister Johnson County this year how to walk on stage - he loved that job!

Finally, on Thursday it was pageant time! Noah got to sit in on the Little Mister interviews and did a great job! Ryan picked out a perfect pageant hair style and it turned out so beautiful! She enjoyed being fed a happy meal while getting her hair done :) I  must say, getting Noah pageant ready the last 2 years was a lot easier than getting Ryan ready! Just some hair gel and making sure his pants weren't on backwards was all we had to do with him! Ryan was still the only girl in her age group to go on stage alone. She smiled and waved and did so good! She did look back at me on the sides at each stop to make sure she wasn't going to fast, but she did amazing for her first pageant! She ended up winning crowd favorite and got a trophy and a crown - which thrilled her! She says she wants to do more pageants, but I am afraid if she didn't win something she would meltdown, so we will see before we move on to doing that.

Interviewing the Little Mister contestants :)

Noah did his farewell and passed out the trophy and sash to the new Little Mister Johnson County. He was sad but once we told him he could keep his sash and trophy he was ok with it :) Since the pageants last year were after the Peach Festival Noah and the other 2016 royalty did not get to ride in the parade, so they get to do that this year. So, he gets to put the sash on one more time and throw candy - which was his favorite part of all his duties anyway!

For Fun Friday this week we went and checked out the Amazeum with Meme and Paxton. I would best describe the Amazeum as a restaurant play place on steroids! It has so many different stations and things to do and the kids had the best time! We were able to get it all done in a few hours, but the kids really weren't ready to leave and begged to be able to go back again. That night for dinner, we celebrated 2 of the 6 people's birthdays we had to celebrate over the weekend. Nathan's cousins Zach and Justin had a family dinner at a local Mexican restaurant.

Saturday we had another birthday party, this time for 2 kids that used to go to daycare with Noah and Ryan. They are both in school now, but we love getting to see them still for birthday parties. Olivia and Kamden had a sports themed party at our local multi-purpose building and the kids loved running around and playing.

Sunday we all went to church and finally took Noah back to Sumo, he had been begging for months now :) Then a little shopping, then we had to head home to get ready for another double birthday party. My friend Alicia's kids Kadence and Davey had such a fun waterslide party! It was hot, but nice in the shade with a breeze and the kids were fine playing in the water.

Now this week is full of swimming and staying as cool as possible and Peach Festival activities - 4 mile race, turtle race, greased pig chase, Ryan's dance routine on the square, and the parade!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Swimming, Fireworks, Water Park & Races

A little recap of the last week of our summer. We celebrated Independence Day very low key this year. We pretty much just spent the day at home, grilled burgers and made stuffed jalapenos. Then we spent the evening swimming before heading to the community firework show. I have this weird thing about watching fireworks - it always makes me think about the last time I watched them and how different life is since then. So, as I sat there and watched Noah reach over and put his arm around Ryan and her take his hand as we watched them, I remember thinking that I really hope that is one thing that does not change next year!

On Fun Friday we were headed to Ft. Smith to a nature center, but got a last minute call from my dad that he was taking my brother's kids to the water park and wanted to know if we wanted to join them. I left it up to the kids and they voted water park! It was hot, but the shade was nice and the water was cool so it worked out good. This was the first year Noah was tall enough to ride the slides alone. He was nervous the first time, but then rode them constantly for an hour! Ryan loved the kids area and loved having her cousins there to play with her.

After swimming we all went golfing together as a family. The kids now have their own clubs and really seem to enjoy it. We golfed a few holes and then had dinner at the clubhouse. After that we went to my mom's house for a birthday party for my brother Jeremy. It was a long, fun, busy day and the kids fell asleep in 5 minutes :)

Saturday the kids got to spend some time with their Granny while I went to the races with Nathan. It had been a while since I was able to go and I had missed it. I love watching Nathan do what he loves, seeing our racing friends, watching the races and people watching - plus the drag burgers are great!

Sunday was a busy day, so busy that I didn't take a single picture. After church the kids and I went to my friend Amber's house to give her son a birthday present. My kids love their kids and they all played so well together - plus I love getting to have some girl time with Amber! From there we went to my brother's baby shower. His wife is expecting their 5th child, Bodhi. He will be here by the 21st if not before! The kids had so much fun playing with their cousins and it was nice visiting with family - and even more special that my sister Jayla and her husband Dan made the trip down for the shower. We ended our weekend with getting the kids in bed early so Nathan and I could watch a movie together - Hickok (don't waste your money!).

Now for a week full of Peach Festival Pageant! We have Noah's Farewell dinner, rehearsal for both Noah and Ryan, family dinner night, Noah crowning the new Little Mister and Ryan competing for Tiny Peach, then another Fun Friday!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

My Sister

Sometimes in life, you pray for something to happen for years and years and when you least expect it - there it is! Something like this recently happened to my family. The beginning of this story goes back almost 50 years ago. My mother gave up a baby girl for adoption in 1968. The circumstances were not the best for her to raise a child and she made the best decision she felt she could at the time and placed her with a family that could raise her and hoped she would have a good life.

Mom went on to go to law school, get married and raise 4 children, but not a day went by that she did not think about and wonder where her little girl was. In 2000, someone from my mom's childhood questioned Nathan about the baby and wanted to know if she ever found her. Nathan had no idea what she was talking about so he asked me. I also had no idea so I asked mom and she told me the story and that she has been trying to find her for several years and registered online with search companies and really hoped we could find her someday. I then also did my best to look for her with what little information we could find for years with no luck.

On June 20, 2017, me, mom and Deborah (our co-worker) were on our way to Ft. Smith to celebrate my birthday. Mom's phone rang and it was my cousin Eric. I listened to her talk to him and knew EXACTLY what she was talking about! My cousin registered his DNA online with 23 & Me. He was contacted by a woman because it showed them to be first cousins! He was unaware of my moms story so he asked his dad about it. He told him to contact my mom about it. She told Eric to please give her contact information to her if she was open to talking to her. We then got to Ft. Smith and got out of the car. I will always remember this moment - standing in the parking garage and mom got a picture of her on her phone and we looked at it together and both gasped - she was beautiful and the resemblance to us both was undeniable! It was such an emotional moment! About 10 minutes later mom was on the phone with her and I was creeping her Facebook account :)

Her name is Jayla and she lives in Tulsa - so close this whole time! She has been looking for us for many years too and ran into the same issues we did - lack of information, closed records, destroyed records, etc. I was so relieved that she was open to being a part of each others lives. You never know how situations are going to go and there can be very valid feelings either way on it, so I was so happy that she was so open and eager to be in contact with us.

July 3, 2017, is a new holiday for us. It is the day that mom, grandma and I got to meet my sister and her husband face to face! Thanks to technology we already knew a lot about each other and had got to talk on the phone some too, so that really helped with the nerves and made for such a comfortable and easy meeting. It seriously, to me, felt like catching up with an old friend that I hadn't seen in a while. It was fun comparing likes and dislikes, allergies, similarities and differences. Before we knew it, hours had passed and we had to go, but we were already planning our next visit and really hope my other siblings get to meet her soon too!

Me and my SISTER!

3 Generations!

Mom and her oldest Daughter!

I am so glad that Jayla came into our lives! It wasn't as fast as either of us wanted, but it was perfect in God's timing. Now we have the rest of our lives full of possibilities to make the best memories together. This has given me a big reminder that if I am faithful and never give up, God will not either.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Girls Night, Fun Friday & Pool Time!

Thursday night I had my first Girls Night dinner. A few of my volunteer friends already had dinner together on some Thursdays and invited me and another friend to join them this week. The food was amazing (Talen is a great cook) and the company was even better. It was really nice to just sit and talk, no kids needing attention or baths to give, and eat good food with friends.

For this weeks Fun Friday we had to make a last minute change, but it worked out good. It was supposed to rain most of the day so we needed an indoor activity. We decided to head to the Amazeum in Bentonville with my mother-in-law and nephew. Unfortunately, my nephew came down with a stomach bug and they were not going to be joining us. We really wanted to wait for them to go with us when we went to the Amazeum so we decided to head to Little Rock and check out the Xtreme Bugs exhibit at the Clinton Presidential Library. It was only going to be there a few more weeks and we didn't want to miss it. Our first stop was to All Aboard restaurant. I took the kids here over 3 years ago and Noah loved it, Ryan was just a baby. They both really enjoyed it this time. The whole restaurant is train themed and a train on a track near the ceiling actually delivers your food to your table - it is really cool!

The bug exhibit wasn't as large as what I was expecting, but the kids didn't seem to mind. There were 2 rooms of giant bugs with large signs of bug facts and a place to dig up bug skeletons. What really surprised me was how much the kids liked the actual library part of the building. We went to the Oval Office and through all the Clintons personal memorabilia and they really got into it. They were even asking when we could come back and visit again! Of course the escalators were the highlight of their day - it is the simple things :)

Ryan was not loving this giant tarantula :)

We ended our Fun Friday with dinner at Fat Dawgz, one of our favorites :)

Saturday was very lazy  - lots of playing with toys, watching movies and cleaning house. I even got to sit in my bed and watch a few episodes of Roseanne uninterrupted - it was so nice! Then we went over to the Country Club to swim and get some sun! I love that the kids are old enough to swim without me having to be in the water with them so I can lay out if I want to. After our swimming fun we had dinner with friends at Crosswoods - we love seeing Scooter, Melissa and "Nachelle"  (as Ryan calls her).

After church on Sunday the kids and I had a big lunch with family - I love that my family fills up an entire row at church now - it wasn't long ago it was just Nathan and I there. The kids and I then hit up the matinee to see Despicable Me 3 while Nathan golfed. Then I cooked spaghetti for dinner and attempted to make the green beans that Talen made at our girls dinner the other night - they were ok, but needed more seasoning - but, hey, I am learning ;)

"Pictures or it didn't happen" ;)
Now for a busy week of meeting a long lost family member (more on that later), celebrating Independence Day, possibly a float trip, dentist appointments, and a baby shower!