September 29, 2012

Best Buddy's Birthday

Abby Lu's best buddy Michael turned 4 last week and he had a fun birthday party at the local splash pad. Said splash pad was dead at 5 PM on a Thursday in September, so it was all for us!

There were lots of little kids to enjoy the water and sand!

Abby Lu wore her new size 6 swimsuit! I had bought a couple size 6 suits on super clearance since we are going swimming lessons through the winter. I never imagined she would wear a size 6 before her 4th birthday! The size 5 fit her in girth, but not in length. It was cutting into her neck or shoulders.

Can you tell how much she LOVES Michael? She adores him and gets her feelings so hurt when he isn't interested in playing with a girl. I can only imagine this will get worse. We are constantly telling her that there are lots of kids to play with and that Michael's opinion of her is not the most important. Michael's Mom is always telling him to be nice and talk to Abby. We are both embarrassed :)

 Lots of Abby's favorite friends were at the party including Megan! 

Look at this sweet girl who will be 3 soon! She is a treat and I love seeing her in Abby's old swimsuit! We went from a size 2 to a size 6 in the span of 16 months!

Happy Birthday Michael! We love you, sometimes a little too much ;)

September 27, 2012

Merkel Trip: 20 Year Reunion

We went to Marcus' hometown of Merkel, Texas last weekend for his 20th high school reunion! It was a fun and quick trip. We drove straight into town in time for the homecoming parade running through downtown.

I learned while walking downtown that Merkel was originally named Windmill Town before a German settler came and renamed it after him. 

Overall, downtown is pretty sad these days. Lots of closed up shops and boarded windows. But, it also has brick lined streets, a cute little pharmacy, and a community that loves it. I would love to blink my eyes and go back in time 40 years when it was a popular place to be and see the old cars, well dressed women, and lively businesses in the town.

Back to the parade... Marcus didn't ride in his 20 year float and opted to see the parade from the curb with me. We honestly had to work to get a good spot! School was out early and the parents were all there with little families in purple and gold to cheer on their Badgers.

The parade had cheerleaders, football players, civic groups, fire trucks, horses and motorcycles. There was candy thrown, music played, and horses pooping. What more could a parade have?

Afterward, we drove by Marcus' childhood home. It hasn't changed much since his Mom moved out 4 months ago. It looks like the new tenants were busy clearing some brush. 

We had a few minutes to spare and stocked up on Texas Tech gear before changing clothes for dinner and the football game. The lovely staff at the Hilton Garden Inn snapped our photos for us!

I did some online searching and we had dinner at a cute little restaurant in downtown Abilene, The Beehive. It was so good! We were seriously impressed. We knew that the town had to have a couple of quality restaurants- it does have 3 colleges, 2 hospitals and an Air Force base. There is a population to support cute little restaurants. Our dessert- homemade smores! It was a house made brownie with a toasted marshmallow cream top, and graham cracker ice cream. Delish!

We arrived about 30 minutes into the football game. The scoreboard was out and we spent most of our time near the concession stand chatting with the Class of 1992. We did visit with a couple of people in the stands. I love a HS football game- it is the same where ever (in Texas at least!) you go. There is always a passionate Dad mad at the officials, little girls pretending to be cheerleaders, high schools kids at the game catching up  since they saw each other when school was out two hours earlier, and a drum line entertaining us all! 

I loved that Merkel is still small and conservative enough to have scripture on their football shirts. Love it!

After the game, we joined other alumni in the cafetorium for tea and cookies. We tried to hit up Dairy Queen afterward, but it was closed. It was after 11 PM in a small town after all!

September 26, 2012

Happy Birthday Kyleigh!

Happy Birthday Kyleigh!

We hope you have a wonderful day and a fantastic year!

Happy Birthday Michael

Happy birthday Michael Michael Motorcycle! We all love you, especially Abby Lu!

September 20, 2012

My Proudest Mommy Moment: A Swimming Update

 It has been a rough few weeks on the swimming front. We still have lessons every Thursday morning and hope to have a full fledged confident swimmer when the days get warm and the pools open up next summer. But, we hit a major roadblock about 6 weeks ago when Abby promoted to station 3. We have had tears, fought about going to swimming, and bravely discussed our fears over the last few weeks. As a parent you just don't know when to quit and when to make them push through.

This morning before swimming we had a major pep talk in the bleachers- I know you can do this Abby. You are brave and smart. Your teachers will not let you sink. You just have to remember to kick. Trust your coach, she is there to help you. I know you don't know how- just listen to your teachers. I said it all while hugging her sweet neck.

And then, they called for the 10 AM swimmers and Abby bravely walked to the pool. She ended up with a one-on-one lesson this week (thank you Lord!) and the best swim coach. They bring her in for kids struggling in one area. And, 10 minutes later, Abby did what she hasn't done in 6 weeks...

... she pushed off the edge, fell into the pool and started kicking! Her coach, the deck supervisor, and I all held our hands in the air with big smiles. After she swam across the pool, they lifted her in the air, twirled her around and gave lots of high fives. And then she proceeded to do it 10 more times like she knew exactly what she was doing!

She was scared to death to just let go and fall in. Aren't we all? She didn't know if anyone would catch her, if she would sink or she would swim. She wanted reassurance and had little faith in her abilities and the people around her. Isn't this so true of our relationship with God? I don't want to act unless I know what will happen. I need a safety net before I dive in to something new, like staying home with Abby. I know her fears, I face them, too. So, I have never been more proud than when she did it!

Once we had falling in behind us, we moved onto pushing off the wall on our back (think Olympic back strokers) and then floating. 

Let me tell you, she is a pro at this. She did it on the first try, no problem. Hooray for her accomplishing something she feared and then gaining confidence from being good at something in the span of 30 minutes!

They were amazed at how long she could float and I was amazed that she can be still :) 

 What an awesome morning at swim lessons we had! I'm so proud of myself for keeping her in swimming when she fought to go and so proud of Abby for being brave and accomplishing her next big swimming task! I don't know if swimming will be her thing, but being brave, learning new things, and overcoming fears will be important in whatever her "thing" is!

September 16, 2012

Kyleigh's Birthday Weekend in Dallas

Instead of an 11th birthday party, Kyleigh asked for an American Girl Doll. Tiffany planned a girls' weekend with Kyleigh's friend Kate and Abby Lu and I. We drove to Dallas on Saturday morning for the big birthday adventure!

These two 10 year old girls packed more clothes individually than Tiffany, Abby and I combined! They were so excited to change clothes and all the accessories to match! Kyleigh opened her gift from us first- a big pack of eye shadow, fun bright nail polish, and a pass to go to Nordstrom's for a new pair of TOMS.

I loved having my little girl there to share in the fun- she seemed so small compared to these tween girls! 

It is safe to say that 80's fashion is back :)

I was really nervous Abby would spoil the fun or I would blow the budget at the American Girl doll store. I was certain she would want a doll and I just can't spend $100 on a doll for a 3 year old. I had my plan ready, I discussed with her why we were here numerous times before we left. She was so engrossed in playing with the little displays that she didn't even want to look at the dolls. I was so proud that she listened and didn't throw a fit wanting a doll.

I most loved all the little doll accessories- glasses, retainers, sports uniforms, wheelchairs and casts, so much more. I love that you can get a doll that matches you. How great for a little girl!

I love this picture- they wanted to be big girls so badly with their sunglasses, fashion, Starbuck's drinks... but they were walking the mall with a doll! It was such a true illustration of these tween years.

 We stayed at The Westin Galleria at the mall/doll store. They have an American Girl package where the kids are given beds for their dolls to use at the hotel. How cute are these! Kate actually brought a doll she already owned for Abby to use all weekend. She was so sweet to think of Abby and let her have Julie for the trip. The beds are folded up as chairs in the picture.  

Saturday after dolls, we did a little shopping and had dinner at the mall. Sunday morning Abby and I got up first and went to the executive lounge for breakfast. We texted Daddy this picture of Abby having Starbucks. They put apple juice in her cup and she thought it was so cool she was having coffee :)

While the girls hung out in the room, Tiffany and I pushed Abby in the stoller and walked all three levels of the mall for exercise. We stopped off in the mall playground for Abby to exercise!

We opened the mall at 11 to shop a little more, grab a quick lunch and drive home in the rain the whole way! Ugh- I love rain, but not on a road trip!

Happy Birthday Kyleigh! I love you and loved spending the weekend with you!

September 10, 2012

First Day of Preschool

Today was the much anticipated back to school day in our house! I was pretty excited for the quiet time, but I'm sure Abby was more excited than me! She has talked about school for weeks!

She is attending a preschool this year as opposed to an MDO program last year. It is 5 days a week (we are only doing MWF) and has more curriculum packed into the 9-2 day. 

Her teacher, Ms. Lisa, told me she did awesome today and that she was so smart. Hooray! I knew she was smart, my joy is that she was comfortable enough to interact and share what she knows.

Sweet girl, I pray you have a wonderful year, make good choices, are a good listener and a good friend. I pray you always love school and that this year you really begin to see how good God is!

September 09, 2012

Saturday Fun with Friends

Saturday afternoon we celebrated our friend Grayson's birthday at Kiddie Acres, a local outdoor amusement park. Grayson's Daddy and Marcus have been friends since grade school.

Aren't his curls beautiful? He was so quiet and just took everything in. I finally got a smile while he played with his new birthday drill.

Abby loved all the rides at Kiddie Acres. It has been around for years and is small and could use a coat of paint, but it is always fun! Abby rode this airplane and talked the whole time. She asks to ride an airplane ALL THE TIME! We have told her she will take an airplane to Chicago next year (our next major vacation and her first). So, I think she rode around talking about Chicago the whole time!

If happiness is measured by time spent on a carousel, this girl is very happy! She rides the one at the mall almost weekly (Sunday post-nap activity with Daddy). She loves herself a carousel.

With a little parental pushing and a little bravery, she rode her first pony. The moment she got on, she looked the the attendant and loudly said, "Yee Haw!".

 We were all decked out in our Texas Tech gear. The game was just an hour south of us, but at $65/ticket is wasn't an option. So, we cheered from the North!

We did listen to the game at the home of our friends Ryan and Amanda. We had a wonderful time with dinner, the game, and great conversation! Amanda is an amazing and super healthy cook. We had organic grass fed burgers with carrots and beets inside, homemade guacamole, quinoa and black bean salad, and for dessert, chocolate cake with beets! They made it taste like cherry! 

I love days like yesterday- cool weather, parties with friends, and good football!

September 07, 2012

Labor Day 2012

When you live 2 hours from Sea World and have season passes, you take every opportunity to go! So, we went on Labor Day even though we had just been there 9 days earlier. We made a day trip this time and it made for a long day, but it was a fun day! A few cool things happened this trip...

I didn't ride Rio Loco so that I could get Abby and Marcus' picture! Abby is 43" tall (which is off the charts) and therefore was tall enough to ride the rapids. She loved it and getting soaked under the waterfall was funny!

I didn't realize that at certain times of day, the Sesame Street characters all gather on stage for pictures. Abby Cadabby was sick on Labor Day, but we loved getting a picture of everyone else all together. This picture is a scrapbook keeper!

The other major event- Abby rode her first ride solo. It made Helicopter Daddy very nervous and Abby very proud. She proclaimed the dolphin ride her favorite and rode it 3 or 4 times solo.

In case you were wondering, Sea World is not crowded at all on Labor Day! We didn't wait in line more than 10 minutes for anything, got great seats at the Shamu Show and had a table easily for lunch.

September 04, 2012

Promotion Sunday and AWANA

This past Sunday was promotion Sunday in our church. This means that Abby changed classes- on September 1 each year all of the kids move to a new class that matches their age or grade level in school.

Abby has had the same teachers since she was barely walking. They loved Abby's class that they promoted with them each year. But, this time around, she has a new room and a new teachers and she handled it like a champ! I was so proud of her! Her only real emotion came as a result of a couple of her friends struggling with the change. She was wondering if she should be sad with/for them.

This week is also the start of something new for her at church- AWANA! It is a program built to help young children learn more about God and His Son, Jesus. She will play Bible games, have story time, and start to learn important verses of the Bible. It is on Wednesday nights each week during the school year. I am certain she is going to love it!

We love you Miss Abby Lu!


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