Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Teacher Gifts

Whew, I'm tired tonight! Stayed up too late watching the Olympics last night and then I had to be up bright and early to go to Lexington for a training today. On the bright side, we got out early and I had some time to shop and run a few errands this afternoon before I came home.

This is the last week of summer program, and the girls’ last day will be Thursday. I picked up some little gifts for the teachers today, and the girls and I put them together tonight. 

 Post-it notes, Kleenex, and a pen in a matching design

I intended to make some cute tags on the computer, but then I saw these cute little paisley cards. Since I’m totally stressed out trying to get ready for school to start and still adjusting to being a working mom, I decided to go with the pre-made cards.

I also picked up these cute little thank you cards for the girls and I to work on tomorrow night. We have lots of cards to send out to generous friends and family!

A quick stop at Kroger was also on the agenda this afternoon. Have you tried these? My friend L introduced me to these on one of our camping trips this summer and I am totally hooked on them. So quick and easy-just pop them in the microwave for a couple of minutes and voila-a yummy side dish! Here are the some of the favorites at our house:

 Penne and Vegetables in Alfredo Sauce
 Roasted Red Potatoes in Chive Butter Sauce
 Sweet Corn  
Rotini and Vegetables in Garlic Butter Sauce
Rotini and Broccoli in Cheese Sauce
 Broccoli in Cheese Sauce

And for an added bonus, they are on sale at Kroger this week for $1.88!

I've been all over the place with this post, haven't I? I guess I'll chalk it up to being tired and watching Team USA at the same time. I promise to be more coherent next time!

Have a great night!


Monday, July 30, 2012

Gettin' Our Irish On

This weekend was my annual family reunion in Tennessee. We meet at the Irish Picnic at St. Patrick’s Church in McEwen, Tennessee. This is a family tradition of ours for my whole life, and you can read more about the Irish Picnic here. My grandfather’s family were members of this parish, and he attended church there until he moved to Nashville. Several of my ancestors are buried in the church cemetery.
My mom and her brothers and sisters arrive early to set up tents and chairs under the shade trees in the church yard. The rest of the family arrives throughout the morning, bringing food and desserts. We all chip in on the barbecued pork (which is divine-there is nothing in the world that tastes like this barbecue) and just basically tailgate all afternoon. We bring cornhole and activities for the kids, and sit around under the trees and catch up on things. It was so much fun this year to bring the girls and introduce them to my family. They were a little overwhelmed-I have a very large family, and there were about 55 of us there this weekend. And that’s not even the whole family!

There is an area with games and prizes, so we spent a great deal of time there with the girls. One booth that has always been at the Irish Picnic is the doll booth. It is called the doll booth, but is should be called the Barbie booth because that is what you win! I remember spending countless minutes and dimes at the doll booth with my cousins when I was little. We would pick the ones that were our favorites, based on their outfits, of course. Then we would spend dimes playing the game until we finally won at least one doll. On Saturday, we took the girls there and played until they each had a doll of their own-one ended up with a High School Musical Barbie and one with a wedding Barbie. Of course now you spend dollars instead of dimes! Right before we were leaving, I tried again for the fun of it and ended up with a Snow White Barbie and a Cinderella Barbie for them. We also came home with a cake, a goldfish (I was really hoping that we DIDN’T win on that one!), Dora bracelets, and some other junk treasures. It was so much fun to take the girls around and play the exact games that I played when I was a little girl.

Of course, the best part of the weekend was getting to see my family and having the girls get to know them. They had already spent some time with my parents, so they were able to spend more time with them and meet a whole lot of other family members too. I received lots of supportive hugs from aunts, uncles, and cousins who were all thrilled to meet our girls.

(Above pictures were taken of the t-shirt I bought at the picnic. Top picture is the small logo on the front, bottom picture is the logo on the back. Cute, isn't it?)

Between our family and friends, Mr. P and I are truly blessed. Last week, our church friends hosted a “shower” for us and the girls. They called it a “welcome to our church” party, but it was basically a baby little girls' shower.  The girls received clothes, shoes, books, games, and gift cards.  It was such a thoughtful gesture, especially with back to school shopping just around the corner. We are so lucky to have so many wonderful people in our lives.

On another note, are you enjoying the Olympics as much as we are? I love cheering for Team USA, and the girls have really gotten into the spirit also. Mr. P is working late tonight, but the girls and I have been snuggled in watching the games tonight. The little one got sleepy, so I just put her to bed but the older one is holding out for the gymnastics. She’s looking a little sleepy-eyed too, so I’m not sure if she will make it or not…



Saturday, July 21, 2012

Joy and Sorrow

First of all, long time, no post!! I apologize for the long pause in posting but once you read a little further down, you’ll see that I had one, rather two, very good reasons for it!

For those of you who have been reading the very infrequent posts I’ve had this year, a few months ago I asked you all to pray for a very special but secret request in our house. Well, the request was for Mr. P and I as we went through the process of becoming a foster/adoption home. We completed the process through the spring, and we now have two little girls, ages 5 and 8 with us! It’s a long story of how we ended up deciding to do this and how we ended up with these two particular girls in our home, so that’s a post for another day.  But for now, we have been blessed with two beautiful little girls and we are enjoying every minute of it!

Obviously, our home life has completely changed for the better! Our quiet evenings have now been replaced by bathtime, storytime, and bedtime but it is wonderful.  Although Mr. P and I would eat dinner at the table, there is nothing like sitting at the table as a family and talking about the day.  Shopping is also much more fun when you are buying for little girls. I have to exercise a lot of self-control when I am shopping for them because I just want to buy them everything! Poor Mr. P-his world is now full of hairbows, Barbies, and pink but he is taking it in stride. I considered myself blessed and lucky to have him before, but seeing how good he is with the girls just fills my heart even more.

We know that we may have a long, difficult road ahead of us. It looks like this may be a long-term situation, but you never know so it may end up being short term. We just continue to pray and leave it in God’s hands. Our family and friends have a wonderful support group, and we have so many people that are praying for us. It was very sudden and unexpected when the girls came into our home, and so many of our friends offered clothes, toys, books, games, etc. in the first few days that we had them. We are truly blessed!

Unfortunately, in the midst of this joy we have also experienced great sorrow in the last few days. On Thursday night, our church burned down. We had just been out at church at a revival and as we were all leaving, we saw a storm coming our way. We were able to make it home just before the storm hit, and it was a terrible one-lightning, wind, hail, etc. Shortly after the storm, we got a phone call that the church was on fire. Mr. P went out there while I stayed home with the girls, and he didn’t get back home until after 1:00 a.m. The  state fire marshal is investigating it, but it looks like lightning struck the bell tower at the top of the church. Several people who live near the church have told us that they heard a simultaneous lightning and thunderclap with loud boom during the storm and it was shortly after that when someone saw flames coming from the roof.

The sanctuary was completely destroyed and the basement had about three feet of water in it. Once the firefighters got the fire out, Mr. P and some other men from the church were able to get into the basement and salvage a few items-the communion set, some pictures and trophies, and some of our VBS materials. (VBS is next week.) We spent all day yesterday working at the church and trying to get some things from the sanctuary. Amazingly, a large wooden cross at the front of the church did not burn at all and the silver cross at the top of the Christian flag pole was not damaged either. I believe it was God’s way of reminding us to have hope! We pulled out part of the altar and pulpit and some of the pews. I think they are also going to be able to save a few of the stained glass windows. 

My heart just aches for Mr. P and his family. His family was one of the ones to start the original church and his grandfather helped build the church building. Many of our friends grew up in the church with Mr. P, and they have attended since they were babies.  They have lost a huge part of their lives.

Here are a few pictures:

Although we are devastated by the loss, we are blessed with strong community support. Even though this is a very small community, there are several churches in the area and they have already come forward with tremendous support. We will rebuild and be even stronger!