Monday, October 20, 2014

Miscellaneous Monday

I sometimes have these random things I want to share that aren't really about my family per se, but are of interest.  Usually these go in my "five on friday" posts full of random favorites.  It has been awhile since I've done one of those and have a few things I want to share that are somewhat time limited.  Take a look!

1.  Scary Mommy Thanksgiving Project -- You probably know that food insecurity is one of our ongoing chairities.  We donate monthly to the OK Regional Food Bank, but do try to make an extra effort near the holidays.  This year, we sponsored a family through the Scary Mommy Thanksgiving Project.  They then sent me the background of the family we sponsored.  So heartbreaking, sweet, and I feel so blessed to be able to help.  I hope that some of you can join me or find a similar charity near you.  Yes $50 might be a stretch so give $5 and feed one person.

2. Week in the Life - I've been doing Week in the Life for several years. This is an annual memory keeping exercise with Ali Edwards.  For one week, we closely document the days of our life in all their ordinary every day nature.  This year it is Oct. 27-Nov. 2.  I think it will be extra fun to have it cover our week of Halloween as we're always very busy during this season. I will be using Ali's kit to make a physical book of our week in words and photos, but many people just play along by blogging it as we go.  I invite you to join me in either approach and I'll be sharing here too!

3. We love Pumpkinville at the Myriad Children's Garden.  It is so beautifully done and so very much fun.  I encourage you to check it out now through Oct. 31!  There will be more about our recent visit on the blog soon, but in the meantime, week days are a great time as it is a little less crowded.  They also have pumpkins for sale this year, which we happily took advantage of.

4. Storybook Village -  In other Halloween fun, we are thinking of trying out Arcadia Lake's Storybook Forrest this year.  Have any of you tried it/liked it? Let me know!

5.  30 Days of Thankful - Cathy Z has an annual 30 days of Thankful project to keep gratitude at the forefront of November.  I have sometimes participated and may again this year. Unlike Week in the Life and December Daily, I don't usually do the minibook, but do find different ways to keep daily gratitude in my family's days for November and hopefully make a habit of it.  My plan is just a Scrapbook page with 30 lines to list one thing every day and maybe a facing page with some images.  Who knows, I may just do a blog list or set of impressions, but I do hope to use this or something similar to keep our gratitude project going.  How do you focus on gratitude throughout the year and especially in November?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ten on Wednesday

1.  Hello from DC!  Yesterday was my big commute here, a bit of work, dinner with a friend, and then a run through one of my favorite cities. I love seeing the White House, Washington Monument, Corcoran, and 1/2 a dozen other amazing sights while only running 3 miles.  It is amazing and I miss it sometimes when jogging in circles in my neighborhood...
2.  Week in the life is coming up soon! I think it begins Oct. 26th.  In the meantime, I'm trying to remind myself to document daily ordinary moments more and this is one.  Note the mess, puzzls, costumes, jackets, etc.... This quickly devolved when E became pretty destructive with M's puzzling attempts, but cute for a moment.
3.  I love, love this image and this guy. I was watching the gymnastics world championships coverage on TV on Sunday.  He was (ostensibly) reading about Jellyfish.  One or more of those things made him very sleep. 
4.  This guy continues to have adventures while his siblings are in Sunday School.  He is growing more adventurous with the church grounds and explored/rock climbed in the "forest" just off the terrace where Brent and I have coffee.  He had quite a wonderful time!
5.  My "Project Home" appears to be returning.  I "may" finally rehang the gallery wall in the entry.  This weekend I took inventory of the frames I need, repainted 7 of them to work with the new wall color, and began locating updated pictures.  I plan to use quite a few updated images from Able & Kari's wedding when they are available, but may go ahead and hang up the frames while I have some momentum. I also (finally) think we may have a fix for our missing mailbox door.  I'll let you know if it works.
6.  Recently there have been several rainy days, but when it isn't raining M&E are enjoying short neighborhood walks and hiding in our neighbor's willow tree.

7.  B had his final game of the season last night (which I missed, sad).  Luckily, the Korenaks, Grandma, Grammie & Granddaddy, Daddy, M, & E were there for the fun. I hear he even got to briefly play third base.  Baseball was definitely a successful adventure and he is looking forward to trying it again in the spring.

8. We also had B's parent-teacher conference this week.  As expected, he is doing amazingly well and has handwriting problems.  So it goes.  Grammie & Granddaddy also visited him at school this week for Grandparents Book Lunch and bought MANY books for all the kids so everyone is feeling very happy and full of new adventures just now.

9.  M continues to do well with her on/off school cycle. I think the French is progressing and I hear her speaking it more and responding to things I ask more easily.  Yesterday, she spent the day with Aunt Audra, Zane, and Ro having Science Museum, craft, and other fun adventure.  I hear it was a grand success and there may have been some confusion about if M & Zane are twins :)

10.  Mr. E had kind of a rough week in spots.  He was a little sick going in to last weekend and we were forced to snuggle for hours :)  He is feeling better and having a few more little fits of late.  These mostly revolve around his desire to have a costume on at all times and my occasionally taking them off for things like school, church, playing in sand, dinner, etc... I know, I'm so mean.  I think I'm vaguely better at taking these in stride than I was when B was at this age, btu know there is more to come.

I'm excited for a great few more days in DC and then home for ballet, birthdays, pumpkin fun, and lots more Halloween celebrations.  Thanks again to all the many hands, hearts, and helpers who assist our family while I am gone.  We love you and appreciate you so much!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Ten on Tuesday

 1.  So there were no flowergirls or bridesmaids at Able & Kari's wedding, but M REALLY wanted to be a flower girl.  She and Grandma arranged for her to sprinkle some beautiful blossoms in the church before the ceremony.  She repeated that for us later on the front walk.
 2.  First attempt at Halloween costumes.  I'll be fascinated to see if these actually make it to the big day.  E's may just fall apart as it is of questionable quality.  M changes her mind constantly, but as the actual costume was free from Aunt Audra, we'll be OK.
 3.  On Thursday, I picked up Zane and Ro from childcare and took them to B's little league game.  In case you were wondering, five kids is a lot more than three.  Brent met us immediately, which helped.  However, with my kids I pretty much let them run, Brent, Bill, Marilyn, (insert whomever else is there), and I sort of track them and watch them run by.  With Zane and Ro that system didn't work.  Ro was too little and Zane gets hurt a lot (slash all four kids get in to arguments or hurt).  Anyway, it all worked out, but was quite an exciting adventure. Glad we could help with the Korenaks day though as they so often help with ours.
 4.  Grammie and Granddaddy came to Grandparents' Day at MDO.  M gave her annual tour and loved it.  E had a hard time letting them go at the end. (This is pretty much my exact description of Grandparents' Day last year....)
 5.  Other current trends - E refuses to not have on his costume at every moment possible.  Also, E and Ro suddenly are chums and get along/hang out much more than they hit each other.  We're all considering it that a big win!

6.  On Sunday, we went to the first of this year's OKC Philharmonic "Discovery Series" of concerts for kids.   I think they did an awesome job.  There was plenty of familiar music, characters making appearances, singing, dancing, and 45 minutes total.  M is VERY excited about wearing her Elsa costume to the Knights and Princesses themed concert in February.  We saw lots of our favorite cool kids too including Ashtyn, Kyle, Alescia, Faith, Vincent, Patrick, Daniel, etc...
 7.  On Sunday, after Church, Sunday School, Concert, and some playing at Grammie & Granddaddy's (they watched E during the concert), pretty much everyone wanted to rest/nap.  M, however, did not.  She wanted to plant fall garden.  Of course I joined her.  She is so like her Great-Grandma Dotter sometimes.
 8.  It is still hot here.  Yesterday the kids ran in the sprinklers.  I was sick and sweating.  I'm ready for fall.

9.  The Blue Falcons played again last night. B did great fielding.  He played Left field and Center Left.  He also hit a single, but was sadly tagged out trying to steal third base.  Grandma, Granddaddy, Able & Kari joined us for the fun.  Kari gets a special shout-out for spending part of her birthday cheering on B!  Thanks Kari, and happy birthday!

10.  So I was sick.  When that happens things like laundry, buying food, and cleaning fall off the routine.  I'm trying to pull it back together, but also trying to get ready for my upcoming DC trip, and trying to finish getting well.  Thanks to Grandma for taking care of M for half the day today.  M loved the attention and I felt much better about all of it.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

AK Wedding Photos & Moments

Able Blakley (my brother) married Kari Koster on September 27, 2014 in Bison, OK.  It was truly wonderful, extremely exciting, delightfully intimate, and a fabulous party. 

This post is full of pictures of the event.  My sister have written most of the stories on their blogs. I'll highlight a few, but check theirs out as well for more tidbits. 

 Friday morning, I helped Kari make floral decorations for the reception, while the kids and Brent went to school.  We all headed north to help Grandma & Audra shortly after lunch.  I loved that lady M jumped right in and helped me make all the flower arrangements for the tables.  She is going to be quite the family matriarch someday and such a good hostess.  We all had lots of other tasks and corn shucking too.
Being a spice/farm family wedding there were plenty of elements of both. The grilled jamaican jerk chicken was probably my favorite item and something we would never have made just a few years ago.  I made huge pans of brownies for this event too and loved them.  I also love this picture of my brother as the light fell in the magic hour. 

 Look!  All five of us pulled together in one picture, mostly even looking at the camera! Brent & I, along with apparently everyone else, didn't sleep well, and were ready to be off on a grand celebratory adventure.
 Te people at my job are always curious about what our kids are wearing so here is the full length "kid pic."  They are all at least looking in the direction of the camera if not exactly smiling.
Prep time is different as the groom's sister.  I checked on him a lot (and Kari some too, but she had lots of friends and family with her).  Grant was the most amazing best man ever as we all knew he would be. Grant is the brother Able found for himself in life and I couldn't ask for a better one for him. 
 In one of the pages of my mom's recap she lists all the family music making that goes on with our crew.  It is a thing and I love it.  Here little Ro was helping observe the warm up/prelude music with some of the Shurtz girls.
 Too sweet.  One of the moments I almost cried.

 Why yes, this is another one. I  was sitting right behind them and just had to have this picture.  (Tears).

E, meanwhile, worked hard on the comic relief.  In addition to his normal adorableness, he doesn't really get the being quiet parts of church.  In the middle of some quiet prayer he announces -- "I like your hair buba." He proceeds to pet B's hair and talk about it.  Definite laughter moment. 
 There were concerns about how the Korenak boys would do thorugh Mass, but they rocked it (of course).
Beautiful Bride on her Daddy's arm.  SO sweet. 

Kari and Able chose to sit in a pew by themselves rather than standing or sitting at the front for all of the ceremony. They came up for salient parts, but it was a good compromise. 
 This picture.  Saying their vows.  Standing right where Brent and I stood, and right where Audra & Zach stood.  Love it.  I felt as things happened x3 that it was just as the stories say a little magical.  I think the repetition and shared experience binds us closer together into a unit.  I've always had that strong unit with my siblings and think this sealed us as six all the more. (I sound like my mother).
 Here is B rocking Uncle Able's hat during the coffee and doughnuts phase of the day.
 Here I am with "my people."  Tracie & Sarah are with me always, in all of life's big moments.  It is amazing. I am so very glad they were there.

Then we headed back to the farm, changed, packed, headed back to the city, dropped off my family at home, and headed to the reception to decorate.  That went well and strangely quickly so I had my hair done before coming back to change for the evening.
 B went to his first sleep over. I missed the drop off, which is probably best as I would have made it more dramatic than need be.  These two + a very sleep E came to the party.  M had an awesome time at the party, especially dancing with Daddy and her friend Molly (we have video!).
 She was also very excited about the impending slumber party at Grammie's (Note that M also upgraded her hair and accessories for the evening.  Love it).
 Here they are rocking on the dance floor!
 Kari is an amazing Aunt and our kids positively adore her.  I loved she and M saying goodbye-- so sweet and in the midst of a huge party, but plenty of time for the two of them.
Cake! and laughter, both good.

 First Dance as Husband & Wife.  Beautiful.  I don't have pictures, but the Mother/Son dance was pretty delightful too.  It was to Thank God I'm a Country boy.  It was full of silly exuberance and I think they both loved it.

Cute Cousin Hat pics!  At the end of the night, Brent and I drove the newlyweds to the Skirvin, took the presents home with us, and wandered very sleepily home. 

At 7:40am, my brother called, extremely perky, and wanting to pick up the presents.  They opened them in my driveway, in the back of the Ranchero, while waiting for Audra.  It seemed strangely perfect.  After this, there was some clean up, picking up B, Brunch at the Skirvin, and then picking up more kids, a baseball game, and very long family naps.

While we did that, the newlyweds flew off to their minimoon in Chicago.  It was a very wonderful weekend.  We love them both so very much.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ten on Wednesday

1.  I am trying diligently to just play with these cool kids in the morning even though my work life is very busy and there's a lot on our plate on the home front too.  They are amazingly fun to watch and I'm trying to just to that.  Just be with them, but not always succeeding.

2.  Our Sunday school experience continues.  So far, I think the doughnuts between Mass and Sunday School are the favorite (Obviously), but having M's buddy Ashtyn join her class was also a great treat.  They are learning the Guardian Angel prayer I learned as a kid.  Very much de ja vu.

3. This photo is from Lady M and my trip to the mall on Saturday while the boys were at baseball practice.  She got two new pairs of shoes.  One of which was black patent leather with a heel, which she wore to church and immediately declared uncomfortable..... We found another suit for B to try, which was ultimately too small, but did teach us that suits his size weren't really available at the mall (at least not for a price I was willing to pay).  I ordered two more from Amazon.  One fit and has since been hemmed.  The other is being sent back with free shipping (hooray). Believe it or not, Lady M is wearing a dress she already owned, which is surprising, but lovely.  This also means that with a few days to go before the wedding every member of my family has an outfit in mind, pants are hemmed, dress shoes and socks are here, and small boy shirts are ironed. I suspect my dress needs ironing, but we're very close.

4.  Speaking of wedding prep -- One of my tasks is making chex mix.  Batches 7 & 8 are in the oven.  I think I'll end up making 10 total, but how much chex mix really is the right amount for 200 people?  No clue.  Glad to help though.

5. I went to DC last week for trustee orientation and to give another presentation.  The trip went well and was much less intense than October's trip will be.  It was lovely to spend each evening with just one or two friends and talk with them and enjoy good meals.  The "at home" piece may have been slightly harder as Brent was sick and B got sick while I was away.  Luckily, our fabulous team pitched in throughout the week and it sounds like everyone had a great time.  Hooray!

6.  It is busy season for me.  Have I mentioned that?   (Why yes, every single September/October ever).  Every year I know it is coming.  Every year I somehow think our system is better and it won't be insane and I won't be up working every night.  Every year, I'm wrong.  The good news is that I know when Halloween arrives things will calm dramatically on the work front and hey, that's only a month away!  Sigh.

7.  B continues to love baseball.  While I was in DC, he scored his first two runs, stole 4 bases, and his team moved to winning 5-3 record.  Then they haven't played since.  Tomorrow they will have a game though and in theory a tournament this weekend, but I'm doubtful that he'll be able to play in that with all the other family adventures planned around the wedding on Saturday.

8.  E's new phrase is "no way." I'm doubtful that he knows what it means.  If you ask him, did you play with X at school today? He'll say "no way" but if you ask who did you play with at school today, he will also respond X.  I promise it really doesn't have to make sense.  He also went through 3.5 outfits today, which also doesn't make sense.  I still think he is awesome beyond reason.

9. I'm still exercising daily and past the 6 month mark.  I feel like I'm not exercising as intensely as I have at some points in this project, but am earnestly doing some exercise at least 30 minutes a day, every single day.  Which is good, right?

10.  We are all so excited for the wedding weekend. It has been 8 years since my sister got married and more than 13 since we got married.  It is exciting to do it all again and to watch my brother be so very happy with the love of his life.  We truly wish them an amazing marriage and great joy for the many years to come.

Happy thoughts to all of you.  I'll try to return next week, but we shall see how all my ball juggling is going at that point. 


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