Monday, July 28, 2008

Mission Accomplished!!!

Oh my goodness! What a weekend. My two sisters, Beth and Leah, and I threw my dad a surprise 70th birthday party. We also had help from my mom and my Aunt Sessie. It began months ago, with planning and invitations sent all over the country. We invited his closest friends and family, some of whom we hadn't seen in years. We invited his schoolmates as well as people he has met in recent years. We all were pretty sure he would end up finding out about the party because so many people were invited, but we were hoping and praying that we could pull it off. Here's how it went down.

We told Dad that Leah and her family were going to come visit for the weekend since they live relatively close and that we were going to celebrate my birthday and his birthday since Leah couldn't come last weekend and wouldn't be able to come for Dad's real birthday. So on Friday Leah and Jay came to town. However, unbeknownst to Dad, Beth and her boys also came to town. Chris (Leah's husband) was going to pick Steve (Beth's husband) up at the airport after work. Aunt Sessie picked Beth up at the airport and let her borrow her car to drive to Cornelia. Leah and Jay and Beth, Jake and Garrit came to our house Friday afternoon where we concocted this plan. Dad knew we were going to come over and have pizza for dinner Friday night. So, we decided to have the boys "deliver" the pizza. We went and picked it up. When I got to Mom and Dad's house, I told them the pizza delivery guy was right behind me and could Dad go help the pizza guy. Well, we all kind of hung around outside which was kind of weird, but Dad didn't pick up on it. Garrit got out of the car and walked toward Dad with his sunglasses on. He said, "I have your pizzas, sir." Dad said, "Great, you can just put them in there", not even recognizing Garrit. Leah said, "Doesn't he look familiar?" and Garrit took off his sunglasses. Then Dad saw Jake and Beth walking toward him. He was so surprised. After dinner, Dad and the boys went to the store for ice cream (of course). Chris and Steve arrived while he was gone. When Dad came back, Steve sat in the living room pretending to be reading the paper. Dad came in and looked around at all of us and realized it was Steve. He was blown away! He looked at us and said, "You guys! What's next? At my age you have to worry about my heart!" We thought, "Oh, if you only knew!" We told Dad later that night that we were going to have a family picture taken the next day since we were all together. He thought that was great. The plan had begun.

On Saturday, the guys took Dad to play golf (which wasn't very hard to do. Leah, Beth and I ran around like crazy trying to get everything in place and set up for the party. We got it done, but soon after it poured down raining. I mean, cats and dogs. We were a little worried, but I really prayed that God would move the storm away, that He knew why we were doing this for Dad, and He knew that we needed good weather. Well, God came through once again and the weather cleared up. We got there and visited with our sweet family and friends until 5:00 when Dad was getting there. Beth and I and our families went upstairs into The Lodge where we were supposedly getting our pictures made. Leah's family and Mom and Dad came and met us there. We had our pictures made and then the "photographers" my friends Jay and Kim, said, "Let's go take some pictures outside. It's really pretty out there." We said, "Great" and off we went. We led Dad down the stairs to the tent outside. He thought there was a wedding reception there, but when he heard "SURPRISE!" he knew that he had been had. He was just shocked. He has assured us many times that he knew nothing. Amazing!

The time together at the party was unlike any I have been to. It was such a sweet time of fun and fellowship. Dad got to hear people say things about him that most people would only say at someone's funeral. Most of Dad's friends and family got up and talked about the impact he has had on their lives. Tears and laughters filled the tent for more than an hour. It was truly special. Dad was overjoyed and overwhelmed. His thankfulness and awe made the whole night worthwhile. It was so wonderful to do something so neat for someone who does so much for others. I will always remember that night for as long as I live.

The rest of the weekend was just so neat spending time with our family. I am so blessed and amazed at God's goodness and grace. He used my Dad, a sinner to the nth degree to change the course of our whole family. What a testimony to the love of Jesus.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Aquarium trip! You won't believe it!

We went to the Georgia Aquarium today and from what we understood we helped make history! Apparently they had a record attendance today. Yes, the day we decided to finally go to the aquarium was the busiest in their history. The lady working there told us they had over 8,000 ticket reservations. Yes, that's eight THOUSAND! We about died when we saw the line to get in. Had we not already bought our tickets I believe we would have found something else to do in Atlanta. Every family reunion in Georgia was there today I think. And, to top it off, I left my memory card for my camera in the car. So, I had to buy a throw away camera and use it. I'm hoping that at least a couple of pics will be ok. Despite the crowds and the absurd amount of money it costs to get in the aquarium and actually eat there, we had a good time. It is a beautiful exhibit and Aubrey loved all the fish and sea creatures. We all had favorites of course. Mine was the Beluga whales - they are so cute and such hams. Aubrey's favorite was the alligator - I am raising him right! And D's favorite was the sea lions. Mallory was so cute pointing and making the cutest sounds about anything that moved. So, it was a fun day followed by a good dinner and dessert for my birthday (my favorite ice cream, White Turtle at Brusters!) I also got a little pink camera to keep in my purse, so maybe next time I go to the aquarium I will have a good camera with me! Thanks for all the sweet wishes and thoughts today. It has been great. I am so blessed by my 33 years. I'm praying for many more!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Camp Agape

This week we have been busy with Camp Agape. It is a camp that our church hosts each year for children who are being helped by DFACS. This is the 34th year of camp, which is so amazing to me. The kids come and spend the whole week at our church. Our youth are the counselors, and everyone pitches in to help with meals, laundry, etc. Each day they go on a different outing to somewhere locally for fun. We have joined them this week several times for the activities and meals. It is really neat to see the kids just be loved on for a week. Some of them really blossom during the week. It is a week they remember for their whole lives. This week we went to the library for a bug program with them then Aubrey got to stay for Field Day. He had a blast. He was one tired puppy that night. The picture above is him doing one of the relays with pantyhose on his head. I'm not really sure what the point of it was, but he was having fun. Yesterday we went to Unicoi State Park with the camp and had a great time. We enjoyed a great program on snakes (if there really is such a thing since I absolutely cannot stand snakes) and then we went on a hike. Let me just say that I am not a hiker, which was definitely evident yesterday. We really did have a good time though. After the hike, my friend Addie who is a Ranger at the park, took us "backstage" and showed us their baby possum, Ozzie. She just loves him and I can't believe I'm saying this, but he really is cute. I actually petted him. Aubrey just loved it. Addie is great at her job, and it was so fun seeing her in her element. All in all, a super tiring, great day.

On another note, only 43 days till the Gators first football game of the 2008 season! Can you tell I'm excited! I am going to try to post a countdown ticker so you can be reminded each time you visit. I'm sure there are games earlier in that week, but the one I care about is Florida v. Hawaii, August 30th at 12:30. So, just check in for more info as it gets closer!

Tomorrow is another milestone - I turn 33! We are planning on going to the GA Aquarium for a family day. I am excited. I have been wanting to go to the Aquarium for a while, so I will post pics later.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

One more for today!

Here's one more layout that I did for another challenge on the board. It was a challenge to use something you have a lot of that you rarely use. I chose eyelets. And now I don't know why I don't use them - it wasn't as bad as I remembered!

New stuff

Most of you know that I am into scrapbooking. Well, my confidence got a little boost last week when I made the cut for the design team for the site I couldn't believe I made the top 25. We have been having challenges the past week to see what we can do and stretch ourselves a little bit. Here are a couple of the things I did for the week. The first is a layout of where we are from. I focused on the statue downtown. The next is called an Artist Trading Card. They are basically mixed media cards that artists make and trade. I have never made one before, so this was new for me. Even if I don't make the design team (which I really hope I do so say a prayer) I have learned a lot about myself from this experience. Hope you enjoy!

Monday, July 7, 2008

What a weekend!

This weekend we went to the Higgins lake house. The whole clan was there. We went up on Thursday and had a whole weekend of water fun, good food and laughing! Aubrey especially loves the lake, and isn't scared to do anything. He was crying because we wouldn't let him jump off of the boathouse. (I don't even do that!) He loves riding the seadoos and in the tube behind the boat. This year, we got a tube that seats 3 people, so the 3 cousins rode on that thing all weekend. All we heard was, "Can we tube again?" over and over. It was fun watching them be old enough to really do things on the lake. Mallory loved splashing in her little pool on the dock and watching the big kids. And I loved relaxing and reading good books out in the sun.

I love the fireworks. This year D. bought some real good ones in South Carolina since they are illegal in GA. (shh, we broke the law) So on the 4th we had our own firework show on the dock. The kids had a blast. We had these really long sparklers that they loved. The boys kept saying, "This is awesome!" The lake fireworks are always on the Saturday closest to the 4th, so they were on Saturday. I didn't get to go because Mallory was already asleep. But I enjoyed watching all the boats head down to the show.

The 4th of July weekend is always so much fun. Of course we ate too much and stayed up too late, but it was worth it. Now we're home back in the swing of things. Aubrey is doing another round of swimming lessons, and Callie is getting spayed today. I am going to the dr. because I think I might have the mumps. (I'll let you know when I get back) So I am a little under the weather. And to top it off I got called for jury duty tomorrow! I'll update you when I know more. I'll also add pictures later because I was not prepared and my camera battery broke while I was there, so Amy took pictures for me.

Edited to add - I'm back from the dr., and although I have all the symptoms of the mumps, it appears to just be some type of infection. I do have a very swollen, painful lymph node between my ear and jaw so it looks kind of like the mumps. Say a prayer that I feel better in the morning b/c I don't want to sit in the courtroom feeling bad! Thanks!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

One Year Ago Today!

We welcomed our sweet Mallory Quinn into our family. I can't believe it's been a year already. The first year has flown by. She has stayed so petite that she doesn't really look one, so that makes it even stranger to say. When I got pregnant with Mallory I was so worried that I wouldn't love her as much as Aubrey. Now I just laugh about feeling that way, but it really worried me. I can't remember what it was like before she was here really. I am so overwhelmed with thankfulness for the blessing she is to our family. It is really special to have a little girl in the family. It has made all of us better people. Aubrey loves her so much. We sometimes have to get onto him for being all over her. He always wants to touch and squeeze her. I love watching D. with her too. It's so sweet to see a Daddy and his little girl. I am just so blessed to be her mommy. After I had Aubrey I said it didn't matter if I ever had a little girl because I loved having a little boy so much, but I was wrong. I am so glad to have her. I am looking forward to the times when she is older and we can scrapbook and shop and do fun girly things together. I always tell her when the boys are wrestling and roughhousing that God knew I needed her. He truly did. She makes my purpose for being here so much clearer. I always wanted to be a mom, and now that I am it is the best thing ever. I hope I can be the kind of mother to Mallory that my mom was and is to me. Mothers and daughters are so special.

Here are some pics of our sweetie. The first one is from when she was first home from the hospital and she loved being swaddled. The next two are from her party on Sunday. We had it on Sunday because that's when all the family would be in town. She loved her cake (which had to be milk free since she's allergic, so that was interesting) and loved the party hats and balloons. The presents were all right to her, but the party decorations were fascinating to her. We are so fortunate to have both sets of grandparents here and a great grandmama. What a blessing. It was a sweet night with family.

So all this to say happy first birthday to our sweet, wonderful, precious Mallory. We love you bunches and bunches!