Fun at the Zoo

My mom has been wanting to take us to the zoo all summer, then that lead to fall, and it’s almost winter, and we finally went! You know, life just happens sometimes and things you want to happen don’t. In any case, we all went to the zoo yesterday! It’s a good zoo, on a smaller scale and perfect for small kids. We almost didn’t go because “they” were calling for rain, but we took a gamble and went. I’m so glad we did! The weather was warm (especially for October!), it was cloudy, which I actually think was good. The animals were out and active, and the kids were good and had a lot of fun! Plus, it was great to spend some time with my mom! We had a great time, and it was fun making more memories with and for the kids!

Our very own penguins!

Our very own penguins!

What is your wingspan? This was at the condor exhibit.

What is your wingspan? This was at the condor exhibit.

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The carousal ride was OK. Cora loved it, I got dizzy and Ben cried unless I was holding him! :)

The carousal ride was OK. Cora loved it, I got dizzy and Ben cried unless I was holding him! πŸ™‚

I love how my mom love her grandkids!

I love how my mom loves her grandkids!

This was the coolest thing! There was a clear tube slide that went under the otter exhibit. You could see the otters playing as you slid down! It was so fun!!!

This was the coolest thing! There was a clear tube slide that went under the otter exhibit. You could see the otters playing as you slid down! It was so fun!!!

Hiding out in a tee-pee!

Hiding out in a tee-pee!

Just give a boy a shovel and some pebbles.

Just give a boy a shovel and some pebbles.

Our cutie!

Our cutie!

I love this girl so much!

I love this girl so much!

Mimi and Cora feeding the very aggressive goats!

Mimi and Cora feeding the very aggressive goats!

We thought this red bush was so pretty! The kids semi cooperated to get a photo with Mimi...

We thought this red bush was so pretty! The kids semi cooperated to get a photo with Mimi…

The cooperation evaporated when it was time to get a photo with me! :)

The cooperation evaporated when it was time to get a photo with me! πŸ™‚

The girls on a giant caterpillar! Ben was being uncooperative...

The girls on a giant caterpillar! Ben was being uncooperative…

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October? Really?

I just have to know…is it October, or July? Our small town had their annual Pumpkin Festival, and it’s the beginning of October, and was nearly 80 degrees on Saturday!!! What???? We were going through the hay maze sweating! I had the kids in shorts and t-shirts, and us adults were dressed the same way. The Pumpkin Festival takes place on our town square, but this year they moved all of the kid-friendly stuff to another location a few blocks down. It was so nice! They had a hay maze (with a bushel of apples in the middle), a blow-up bouncy thing, face painting, pumpkin painting, all sorts of crafts, balloon animals, pick-your-own-pumpkin, a hay ride, and other things. It was fantastic! The kids had so much fun and with the weather being nice I found it most enjoyable too! We went to the square to have lunch (read: fried, greasy fair food) and then went back to the other location to wait our turn for a hay ride. To top it off, David’s dad and step mom were with us and got to enjoy the day (weekend) too! But, I had to keep asking the question: is it really October? I mean, really, 80 degrees, in October, in the Midwest???

These kids crack me up!

These kids crack me up!

Bekah and Grandad

Bekah and Grandad

David got to the middle of the maze first! :)

David got to the middle of the maze first! πŸ™‚

Yum! Apples!

Yum! Apples!

A quintessential fall photo...

A quintessential fall photo…

Bekah and Mammaw

Bekah and Mammaw

I love her ponytail flying out behind her! She was so excited to see how to get out of the maze!

I love her ponytail flying out behind her! She was so excited to see how to get out of the maze!

Just following along, munchin' on his apple...

Just following along, munchin’ on his apple…

Grandad and Mammaw with the babies

Grandad and Mammaw with the babies

The fire department took a fire truck down for the kids to sit on and climb around in/on.

The fire department took a fire truck down for the kids to sit on and climb around in/on.

Cora absolutely LOVES these inflatable things!

Cora absolutely LOVES these inflatable things!

Getting their faces painted: Ben a football and Cora a cat

Getting their faces painted: Ben a football and Cora a cat

Rebekah taking it all in and also starting to suck her thumb!

Rebekah taking it all in and also starting to suck her thumb!

Eating our uber healthy lunch! HA!

Eating our uber healthy lunch! HA!

Meeting More Family

As I’ve mentioned last week, David’s grandma passed away the day after Rebekah was born. We decided to travel down to WV as a family for the funeral. It wasn’t the way we wanted to introduce Rebekah to her family in WV, but what can you do? We tried to make the best of a very hard situation. God was good and though it was a sad time, the kids provided a lot of happiness to the visit.

Rebekah meeting Pops--Cora protecting on the side!

Rebekah meeting Pops–Cora protecting on the side!

Kisses from Ma-ma!

Kisses from Ma-ma!

Hugs from Great Aunt Jonnie!

Hugs from Great Aunt Jonnie!

After the funeral on Monday we spent Tuesday morning and lunch with David’s dad and step mom. Unfortunately, we, as a family of 5, were tired, crabby and grouchy so it wasn’t the best of times, and we felt badly about that. We cut our visit short (we had planned to stay until Wednesday) and just went ahead and left for home right after lunch. Still, they got to at least meet Rebekah and are making plans to come up soon to spend more time!

Meeting Mammaw

Meeting Mammaw

Granddad with all three of his grandkids!

Granddad with all three of his grandkids!

 

 

First Visitors!

Our first visitors after Rebekah was born were my parents, Cora, Ben and my grandma! It was so much fun to have my family come up and be the first to see our new baby. For whatever reason, it’s the first time this has happened! My mom was staying with the kids while I was in labor and in the hospital. It was so great to see the joy and excitement on Cora and Ben’s faces when they saw their new baby sister. They were so anxious to hold her, kept petting her on her head and kissing her. It made our hearts sing and well, it was just precious!!! Rebekah is my parents’ 7th grandchild and my grandma’s 7th great grandchild. It’s been exciting times around these parts with Micah being born in April and then Rebekah shortly after!

Meeting Mimi and Grampy for the first time!

Meeting Mimi and Grampy for the first time!

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Great Grandma with #7

Great Grandma with #7

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White Satin Shoes

Today we say good-bye. We say good-bye to my husband’s grandma, otherwise known to us “Ma-ma.” She was married at the age of 16, had 3 children, many grandchildren, great grands and great-great grands. She was a woman who worked hard to provide for her family. She was an excellent seamstress, helped her husband in his many pastoral positions, canned and froze the food they grew in their gardens. She loved her family, knew how to laugh at life and was just a good woman.

When we brought Cora to WV for the first time I loved how Ma-ma just held Cora and allowed her to lay on her lap for hours. Being a first-time mom I was afraid this would spoil or ruin Cora, and we’d have to work for weeks to get Cora used to not being held so much. Of course, that didn’t happen, and I realized Β it was perfectly OK for a baby to be held endlessly by her great grandmother as long as was possible. When we took Ben to meet his great grandparents for the first time I looked forward to having Ma-ma hold and love on Ben for as long as she wanted. And she did. She showed love to her great grandchildren just as she had her grandson, my husband.

When I got pregnant a 3rd time Ma-ma was so excited to know she was to have another great grandchild. When we learned we were having a girl, and decided on the name, David called Ma-ma and told her. We knew the secret was safe with her and she loved that we were using her daughter’s middle name for our daughter’s middle name. My sister planned a small baby shower for me before Rebekah was born and Ma-ma was most concerned to find white satin shoes for Rebekah. She said the baby girl needed to have them. David’s aunt searched high and low and finally found some to purchase online. They are beautiful little shoes. I took them with us to the hospital so Rebekah could wear them home.

While we were in the hospital having Rebekah we knew Ma-ma’s health was deteriorating rapidly. We were planning to go to WV sooner than we had originally planned. We took lots of photos with the camera and on our phones and texted those photos to my MIL so she could share them with Ma-ma. Ma-ma’s last lucid thoughts were of Rebekah. The last thing she understood on this earth was that she had had another great granddaughter and this little girl would be going home wearing her white satin shoes. Ma-ma will not get to meet Rebekah here on earth, but one day, in heaven it’ll happen. We grieve that Rebekah will not know her great grandma, but we have the hope of heaven one day.

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Birthday Celebrating

Because we don’t know when Baby Girl is expected to arrive and because Ben’s birthday is actually the 20th, with the due date being the 25th, we decided to celebrate Ben’s 2nd b-day early–that’s what we did on Saturday! We celebrated with my parents, David’s mom, step dad, step sister, her husband, my grandma, our nephew, Riley, and niece, Haddie (my sister and BIL were away for a few days for job training for my BIL, and Sophia was at a family wedding with her other grandma!). We had a grand ol’ time! We did a baseball theme, ordered nuggets and mini chicken sandwiches from Chick-fil-a, and my mom, MIL and sister-in-law brought the rest of the food! Because we didn’t know where we’d be in the whole baby process we were trying to keep it very low-key. I did make a cake, but it was simple and didn’t require too much effort. Ben received all sorts of wonderful gifts from a stuffed dinosaur to a basketball hoop for outside. He loved all of it and was so excited as he opened up each gift. It was really cute to watch! The kids spent the afternoon playing with the new toys outside and when everyone was good and tired, they all went home. David’s family stayed here in our town at a hotel for the night so we met them over there with pizza and bathing suits. The kids got to swim at the hotel pool, which they thoroughly enjoyed! We got home in time for bed and well, I think they were pretty exhausted because they fell right to sleep! I would say Ben was well-celebrated! It was a great day, a relaxing day, and one fit for our little man. Enjoy the photos!

The cake...obviously...

The cake…obviously…

The girls...I think they look alike here...

The girls…I think they look alike here…

Miss Haddie Anne

Miss Haddie Anne

The spread...

The spread…

The cousins...we sure missed Sophia & Micah!

The cousins…we sure missed Sophia & Micah!

I told him to look at me...this is what he does.

I told him to look at me…this is what he does.

A stuffed dinosaur, he slept with that night!

A stuffed dinosaur, he slept with that night!

Trying out his foam swords with Riley!

Trying out his foam swords with Riley!

He blew his candle out right away--didn't even know he knew how!

He blew his candle out right away–didn’t even know he knew how!

Nothing says "I'm a big boy" like getting cake-eating help from Great Grandma!

Nothing says “I’m a big boy” like getting cake-eating help from Great Grandma!

Mr. Riley James

Mr. Riley James

Family!

On Sunday we celebrated my mom’s birthday (which was a couple weeks ago) and David’s birthday (which was Tuesday of this week). We had my grandma, her sister who’s been visiting, my parents, sister and her family and us. We had a great time grilling hamburgers, eating outside and finishing with cheesecake and chocolate covered strawberries! I love being with my family, I love birthday parties, and I love to celebrate the people I love the most! It was a great time of fellowship, laughter and just being family. Oh, and my newest nephew, Micah, is now 4 weeks old so we were able to get in some good cuddles with him–always fun!

The kids were relegated to eating on the deck, without a table!

The kids were relegated to eating on the deck, without a table!

My kids LOVED loving on their newest cousin! They both, Ben included, couldn't seem to hold him enough!

My kids LOVED loving on their newest cousin! They both, Ben included, couldn’t seem to hold him enough!

The birthday boy and girl!

The birthday boy and girl!

Micah getting some Uncle David cuddles...

Micah getting some Uncle David cuddles…

...AND some Aunt Jeni cuddles!

…AND some Aunt Jeni cuddles!