Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day

     I have been struck today (& this year) as I have considered Mother's Day & Father's Day, in my views of my own parents.  It is easy as a child to view your parents are the overlords, and forget how truly remarkable they are.

At mother's day this year, Ann Voskamp wrote about giving the gift of memories.  I absolutely loved the idea of sitting down, writing down a special memory of my mother, and thanking her for it.  What better gift than to count one of the countless ways she has blessed me.  I thought of how we would turn up the music really loud and dance in the window seats to our 80s christian rock songs.  I thought of our station wagon, and the silly songs my mom would sing to us if we were hungry, "I'm so hungry, and starving, and wasting away!!"  I remembered how she read to me & my siblings, and then I thought of how sweet her voice is when she reads to my sons.  That same clear, steady voice.  Constant, full, resonant, beautiful.

That was the memory I shared with her.  Her voice, her sharing that gift- instilling a love of reading.

  At Father's day this year, this morning we were in church & our pastor spoke about how our earthly fathers compare to the relationship of our heavenly father.  Some of us cannot draw comparisons, only contrasts.  But me, I am blessed.  At first, it feels hard to think about, but when I take the attributes of God, and look for them in my Dad, it feels easy.

God is a loving Father, unconditionally.  My Dad has loved me all of my days, whether I have deserved it or not.  and I have disobeyed, tons!

God is ever present, omnipresent.  My Dad has been in my life, all of my life.  He has never left me.  He has never forsaken me.  I have taken it for granted- that he has always been there, available.

God gives good gifts.  My Dad has given me many good gifts.  I remember when he picked out some really beautiful gifts for me my last years at home.  A jewelry box & a stereo cd player.  My parents have given more extravagant gifts, and less, but those stick out to me.  a memory of something specific my Dad chose special.

God is omnipotent.  My Dad... isn't omnipotent.  but he does know a lot.  Don't tell him I said so. ;-)  I remember listening to his sermons, and his always incorporated lots of historical elements, which I loved.  My favorites always had the imagery of the real place - like when Jesus said the stones will cry out, I never knew they were tombstones till my Dad told me.

God is omniscient.  My Dad, is not.  But boy, my Dad has always been a powerful guy.  Physically & in his presence, with a strong hand.  I can definitely compare some of those attributes of God, his 'strong arm' with how my Dad's discipline.  I know I was raised with a disciplined nature, and I am grateful for it.

God is the God of all comfort.  Thinking about how God cares for us, has great compassion on us, and comforts us in our saddness.  My Dad has showed me how to grieve, and how to carry others in their grief.  What a remarkable characteristic.

Ok, my Dad is not perfect, no one is, no one can be.  But it is easy to focus on what to criticize, and it's not our instinct to focus and celebrate what is good.  My Dad has given me a real taste of God's love for me as a Father.  I am so grateful to have my Dad in my life.  I cannot be what I am today without him.  He has given, and I have taken, received, and walked away without coming back to say thanks.  But today, I hope it can be one of many times when I can celebrate all he has given.

I love you Dad.  Thank you for being a loving Father to me, in many, innumerable ways.  I'm sorry for getting lost on the way to&from Clemson orientation, and making you worry so much you drove the highway looking for me (there was a day when I didn't have navigation, I am better for it!).  Thanks for always giving me another chance.  Thanks for the way you love my sons so well- wrestle mania & teaching some boundaries.  Disney world (conquered) & lots of BBQ dinners.  I am blessed by the relationship they are forging.

Happy Father's Day to a really great dad, mine. :-)  and a really great Papa too.  What joy overwhelms my heart to recount the gifts given to me by my heavenly Father. amazing.

The Plantation at Pigeon Mountain

I had to share a little more about the beautiful venue where my brother in law was married.  The Plantation at Pigeon Mountain was tucked away, but such a truly picturesque location.  The wedding was the end of May, and it was really beautiful, albeit already quite hot!  Everyone we encountered at the venue was very kind & courteous & helpful.  Above all, their photographer took some lovely images, which he was kind enough to share with us!!  Talk about generous, we were very grateful!

If you are considering an event, definitely give them a look.  Beautiful plantation house, lovely grounds, room inside for preparations, and plenty of space outside for the event.  My brother-in-law and his beautiful bride had a lovely day!!

My husband was in the wedding party, and my boys were ring bearers with their cousin.  What a lovely day & wonderful memories.

Photo credits to The Plantation at Pigeon Mountain.  Thank you so much!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

John&Kelsey's Wedding!

The week was here!  We had a CrAzY time trying to pack for 3 kiddos & make sure we had covered all our 'bases' (pun intended) before we drove up to Chattanooga that Thursday to meet everyone for the Lookouts baseball game!

Of course the Bride&Groom were glowing with excitement & everyone was able to enjoy the time together.  Here's the wind up... & the pitch!

Of course my mommy.moment. of the evening was watching James.  He wanted to watch the game, so he got himself a plate, organized it appropriately, grabbed a drink, and took a seat next to Kelsey's Mom.  He's cracking peanuts by himself- he's grown. !  It absolutely caught me off guard, my boy so independent!

Go Lookouts!

Friday we decided to take the kiddos to the Tennessee aquarium- which is just an amazing place!  We just scratched the surface, but succeeded in wearing the kids out, having a great time, and being together.  A little Cheeseburger Cheeseburger for lunch & the naps went well!  We actually had to wake the boys both Friday & Saturday from their naps to go to the rehearsal (& wedding!) which was both good&bad.  Of course more rest is always better (ALWAYS), but the trade off is waking a sleeping preschooler makes for a grumpy gus.  All in all, I think Natassja and I were superwomen, her being 7 months pregnant(!!) and getting all our kids ready for the main events by ourselves.

Our sweet family.  Daddy showing the boys how to wear a bow tie - and making it look so.good. ;-)  The boys had a lovely time dancing to their favorite song, 'the yellow guys song', and couldn't wait to eat the cavalry soldier cake, as a groom's cake!  Matt was able to get the movie slideshow set up for John&Kelsey so we could all enjoy watching them grow up on screen - hip hip hooray!

The big day!!  The morning the kids got to hang out with Mimi&Grandpa, and then we headed out for lunch to grab a bite while the rest of the family went on to the plantation.  The day seemed like it would be a long one, but nap time came & we were hustling to let the kids sleep as long as they could but make it there on time.  It didn't help us that we had a trip time of about 30 min coming back from the rehearsal, and the trip time for me to drive out to the plantation was closer to 40 min (!!) - who knows why.  With only a minute or two to spare.  The kiddos got settled & they all made it down the isle!  Even Hayden after being the grumpy one on Friday who wouldn't practice, and then getting his foot stuck in the wagon wheel on Saturday.  yikes, scared me!  The ceremony was beautiful - the scenery was amazing & totally picturesque - the preacher did an amazing job "you may now give the bride a high five" haha!  It was lovely.  They ended with a group prayer, and Jack&James ended up sticking their heads in the prayer circle too, sweet boys.  and they were official!

All the little ring bearers from the Prose side!  The Yates side added 2 more, for a total of 6!  six little ring bearers: 4, 3, 3, 2, 1, & 1 year old.  They did so great.

Our family seersucker portrait. ;-)

I had the best time taking pictures of our boys.  It was almost every time I turned around I wanted to take another, but sadly, the signals there were weak, and my phone died searching for signals before I even knew it!!  So I have a deficiency of pictures from the reception, but I'm excited to see what the photographer captured!

Boys, boys, boys.  Their pre-wedding bath!!

It was so much fun to stay all together & have the chance to just hang out, each breakfast on the porch, and visit with Nana.

Sunday was a work day, but we were able to wrap it up with a visit to the Chattanooga Choo-Choo as well as some amazing BBQ with the bonus of goats to feed as a post-dinner-experience.  Oh Chattanooga, (or GA??) or wherever we were, you know how to create a memorable experience.

Prose family vacation 2014!

Memorial Day Monday we decided to get a later start home and spend the morning at the battlefields of Chickamauga, which was the second highest casualty of the Civil War, behind the Battle of Gettysburg.  It was a great way to spend the holiday, lots of fun, and so beautiful.  and we got to spend some more time with Mimi&Grandpa as well as Uncle Mark & Aunt Dianne.  Great way to finish our trip.

First one from the wedding of all the Proses!  Happy Day John&Kelsey!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

May in Review...

May, wow!  May came quickly &  We have been preparing for May for months; John&Kelsey's wedding was coming up, Grandpa celebrated a special birthday, I had two classes to take to renew my teaching certificate, and Matt has been working towards recovery from his back injury.

Little Calvin, our one.year.old baby made his first solo climb up the stairs (supervised of course).  Loving his little milestones!  He's now 13 months old & loves to wave & say "ba ba" and pretty close to "hi" which I just adore.  He's dancing up a storm, and is sooo close to walking!  He's been doing lots of squats lately, but just hasn't ventured out for those steps yet!  had his first hair cut for Uncle John's wedding, and he looks so different!  I love the clean cut, but those long baby bangs were just the sweetest, till they got out of control, haha.  Calvin has cut 1 molar & just got started on the second with a lovely combo-cold going on post-wedding.  Keeping up with this little guy is so much fun, but tiring!

We enjoyed all the spring weather, rain or shine.  The temps were so nice for playing outside, and a few days the boys stayed out nearly all day long!  It is really fun to watch them come up with games, have imagination, play together, go on missions, catch lizards, hunt for spiders, and just enjoy being outside, in their own worlds or together.  Hayden still loves to drive the Jeep as much as he can, and he can powerslide with the best of them!  James has gotten more interested in basketball, and we are thinking the Fall may be the time for them both to start t-ball, so fun!  The summer keeps us inside way more, because of the heat, but we'll take all the time outside we can get.

One BIG change for Hayden this May was his big.boy.boat.bed!!  Daddy found this gem on craigslist (of course) and we just couldn't pass up the deal.  We were planning to get him all set up in a big boy bed for his 3rd birthday this summer, but he got promoted a couple months early. ;-)  He and James have been able to have 'sleep overs' now because it has a trundle mattress underneath.  And, the best part, is mommy&daddy get to have much more comfortable 'hayden snuggles' as our buddy is entering that golden age, where he gives his hugs&kisses more often, wants to snuggle, wants to tell us stories, and loves to sing songs.  James has had 'snuggle' stage, but I think we are closing in on the end of the preschool stage for him.  VPK in the Fall, and he's making us so proud.

James' first lizard catch!  (I think it lived, haha)

This Mother's Day, was absolutely.lovely. with my kiddos.  When Hayden was a baby, we went to brunch at the Biltmore, which was just amazing.  This year, I got to attend a preschool 'mother's morning' where he gave me a rose, sang us special songs, shared their alphabet books with us & made us a 'all about my mommy' page (which said he thought I looked pretty when I shower & comb my hair, he's not wrong, hahah!!)  He also had me crying laughing so hard with a little 'incident' with his undies.  That story will live on... ha!

My sweet hubs got me exatly.what.I.asked.for - new books to read!  Happy Mother's Day - we were lucky enough to spend the day with both Mimi & Grammy as well since we started the day in Tampa, and drove back through Ocala.  So lovely to have help with the kids, not to have to cook, and to feel taken care of by my momma.  Love you Grammy, you're the best!!

We drove down to Tampa (which we do amazing often & our kiddos are such troopers!) to celebrate Grandpa's birthday!  We were able to hang out with our family, enjoy company, and grill out in his honor.  We LOVE making memories with our family.

Happy Birthday Grandpa!!

Guess who looks A.LOT.LIKE.GRANDPA??  A sweet little baby I know...

Spring walks around our neighborhood & throwing pinecones into the lake.  Bright sunshine & blue skies.  Sunglasses & boy toys & big smiles.

Grammy&Papa sent Hayden some new sheets for his big.boy.boat.bed - spiderman!! ((and they included James too, and sent batman so he can sleep over))  Thank you Grammy&Papa!!  These boys pretending to be asleep after we made up the bed with his new sheets.

 Little trips around town & stopping for a cheeseburger.... we found ourselves on the opposite side of the table from our kiddos!  How funny to actually sit by my husband for once, and how fun. :-)

The boys' last day of Busy Bees Preschool!  Kind of bitter sweet for mommy, but (thankfully) the boys had an easy time saying goodbye.  We have definitely been blessed by the programs!

 Wow, well that covers all but our big trip up to GA/TN for the Yates-Prose wedding!  coming up next...