Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Camp J.A.M.

Madeleine went to her first sleep away camp this year. We sent her with a group from our church to Camp J.A.M. (Jesus And Me) in OK. It was a HUGE deal, especially for me. :) But this camp is just for kids from 3-6th grade and it has Bible classes and worship time, but also lots of playtime. They have daily "chores," daily rest time (although I'm not sure how much resting went on!!) and daily Bible Class.  But they also do some really fun games and have canteen time and swimming every day.
 I prayed and prayed that she would have the time of her life and grow closer to God and the friends she has at church. She had the most amazing week. Even more amazing than I could have imagined for her. She came home talking just a bit more grown-up and having grown so close to the girls at church.

This girls is so independent -- she mocked me the night before when I suggested what she should do if she got homesick. Ha! She was totally fine; probably more confident than I was. They left from church Sunday morning before Bible Class and came home Friday night. It was a long week. The longest I've ever been apart from her, but she was ready.
My sweet friend Angel was a counselor and sent out daily "momma morning updates" to us moms back home! Loved getting these as well as other pictures during the week. And, they do a Facebook video each day that Matt and I watched at night and could see the fun things they were doing!

Madeleine and her best friend from church Maci had bunks right together.

Support your State day! 
Madeleine's chore each morning was cleaning the tables after breakfast. Her counselor told me that she'd take Madeleine anywhere -- she was such a helpful girl. She was always looking for a way to help and often was doing a job before anyone could ask. Loved hearing these words of praise for my girl!

I found this on her bed the day she was due home. Harrison had wrapped a box of candy for her. I think he and Char missed their sister just a bit. :) We all missed her! She flew off that van Friday night and into our arms for some big hugs. I guess she's not so grown up that she can't miss mom and dad just a bit, huh?!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Week In Little Rock

Matt had a conference in Little Rock in early July and Harrison and Charlotte and I tagged along since Madeleine was at camp that week. We had such a fun week playing all around Little Rock and especially since Sugar and Cormac came along too!

The tubes are one of our favorite little rock play spots and we started out the week there!
Mimi kept the big kids one afternoon and Sug and I took Cormac and did some shopping. Cormac was a perfect shopper and slept through most of it. :)
We went to the pool in Stewart and Sugar's new neighborhood. It was great for these 2!
The kids and I finally saw the Muppets movie -- so cute!
Grandad had a new TV that allows you to watch in 3-D which is so neat. Matt & I watched Gravity one night and Harrison and Grandad watched Cars.
More fun around Mimi's house.
We also tried out the Trampoline Park which of course our little tumble queen loved! There were some big teen girls there doing back handsprings/back tucks on the tumble track and this little 4 year old hopped right in there with them! She isn't cleared to do back handsprings out of our gym yet, but she was happy to show off her powerful roundoff. :) I couldn't help smiling at her right in there with them, not intimated one bit!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Family Lake Weekend

The week after the 4th of July we met up with my parents and Sugar, Stewart and Cormac at the lake for some fun family time. Stewart's parents have the most perfect lakehouse in Hot Springs -- actually a house, bunkhouse and guesthouse on the property. It was fantastic because we all were able to have our own little space at night but we were all still right there together. 

We got there late at night but Matt & Harrison were up early the next morning to fish. The caught a few little fish, but even without making a big catch, it was so nice to just enjoy the view. 
We took their boat out for a ride while we were there and had lunch on the lake! The kids loved the boat! We didn't swim, but just enjoyed boating around and seeing different areas. We actually boated to the dam for lunch. The water there was freezing. Seriously way to cold to swim! I stuck my foot in the water for just a few seconds and had to pull it out because it was so cold -- crazy! But, it made the perfect spot to have lunch because it was so nice and cool on top of the water.
(One of the best parts was loving on this little guy....and I'm pretty sure he adores his cousins too!)

We had some free time one afternoon and took the kids to Mid America Museum for a few hours. It was like stepping back in time. Ha! I remember going there as a kid for field trips and I can say with much certainty that it hasn't changed that much. :) But they had a blast! It wasn't crowded and we were able to explore and spread out and still keep tabs on the kiddos. 

These Kiva blocks were a big hit and they actually got to use them again at Camp Invention the next week. Fun!

We explored Hot Springs while we were there. Harrison was curious if there was a real "hot spring" and we found the famous one and he got to feel it and see just how hot it really is!

Of course no trip to Hot Springs is complete without a trip to the Pancake House. I remember going there as a kid and it's still the same. And, the food is still soooo good! These 3 downed some pancakes that mornings (as well as the best sausage ever).

This was our view from the porch each day. The house is on a little peninsula and there is water on all 3 sides -- and the kids and Matt fished it from every angle. :) But, I was pretty happy to just sit and enjoy the view....and the entertainment from Cormac. :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Madeleine's Birthday {Part 2}

We had a fun time as a family on Madeleine's birthday this year. Turning 10 is a big deal in my book -- and it certainly pulled on my heartstrings like no other birthday has. I still have a hard time believing that it has been 10 years since I first held this girl in my arms and yet I have a hard time remembering life before motherhood. This is the little girl that made me a mom and I have loved every moment with her; the time really has gone by too fast. 

We had some fun things planned on her big day. We started with her favorites for breakfast -- pancakes, bacon and our family birthday must have: Paris Puffins.

Then we let her open her gifts. We completely surprised her this year with her own Ipod -- she had no idea and was so excited! It was such a fun thing to catch her off guard and give her such a fun gift! 

Matt was off that day and took the big kids bowling that afternoon. Then we headed to Red Robin for birthday dinner.

We came back home and had cake and ice cream for dessert. Her cake turned out super cute!

Happy birthday to my sweet girl! We are so proud of you and the beautiful young girl you have become -- not only on the outside, but more importantly on the inside.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

4th of July Fun!

We had a very low-key 4th of July this year. Madeleine got back from CAMP JAM that evening and I knew that all she'd want to do is take a "hot" shower and be at home. We just grilled out and had our traditional Firecracker Cake. 
The next night we went to the Dougans for some fun with a group of friends from church. We had the BEST time! The kids played ball, had a water balloon fight, went swimming, and we grilled out then ended the night with some fun fireworks! To me it was exactly what the 4th (or in this case the 5th) should be....family, friends and fun!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Madeleine turns 10 {Part 1}

Turning 10 seems like a big birthday worth celebrating in a big way so we had a BIG sleepover for Madeleine's 10th birthday. We ended up having it a couple of weeks before her actual birthday -- we had some travel plans both before and after her birthday so we had it the last weekend in june. It was a perfect weekend for a slumber party! She had 8 friends come and spend the night and it was a fun (and wild!) time!

I wish I'd taken a better picture of the table before we loaded it up with pizza, but keeping up with 9 girls was....ummm....busy.

We had the girls get there before dinner on friday night and first thing we tooke them to the pool to swim. We same for a couple of hours and then headed back to the house to change into jammies and pig out on pizza. Yum!

It made my heart so full seeing Madeleine surrounded by all her good friends at our table.
After dinner we did a little craft. We made flower pens with cute pink flowers and colorful duck tape. It was a great craft for this age and they we able to do it by themselves and they turned out cute!

Then we had cake...

And presents....

Then they did mani/pedis and jammed out to some music.
And the little one was not about to be left out of the fun. She hung right in there with the girls until her (later) bedtime. :)  We ended up making them turn out the lights and watch a movie in the playroom at 11:30 -- Harrison and Charlotte were still trying to get to sleep. So we popped in a movie, loaded them up with snacks and turned out the lights. After a few reminders to quiet down a little so H & C could sleep, they all got really still. By 12:30 everyone was asleep and they all slept til after 7 the next morning. Not too bad for a sleepover. :) We had a big breakfast for everyone that morning.
Then we headed back to the pool to swim until parents came to pick up. I think we were all ready for bed that night! But Madeleine had the BEST time and that what I really wanted. She loved having all her friends here to celebrate and have fun with her.