Thursday, November 12, 2015

Peyton's Camping Party

This year, when I asked Peyton what kind of party he wanted, he emphatically said, "I'd really like a camping party." I slightly winced at those words, since his birthday is in mid November and in Arkansas, weather can be volatile not to mention the idea of several boys "sleeping" outside, sounded a little bit intense, but after Adam and I let it roll around in our heads for a bit, we decided it really could be a lot of fun.  So the planning commenced!

Last weekend we had nine of his little buddies join us as we celebrated Peyton's 9th birthday.  We rented a camp site toward the back corner of Maumelle Park.   There was a field right behind our site so it was a "perfect" location for learning a little bit about land navigation (which my prior Army husband thought would be fun for the boys).  My one warning that I would give someone who is doing a camping party OUTSIDE at NIGHT, is to remind them that taking pictures will be difficult.   I totally had trouble getting good ones, so I went so far as to turn my headlights on to help shine light on the camp site, in turn, my battery died, thankfully we had jumper cables, so all was not lost!  Looking back on what I was able to capture, I think they had a terrific time!

Here is what the invitation looked like.

Along the way we had some signs directing people back to our camp site.

These kiddos had a big time setting up and playing while we got things situated and arranged.  Sitting on the back of Dad's tailgate was a highlight, but the best part was getting their faces all camo-ed out, which they all loved!



We couldn't have done the party without all of Poppy's camping equipment or G-Dad's firewood!  A big thank you to you two for helping pull off this fun celebration!


Peyton enjoyed helping set up some of the tents while Lawson preferred keeping the fire manned.


I think the boys had a great time being outside in nature. The leaves are really starting to change colors and it ended up being a nice night after it misted and rain all afternoon.  (God answered my prayers for it to stop, which truly was a blessing!)


Dinner consisted of frito chili pie and drinks.  Apparently the drink of choice was Root Beer, which I ran out of within the first hour of the gathering (I'll make note of this for next time!)



After dinner, Adam gave a brief explanation of how land navigation works (and there is a whole mathematical equation to figure out your pace count per so many meters) but he decided to just give them a short version using their compasses and counting their steps.  I think they had a great time on their "treasure hunt".



Each boy got a draw string backpack with a compass and a flashlight.  Then for the treasure hunt, they learned land navigation.  Adam had five different spots in the woods that were marked by a glowing chem-light which the boys thought were awesome.  As they learned to use a pace count in order to determine where the next "treasure" was hidden, at each stop they received some beef jerky, peanuts, trail mix and candy as well as a few lessons in character along the way.   Dad's and Grand Dad's were scattered throughout the field at each of the spots and talked about a character trait such as perseverance, loyalty or integrity, before they received their treat.  I think it was pretty fun for the boys!



Next up was the cake.  I was thrilled with the Bluecake Company's rendition of what I imagined the cake to look like, I thought they pulled off quite an adorable and delicious camp themed cake.


This is the only picture I got as we sang Happy Birthday…oh well!

As if the sugary marshmallow fondant icing wasn't enough we added to it, we definitely roasted smores and ate more chocolatey goodness!   Emerson, Jojo and Ava Jane enjoyed that little treat!  Us Momma's sat around the fire pit trying to catch our breath from all the activities while the boys ran through the field doing their treasure hunt.



Saturday morning the boys enjoyed running around and playing chase while Adam whipped up some fluffy pancakes and sausage.  While they waited for breakfast, sticks and fire and "smoke signals" helped to keep them occupied…they are truly boys! Give them a stick and some fire and they were good to go!



I love this boy and was so glad to get to celebrate his birthday, though he's not actually nine just yet, he has a few more days as an eight year old!  I can hardly believe he's only got one more year as a single digit!  Happy Birthday sweet boy, Daddy and I love you so much!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Better Late Then Never

Halloween was officially a week ago today, and now I'm into November's blog posts, but I guess it's better late then never, right?  My week was filled with planning for a reception at school, loving on and caring for a sick little boy and prepping for my oldest sons 9th birthday party.  Between it all, the week was full of evening events and dinners out so this truly is the first moment I've had to document our holiday of sugary goodness.

Each year my good friend Carol, hosts a Halloween party with cute spooky food and dry-ice punch which definitely adds to the ambiance.  To see more details about the party check out Carol's blog.

Before heading to the party, all of the neighborhood kids were out so we had to try and get a picture of them together.  Stars Wars characters represent!

We also made a very quick stop by my parents house to say "Trick or Treat!"

This was my four-some this year.  I should have probably looked for a Princess Leia costume for Ava Jane but she really wanted to be Elsa, so that's what we did!

There was much eating to be had, there were mummy hotdogs, ghostly strawberries, spooky punch and more tasty goodness then could be eaten!

And as soon as the twenty-some-odd kids ages eight and under (insert Emoji smiley face with wide open eyes) scarfed down their food then we were headed out to trick or treat!  One of the guys in our group brought along his four wheeler and trailer which made the walking part (up and down hills) so much easier for everyone.  Kids didn't have to whine when their legs were tired and parents ears didn't need to be pulled off to make it through the evening; it was a win-win situation!!  Here they are, all piled into the trailer!



At each stop they jumped out quickly without a second to lose in their quest for candy goodness!  Their 2015 Halloween experience is "in the books".  I can't believe we're sliding right into the holidays!! 


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Mountain Tops and Valleys…Holding Onto Faith

The kids recently had a fall break from school so Adam took a few days off to enjoy it with them.   One morning we chose to go climb Pinnacle Mountain.  This was a first for our family, with us all climbing together and without using any backpacks to carry the kids, though I think that may have been a mistake since Adam ended up carrying Ava Jane the entire way up and pretty much all the way down the mountain.   I don't think this activity will become a regular occurrence for us anytime soon, but we are getting there.

The morning was bright and clear, cool but comfortable…really, it was perfect fall day.  And to be honest, the kids actually did awesome.   Emerson climbed to the very top with nary a complaint which was fan-tab-u-lous.  It had been years since I climbed Pinnacle and I'd forgotten how steep it gets around the 8th and 9th markers.  There's a few spots where two hands are necessary for moving forward and up, which I'm sure you can imagine how challenging that would be while carrying a 32 pound little girl on your shoulders and/or on your hip, poor Adam!  But we had fun and we made it, which felt like a win all around!

The boys enjoyed running at the beginning.  We tried to talk to them about walking and looking at exact spots for where to place their little feet, instead of jumping from rock to rock.  They did fairly well at obeying those requests.

And Lawson likes to take any and every opportunity to climb a tree, so climb he did!

The trail was really beautiful, the views and getting to see all the leaves beginning to change colors was really spectacular.  The boys were pretty amazed with the scene!




Along the way we stopped for some rest and water breaks.



Emerson, who has been into pictures recently, asked me to take several of him along our hike.


The view from the top was really beautiful!  The boys were amazed at how tall the mountain was and I was reminded of how big my God is.  I'm so thankful that He holds the whole world in His hands, because today, when a sweet friends little girl has been put on the ECMO (heart/lung machine), a precious woman (a friend of my mothers) died unexpectedly this morning of a severe brain aneurysm  and another dear friend lost her Dad unexpectedly just minutes ago, I'm left in tears.  I'm thankful that I know that God is sovereign and that He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.  But seriously, I struggle sometimes with how difficult and hard life is.  Thankfully, my God is big enough to handle my doubts, questions and fears.  I'm so thankful that though my finite mind can't comprehend the "how's" and "why's" of his purposes, I can trust His character.  The fact that He loves me immeasurably is such a comfort and He loves these sweet people and their families (who are affected and enduring these difficult, life altering situations).   As I was reading today about trusting God, this quote stood out to me, "God is too wise to be mistaken, God is too good to be unkind, so when we don't understand, when we can't see His plan, when we can't trace His hand, we must trust His heart." John 3:16 says, "For God so LOVED the world that he GAVE His only son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but will have EVERLASTING life!  I love this verse with strong, descriptive words of who God is…"Oh Lord you are great, mighty, majestic, magnificent, glorious and sovereign over all the Earth and sky.  You have dominion and exalt Yourself as the Ruler of all." (I Chronicles 29:11)  I'm so grateful that He is who He says He is!  


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