double whammy

we had a double dose of birthday parties today. i don't think that's ever happened to us before. we must be popular (joke!).

our first stop was at little layla's house, who will be turning the big 2 on the 3rd. there was a fantastic swing/slide set in the backyard, and emma spent quite some time having daddy push her on one of the swings. i think the birthday girl enjoyed having the company, and especially liked her chocolate chip cookie birthday cake. emma enjoyed a piece too. how can you say no to a delicious chocolate chip cookie?

our next stop was at a hawaiian-themed surprise birthday party for aaron's supervisor. actually, by the time we got there it wasn't a surprise anymore. there was a lot of tasty food. the main highlight was a massive pig roasting over a ginormous grill (so big in fact, that it must be hooked up to the back of the car in order to transport it). the party was located at a clubhouse, and there was a little playground close by. it was the perfect spot to keep the kids entertained and burn some energy before bedtime. as always, i ate WAY too much. even after i was full, i still somehow managed to consume a piece of marbled cheesecake brownie. it was a small piece. so i guess it doesn't really count.

i've got some embroidery projects to finish up and enjoy the rest of the long weekend with the family, so i'll be out until tuesday.



ben came over to our house this morning to play, and the two cousins happily entertained each other. i let them play in the front yard for a bit, kicking the ball around, playing with chalk, and chasing after each other.

then we took a walk around the block (our city blocks are very long!), stopping to sniff flowers, pick up sticks, poking stuff, counting the trees, identifying the different colored cars, marching and jumping.

after the exercise, they were both quite content to snack and play quietly with each other or by themselves until ben was picked up. i popped in some music and got a pretty good chunk of embroidery done while they were busy doing quiet playtime. pretty amazing considering there were two 2 year olds in the house at one time.

it's fun watching them grow up together. especially since they get along so well.

and happy 2nd birthday to benjamin (for real)!



thursday play group

cool weather, cloudy skies and a chance of rain brought our thursday play group to the library.

it seemed there were a lot of play-dates that had the same idea, so the librainium was pretty full. we had a couple of new friends today: 7 month old eva and 16
month old camden.

emma also made some new friends with an older girl and boy. i caught the three of them sitting together reading books. well...i think emma was trying to "read" them a book.


trash or treasure

i love going to garage and yard sales looking for bargains or old, antique-type items that we can use around the house. most of the time we don't get anything. but every once in a while we find something that really catches our eye.

item 1: an old school desk, with a storage cubby beneath the seat. $4.00. not only does emma use it for coloring and reading, but it's a handy place for me to use when i'm doing embroidery transfers.

item 2: an old wooden seat. $1.00. when we first got it, it was dusty, covered with cobwebs, and speckled with dried paint and plaster. but it was still very sturdy. after aaron cleaned it up with an hour of sanding and scrubbing, the chair looked almost as good as new (sorry no before photo). we are planning to use a nice dark wood stain to complete the look. this chair currently resides in the guest bedroom, but may be a possible desk chair for tyler.

item 3: two kid-sized wooden chairs. free! we actually found these in our neighbor's tree-lawn (to be picked up by the garbagemen). a great size for little legs to climb on and off, and still very sturdy. there is even potential to use these as plant stands when they're no longer used for the little ones.



an artist at work

a glimpse into the creative process of artist e.g.p.


towering blooms

here are the sunflowers i planted in spring in full glory!

they're gigantic. taller than aaron (and he's 6 feet). and now i wish i had planted more of them since they were so easy to grow.


a birthday celebration

yesterday we helped ben celebrate his 2nd birthday (though his official birthday is not until next friday). there was a lot of food involved...which is always a good thing. and the cake was colorful (as evidenced by emma's multi-color lips) and very frostirific (is that a real word? probably not).

i think emma thought the birthday cake was for her, until we explained to her that it was for ben. a new concept: other people have birthdays too. then she went from singing "happy birthday to emma" to "happy birthday to benjamin."

one of the gifts we gave ben was a striped blue shirt with some custom embroidery. we also gave his baby brother (a.k.a. spud) an outfit with the same matching appliqued pattern. i can't wait to see both of them on together. i think it will look very cute.


gaga for goggles

this new look had everyone laughing.


we all need a hero

for our anniversary date night, we decided to watch the dark knight. i know...it may not be one's idea of a romantic anniversary evening, but when you only get a few date nights a year you have to maximize the time that you have.

we had wanted to watch this batman for a while, and especially wanted to watch it before we decided whether or not to allow tyler to watch it since i've heard plenty of comments about the dark nature of this movie. well...i don't think we'll let him watch it in the theatres for sure. this one is much darker than the previous batman, and allowing him to watch it in the theatre would seem to intensify everything in the movie. however, we may consider allowing him to watch this movie once it comes out on DVD.

aside from that, the movie was great. so great in fact that i actually cried at the end. yes. i cried. i was the only one in the movie theatre crying at the end of the dark knight. i wouldn't be surprised if i was the only one that's ever cried at a batman movie.

no. it wasn't because i was moved by the cinematography. or lovers being torn apart forever. nothing like that. in fact, it was the words of commissioner gordon that got my all choked up. at the end of the movie, [i don't know if this next part will give away the ending so if you haven't seen the movie and don't want to take any chances skip to the next paragraph] he (gordon) points out that the batman must be what the city needs him to be. and to do that he willingly sacrificed his own safety, his livelihood, his own life, to save gotham city and bring it back to normalcy. it didn't matter if the people would end up pursuing him, hunting him down, hating him, punishing him for something he did not do. he must be what the city needs him to be. he must be what the people of gotham could never be.

that's when the tears came. the lump in my throat. the throbbing in my heart. because it reminded me of the same sacrifice that God was willing to make for us all.

but he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
(isaiah 53:5 niv)

to me, the movie had a beautiful and very powerful ending. a clear message of God's love and his glory displayed through a superhero movie. pretty amazing.


top 10 for 4

too aaron:

another year of sharing our top 10 things we love about each other. i can't wait. it's nice that we can celebrate our wedding day together, in the state that we're actually residing in, for the first time since we've been married. crazy!

i look forward to our little date tonight. wow. we actually get to do something, just the two of us, on our anniversary. pretty cool.

i thank you. i love you.

happy anniversary!

a little time away from home

i know. i've been MIA since sunday, and you all must by wondering where i've been (probably not, but that's okay).

we took a little "escape" away from cleveland on monday to aaron's parents' house and didn't return until yesterday evening. it was a nice change from home and i think we all needed a little break. plus aaron's on vacation this week so we wanted to do something together as a family.

our initial plan was to go to wildwater kingdom tuesday, but the weather wasn't cooperating so pap suggested the county fair instead. i haven't been to a county fair in probably 10 years, so it was fun to be able to go again. tyler went through the funhouse and decided on the trampoline jumping activity after we all refused to go with him on one of the make-me-puke rides (the scrambler to name one). we also saw plenty of chickens, rabbits, goats, sheep, cows, pigs, and horses. emma enjoyed going to the individual animal stalls and cages giving each animal an indvidual greeting. especially the goats. she liked the goats. the only animal she wasn't too keen on were the pigs. strange. because she likes bacon.

old school punishment

fried cheese goodness!

emma greets and talks to a goat...the next dr. doolitle

a free yard stick for everyone...we went home with 5.

need i say more?

bungee jumping at the fair.
wildwater kingdom was saved for yesterday, since the weather decided to be a bit more cooperative. we spent 5 hours there playing in all sorts of water attractions. i haven't gone on a waterslide since i was in 7th grade, and i forgot how much fun it was. it took emma some time to warm up to the water, but once she did she couldn't get enough of it. she loved the waves in the wave pool, and liked going down the lazy river w/ mom and dad on the inner tube. ty had fun going down the water slides and jumping the waves. he took a couple of goes down the inner-tube slides, but i think preferred the water playground where he could run through and get dumped by water. aaron got some MAJOR sun compared to the rest of us, and is recuperating from it today. since water and my camera don't mix well, there aren't many photos of us on the attractions.

the liquid lightning a.k.a. the human toilet bowl.

taking a break from the water.

getting dumped.


my sister, her fiancee and son are staying with us until tomorrow. they are on their way to washington d.c.-their new place of residence.

this afternoon we headed over to aladdin's for some delicious lebanese-american food. their hummus platter is a favorite, and they offer pretty healthy kid-food options.

while emma took her nap, aaron, clint, tyler and anthony went for a swim at the pool. they have a pretty decent waterslide there, so i think the boys enjoyed themselves. emma is quite taken with anthony, and couldn't get enough of him. i think now she'll have 2 big brothers to take care of her.

dinner took place at lakewood park for cross point's picnic at the park bbq. there was plenty of eating followed by some intense volleyball playing. tyler showed anthony some "hidden" sights, and after a quick food stop they went to the pool for more swimming. emma enjoyed snagging sweets from melissa, her auntie astrid, and her daddy and mommy. there was also an irish band playing at the outdoor bandstand so she, along with some of her friends (and auntie astrid), busted out a few moves.

this evening, the boys will be camped out in the backyard. as i type this, they're filling the tent with all the necessities: radio, ipod, lamp, gameboy ds, walkie-talkies, flashlight, dvd player, and the kitchen sink. i was joking about the kitchen sink. but i don't know that you need all that just for an evening out in the backyard.


wheels and reels

this morning, father and son went to coe lake to take part in cross point's fishing derby. there was a lot of fishing but not a lot of fish catching. although, tate caught 4 fish, so alan had to eat a minnow (don't ask). since there was not much luck in catching any fish, the kids decided they would have more fun exploring and playing in the lake. the event ended with a "fish fry" catered by long john silvers.

this was ty's first fishing experience, and i think he had a good time.i gave aaron the task of taking some photos so here are a few from their experience.

later that afternoon, we met up with our friends robert and bud to check out lakewood's car kulture show. we had fun looking at all the hot rods and other classic cars. after a quick pick-me up at bela dubby we headed home for a delicous bbq rib dinner, and awaited the arrival of my sister, her fiancee and son.

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