National Dance Week and why that matters to me.

It's National Dance Week

I've never been a dancer although I always wanted to take ballet when I was young
(and maybe even now a little).
I'm not a fan of Dance Moms but I know plenty of you are.
Just not my cup of tea.

I've only seen Dancing With The Stars a few times and I really enjoyed it.
Just can't seem to fit it into a weekly schedule.

I do love a great ballet or Broadway Musical.

Let's just say I'm not your typical dance enthusiast.

I have a very special reason for wanting to celebrate NDW.

I have a precious, sweet granddaughter who is was incredibly shy.
And that may be an understatement.

My daughter Kelly decided when Makenzie was 4 that she would teach a dance class at their
local YMCA so she could share an activity with her daughter that she had enjoyed
when she was growing up.  Makenzie has a natural talent for dance and took
to it right away.

However when it came time to perform in front of people....
well let's just let the picture below speak for itself.

After a few classes at the YMCA, Kelly decided to open a dance studio in their
small town.  It's been just under two years and has become quite the success.

Vandalia Performing Arts Center

Her studio offers many different kinds of dance classes from Mommy and Me through highschool.

ballet, cheerleading, jazz, lyrical and more
after school care, birthday parties
theme parties

They have competition teams, they perform in the city's parades, high school basketball games, 
local senior centers as well as competitions in St. Louis and other areas.
They have also learned to be part of their community by participating in local fund raisers for  
important causes as well as helping to fund their own expenses, such as costumes.

It's been a great place where young girls enhance not only with their
dancing abilities but also with life skills.

This is especially evident with my sweet Makenzie.

In two years she has gone from a very shy little girl just learning beginning moves
to a self confident and talented dancer.
She has made many friends and learned to be supportive of them, 
learned to push through her fears and perform anyway 
and works very hard to learn new skills until she masters them.

I am so proud of her.

Can you tell....

Kelly and Makenzie 

What's not to love about dance.
Fun hair styles, really cute costumes.
Special time with Mommy.
Lots of friends.  

aren't bake sales the best

It seems she been blessed with a natural ability
and has won many competitions.

However, that's not what's really important... is it.

It's seeing her overcome her fears and anxiety to blossom into a really
sweet, friendly, outgoing little girl. 

and you can't put a price on that face

I'd also like to point out that in order for this to happen it took
a very dedicated Mommy to take her time, money and energy to
give this opportunity to Makenzie and many other little and big girls.

I'm really proud of you Kelly.

.....and that's why I take the time to celebrate National Dance Week.

Have a blessed day.


being grateful in all things

959.  a safe flight for Melissa
960.  a visit between sisters, no matter how brief
961.  adults who take the time to invest in children
962.  two Dylan nights this week
963.  a new book to read



We just got updated pictures of Muri
(our sponsor child from Trees of Glory for those new to my blog)

It has been a joy to get to know our "little girl"
over the past three years.

We receive letters from her letting us know how she's
doing in school,  her favorite things and what God is doing in her life.

She is the cutest, sweetest little thing and she is doing so well.

Sometimes the pictures of the children from pre-sponsor days and afterwards
are so dramatic.  But I will have to say our little girl has always,
even from the beginning, has been so full of life and has the sweetest smile you can imagine.

When you have a sponsor child that you pray for daily, she becomes 
an important part of your life.  They are part of your family.
We have her picture up right along with our kids and grandkids.
She is one of us.

We truely love her.

This is the first picture we received of Muri.

This is Muri three years later.
Oh my how she's grown from a baby to a little school girl.

To find out more information on how you can sponsor a child
like Muri, please click on the link
to Karen Wistrom's blog.  She is the co-ordinator for Children's Hope Chest with
Kind Hearts and Trees of Glory care centers.

"Sponsoring a child is a great way to help an individual child by ensuring that their basic needs (food, clothing and medical care) are being met and that they have the incredible opportunity to get aneducation!  As we all know, education is the key to a life of opportunity instead of a life trapped in grinding poverty.  An education gives these kids a chance to grow up and become the future leaders of their country!

Sponsorship is $34 per month and matches an orphaned or destitute child in Ethiopia with a family here in the United States.  The child and the sponsor family can exchange letters - and the kids absolutely treasure the letters they get from their sponsors.  Affirming words like "you are special", "I love your smile", "Good job in school" are rarely heard by these kids, and they keep the letters and store up every word in their hearts."

                                                                      - Karen Wistrom-

Although it's not required, if you choose you will be able to visit the care center on one of the sponsor
mission trips scheduled yearly.  It is definitely on my bucket list in the future.  I can't wait to meet Muri in person.    Thank you for considering this opportunity.

Being grateful in all things.....

951.  Karen Wistrom and Children's Hope Chest with all their hard work
952.  people stepping up to help
953.  volunteers helping the tornado victims
954.  awards night at Taylor's school
955.  lost and then found granddoggie
956.  my vitamix blender that gets daily use, sometimes twice
957.  my sweet husband who always takes care of my car
958.  rain


Happy Birthday Mom

Happy Birthday Mom!

Yesterday was our beautiful mom's birthday.

We began our celebration with fine dining at 
le Cracker Barrel


then back to Mom's for dessert

Mom and her babies

Happy Birthday Mom!

We love you and celebrate you!


I'm joining Ann Voskamps Multitudes on Mondays

Being grateful in all things......

934.  Mom
935.  highschool graduations
936.  my sister's new pregancy
937.  listening better than speaking
938.  family celebrations
940.  dinner club with my siblings
941.  morning walks beginning again
943.  the deer peering in our window the Saturday night at midnight
944.  a family friend released from earthly pain an in God's arms
945.  chick-fil-a peach shakes
946.  upcoming road trip to see grandbabies
947.  "nana's night" with Dylan
948.  a beautiful Easter celebrating Jesus
949.  a new picture of Muri
950.  my family


Look what's out!

Just in time for my birthday

Chick-fil-A Peach Shakes

They are sooo good but they have sooo many calories

This is my one and only this season.....

Definitely.....quite possibly........maybe.......

well, perhaps one more


Catching up....Part 3



Taylor is in her Junior year and she has begun the journey of looking at potential colleges.
My niece lives in West Palm Beach and is a nurse and Taylor is maybe, possibly, just might be
thinking of becoming a nurse.  My sister happened to be going down the weekend they were
having an open house at FAU so she asked if Taylor would like to come along and she'd take her
by one of the colleges she is considering and get a chance to check it out.

1st college road trip:
Florida Atlantic University

They got to tour the facility, speak to a few people in the department,
see some of the campus and most importantly
check out the shopping in the city

Thank you Aunt Kim, Uncle Pat and cousin Brittany for such a fun weekend
for Taylor.

When did it happen that my baby girl is ready to look at colleges.
(insert tear)


My birthday surprise

As a birthday surprise, Mike whisked me away for a two day trip to a beautiful hotel in Tampa,
The Epicurean.

(I didn't bring my camera so I just have a few phone photos)

It's a new food and wine themed hotel that offers modern design,
amazing food/wine and even cooking classes if you choose.

I would advise anyone who will be near the Bayshore Drive area to check it out.
It's normally a bit pricey but we got an extremely good deal with a military discount and
going during the middle of the week.

There was a very cool barn door to the bathroom
 I've never liked this decorating trend
that is until I saw this one up close  
Loved it.
Just trying to figure out where I could use one.

Our room had a beautiful garden patio.

Probably the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in.

That wasn't the only surprise.  He also got fourth row center
seats to see Jersey Boys at the Starz Center for the Performing Arts.

To say I was excited was an understatement.

The Starz Center in Tampa was very large and quite lovely.
I'd never been there before.  We usually go to plays and musicals at
The Bob Carr Center in Orlando.

I will say the people seemed to dress much more casual at the Starz Center which 
my husband really appreciated.  Very few people were dressed up like they tend to do at the Bob Carr.
There were even people in shorts and jeans.

I want to give a big thank you for my baby sister, Michelle and her mother-in-law, Jill who
helped Mike get such great seats.  We had a great time.
For those of you who haven't seen Jersey Boys, you really need to go if you get the opportunity.
One of the best I've ever seen.


Cousin Easter Egg Hunt

Usually there is a cousin easter egg hunt for the extended family at someone's house.  This year, even
with Easter being late, time just seemed to slip away.

There was a last minute executive decision made to throw
a quick one together at the park.  It turned out to be the best decision ever and I hope the
young moms who plan the easter egg hunts do it that way every year from now on.

They brought pizza, cookies and eggs that they had already filled up.

It began at 6:00 in the evening so it was already cool.  There was plenty of sunlight
left.  The kids played on the playground while the food was set up.
We took a group picture.
They ate cookies and cupcakes while the eggs were hid.
They hunted the eggs and proceeded to go through their treasures.
Played a little more before goodbyes were said.
Then home well before dark.

No one had to clean their house, host everyone and then have the task of cleaning up again.

It was so relaxed.  

The cousins:

We missed having Makenzie, Brody and Kylee with us this year.

Some easter cookies I made.

This was the best group shot I could get with pretty much everybody looking in the same direction.

I love this shot.  You can tell who's excited to begin.


My birthday

On my actual birthday, my wonderful daughter Melissa brought over dinner to celebrate.

She brought me a delicious citrus chicken and Reisling.  Yummy!

I had some easter egg cookies left over from the Cousin Egg Hunt.

Taylor made me some lime and pink lemonade cookies that were amazing.

Mike picked up some cupcakes from a bakery which were so good!!!!!

As you can tell, we had no shortage of sweets.

It was so fun to celebrate with my family.
We missed Ryan, Kelly and their families this year but they were
 with us in spirit.

Why is it that my birthdays seem to roll around faster and faster each year.
What's up with that.


Dylan's sleepover, Easter style

Even though Dylan sleeps over most Fridays (Nana's day), when we have
a holiday near we try to celebrate.  
We use every opportunity to have a celebration around here.
Hopefully memories are being made.

We did eggs.  This year we did tatoo eggs which didn't 
work out to well with impatient little boys and 
we painted eggs.  We skipped dyeing them because I knew
he and his mom would be doing that the next day.

We also made a picture for his mom.
I purchased a wooden cross (hobby lobby for 99 cents) and
used a thick piece of water color paper.
I had him choose some colors and we just put the cross on the paper
and as I held it down, he painted outwards from the cross in they way he wanted.
When your finished painting, remove the cross and the cross shape will remain.

The end results.  He was so happy to give his mommy an easter present.

After baths while I was picking up the craft material he did his usual
hour of playing with his knights, army men and cowboys.
I can't begin to tell you the countless hours he has enjoyed those figures.

We watched the movie Hop and Charlie Brown's Easter Beagle special.

We read our Easter books and then off to bed.

We had our usual pancakes for breakfast (his only breakfast request)
which were egg shaped.

And before he goes home he absolutely has to have a lazer gun war with Poppy.
Which may or may not be very loud and annoying but they love it.


The only thing that would make these fun nights better is if Makenzie and Brody lived
here to enjoy them with us.  But I try to do my best to squeeze all the fun in 
on the weeks I get to visit through out the year.

It's really hard on this grandma to have grandkids that live in a different state.


Easter Breakfast

I still like to make Easter baskets for my kids and grandkids.
I usually make a group basket for the families and then the little grandkids get their own.
It's just filled with little things and a few candies.
I made my grown kids with families a burlap bunny easter door hanger.

As we are sitting down to breakfast, someone is not to thrilled to eat and would rather be opening
his basket or doing anything else.  Can you tell who.

Dylan had a small egg hunt in our front yard.
Not sure if there is such a thing as too many egg hunts.

The Easter Bunny was very clever in his choices of hiding places.

A few family shots.

Melissa made us this lovely easter box.  She is always so sweet and creative.


After they left Mike got busy making an Easter Bunny cake for our nieces and nephews
so we could drop off on our way to my mom's house that afternoon.

I even made a few crafts and my own bunny cake to take to my mom's.

We had such a great Easter morning feeling so blessed on this special day.

He has Risen!!!!!


Our Extended Family Easter Celebration

Every year all of my sisters and brothers and our families meet at my mom's house
at 4:00 in the afternoon for our big meal and visiting with each other.
Most everyone tries to make it including friends that are like family.
We've been doing this since I was little and I can't imagine it any other way.
It's very casual and covered dish style and it's just the best.
This year was extra special because there was a big announcement to make.

My baby sister is pregnant.
What a clever way she choose to surprise everyone and
make the big announcement.
Thanks pinterest.

Doesn't she look fabulous!

Michelle and my Mom!

Linda is a really good family friend who is going to be a second grandmother to 
our new addition.  

We are really happy for Damien and Michelle and their new blessing.

 family and friends
easter 2014


above, my nephew Hunter and I share close birthdays usually near easter so
we generally get a birthday cake together.
Isn't he just the cutest boy teenager ever.
I love having him as my birthday twin.

My sister Kim (3) and I found these t-shirts in St. Augustine
when we were there earlier this year.  We thought they were adorable.
Number 2 and 4, not so much.
But they were great sports and wore them with us.
We keep threatening promising the boys (our brothers)  blue ones for next year.
Kim, I guess we need to schedule another trip next February.

This sweet little thing is my younger sister, Michelle's niece on her husband's side.
Damien's mom, brother, sister-in-law and niece were able to join us this year.
Her name is Gray and she was the best baby ever.

egg hunting

Well, that's a wrap.  I do believe I've caught up for the most part and am
promising myself to never let this happen again....
Hopefully anyway.