Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

You know it was a happy spring break when it takes you 3 weeks (ish) and 4 separate blog posts to finish writing about it.  This was that sort of year, and if you missed the first few parts, you can catch up here:

Part I– The Shirt War

Part II– The Funny Stuff

Part III– Legoland Discovery Center

 

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

We now live in Georgia, so we decided it was time to re-visit Callaway Gardens. It has been 15 years since we were there before. 15 years ago to the day we re-visited, almost. Alan proposed to me on March 25, 2002, on the lake beach there. We returned on March 26, 2017. Pretty cool, huh?

Us, 2002, Callaway Butterfly Gardens. He proposed on the beach there.

We enjoyed re-enacting it for the boys. Caleb took pictures for you, but I didn’t like how I looked,so those will be on the blog never…

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Daniel, taking off for that beach.

The boys were all supremely disappointed that they didn’t have their swimsuits with them, but it was a touch chilly for swimming still, and we wanted to scope out the whole place that day. We can go back to swim anytime.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Ever since we left California, and my beloved Point Lobos, I have had no place here to go and just revel in the beauty of nature. Actually, my back yard is pretty awesome because I do see red cardinals and an occasional snake (*shudder*), and I find little brown balls that lead me to believe that deer are occasionally jumping our fence, but Callaway goes beyond that.

Here at Callaway, our little family was all at peace and excitement, as we hiked the trails, visited the butterflies, and even got to see a captive falcon with a wingspan as big as me!

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Caleb will tell you. Everyone in our family knows it. It is not possible to take Caleb anywhere that there is water of any kind and bring him home dry. He will always be beckoned in so far that he will always leave soggy. We love that about him.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

This was a half-mile trail, but in the southern heat, it feels like more. Thankfully, some of it is shaded. I loved it. Absolutely loved it. It felt like home to me.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Me, feeling like I’d found my new Pt. Lobos.

There is something about being outdoors that is nourishing not only to your body but to the depths of your soul.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Friends, come visit us. We will take you on this trail.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

There is something splendid about a boardwalk over water, and yes, there were turtles and fish to gaze at.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

I was also reminded why, by the time I was a teenager, I thought I didn’t love being outside. When you grow up in the South, MOSQUITOS reign! Yeah, wear bug repellent if you do anything like what we were doing here. And sweat, of course, sweat. Mosquitos and sweat. Still worth it though.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

I don’t think a person can look at a bed of tulips without feeling a little better.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

A small dogwood tree! How I’ve missed dogwoods!!

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

outside the butterfly center

Normally, tons of azaleas would have been in bloom, but a week prior a cold front had come through and killed all the azaleas at my house that were blooming or budding, so there were none. I also read that azaleas bloomed early at Callaway this year. That would have been such a beautiful sight to behold, but alas, we missed it. A week later the late azaleas did finally show off in our area, so that was some comfort.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

The 4 of us squeezed onto a swing. They have a dozen of these swings outside the butterfly center. Now you know I love me a good swing.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

inside the butterfly center

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

The butterflies were of course all over, and we were all excited to be a part of it…..except John David. JD sort of whimpered the whole time and got all sorts of freaked out if a butterfly flew anywhere near him, and so our time in the Butterfly Center was cut short.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

After a butterfly actually landed on my hand for a few minutes, the boys took to trying extra hard to get one to land on them.

But alas, it never happened. Sorry boys.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

JD, in panic mode…Butterflies are apparently terrifying.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

watching an educational film on butterflies

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

The boys all took turns carrying each other on their backs, and how sweet are these 2?

Daniel kept picking John David up and carrying him, and JD only weighs 10 pounds less than Dan, so we started referring to Daniel as the ant man.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

My camera phone died before I got to photograph the giant bridge with the water, over by the Discovery Center, which is one of the most beautiful parts. Next time! Because you know there will be a next time!!

 

“A cheerful heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.”  Psalm 17:22

 

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”        Psalm 19:1

And now it’s back to work. I hope you all manage to squeeze in a little sunshine time today.

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Our Morning at Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

Legoland Discovery Centery

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

We all had to see how much we weighed in Lego bricks.

If your kids have never been to Legoland Orlando or Legoland in Southern California, you should totally just tell them this is Legoland and never have to book the larger vacation. They’d probably be totally satisfied.

Of course, we actually did go to Legoland California, and I wrote about that here and here. Our boys are obsessed with all things Lego, especially our younger 3, so these vacations were the perfect fit for us.

This year we saved $$$$ by staying local for Spring Break, and Legoland Discovery Center was the perfect fit. The boys knew going into it that this was not going to be like the theme park. It’s more of a play center, and they saw a commercial for it on one of their Lego movies, so they were all happy.

We are firm believers in managing expectations. Give them low hopes and over deliver. That, my friends, is the key to spring break happiness.

 

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

mini Atlanta, built out of Lego bricks

Legoland Discovery Centers are scattered throughout the country, in many of the bigger cities, and this was our first time to visit one. This particular one is located in a large shopping mall, deep into Atlanta.

By the way, Atlanta traffic was not nearly as aggravating that day. We miraculously managed to keep our car moving forward, not sitting still, the entire time we were on the road.

 

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

Every kid in the place was quite impressed with the Lego Braves baseball field.

We booked in advance because that saves you a few dollars on each ticket. When you are a party of 6, a few dollars on each ticket adds up fast.

I also found this deal on Dealspotr. It will give you a free child ticket with purchase of adult ticket, and it expires April 30, 2017.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

There are several Lego-building stations.

When you book in advance, you also choose a time to arrive. We did that because we didn’t want to drive all the way over there and then the place be full and have to wait in line. We waited in no line to get in, and we waited in the shortest lines ever to go on the rides. That makes this non-line-waiting-Momma very happy.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

Check out Daniel’s stylish new, overpriced bomber jacket.

Did you know that these bomber style jackets are in this spring? Yes, indeedy, but the only one of us to own one is Daniel because he was so cold the morning of Legoland, and it was his BIRTHDAY, so we went into one of the pricey mall stores and bought him this cute jacket.

It wasn’t cold once we got inside Legoland though, so he didn’t even get to wear it that long. But that’s okay. No one should be miserably air-conditioned cold on their birthday.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

This shuttle has a count-down and then goes up a foot.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

How cute is this tiny Lego NASA control room?

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

not happy JD–We had given him the Lego man kit, but he wasn’t happy until it was built.

As soon as we got in, JD began to ask to build Lego men. JD’s interest in Lego is pretty much limited to just the men at this age. All of our 3-year-olds have been that way.

But JD took the request to the level of whiny, repetitive begging that will put your teeth on edge. All the building stations are for bricks, not tiny men.

After listening to his tale of woe for a solid 10 minutes–I mean it could have been 5, but when you are listening to a toddler in despair 5 minutes feels like 45 minutes—-Alan said, “Well, I wanted to wait to give them their men until we get home so they don’t just lose them.”

“What Lego men? Is that what’s in that yellow bag? Our admission tickets came with Lego men???”

“Yeah, but I mean it’s just like this policeman. I don’t know…”

“Alan, pleeeeeaaaase. I cannot keep listening to him saying ‘where’s the Lego men? I want to build Lego men.’ over and over again. I can’t.”

So we went on our first ride, a really fun one where you shoot the Lego bad guys with a little light that blinks, just like at Disney World, and that kept him completely distracted.

After that was over, we gave him the one Star Wars Lego man in the bag. He doesn’t even care about Star Wars, but he was so happy to receive a Lego man it didn’t matter. He was content the rest of the day. Yay!!!

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

all 4–It’s rare for me to get all 4 in a shot. How cool is the giant Lego Merlin?

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

You can’t go wrong with the giant playground.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

Daniel, running through the giant playground. Hmm. I guess he wore that jacket longer than I realized.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

See his little hand clutching the Lego man? Happiness came with our ticket. If you have one of these guys, go ahead and open the yellow bag and give them their Lego man.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

Selfie with Mom—or just Mom selfie…no one else seemed to notice. But you know I’m happy when I’m taking selfies. This was a fun morning. Of the 3 rides, 1 was actually a 4D movie, which I enjoy. Some kid activities are torture. This one was not; however, we also don’t have a baby anymore, so I’m less stressed than I used to be at these places!

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

This started out as JD building a tower. Joshua decided to help out his little brother.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

Pretty soon the tower got pretty tall.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

Everyone joined in.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

They were collecting blocks from everywhere.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

and it just kept getting taller

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

and taller

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

Until it was as tall as Dad!

And the little boy who started the tower in the first place (JD) was long gone, up in the pirate tower shooting a cannon over and over again.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

You might say we felt like successful parents for a good solid 2 hours there. 😉

That’s why family outings and vacations are so important. You get out of your house, away from your screens, away from your friends, away from your JOB, and you have no choice but to focus on each other for a little while. You have fun together, which strengthens your bond as a family.

I hope you all get to go on a few good family outings or vacations this summer. We did this and we did Calloway Gardens this Spring break. I’ll tell you all about Callaway on a future post. Did you know that Alan actually proposed to me at Callaway?

We also spent a ton of time chillin’ at home, with a lot fewer cares than we normally have. I wrote about that in Part I and Part II of my Spring Break 2017 series. We enjoyed those days too. Who can go, go, go ALL the time? That’s plain exhausting.

 

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

We did everything there was to do at Legoland Discovery Center, except for eat at the snack stand. Instead, we went to Johnny Rocket’s right across the hall.

We did everything in 2 hours, and everyone left happy. Everyone. Oh, and of course, we made time for the Legoland Discovery Center Store.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

Batman!!!!

I zipped through the store picking out a little box for their Easter baskets, yeah, it’s going to be an awesome Easter, and then I parked myself on a bench outside the store. Anytime I go to Lego anything with Alan and the boys, I spend time sittin’ on the bench. I don’t see how they manage to fill up that much time gazing at Lego sets.

This was a perfect family day out for us. It was such a breeze sticking to day trips this Spring Break, rather than a big vacation. Come back this weekend for Spring Break Part 4: Callaway Gardens! My new favorite spot in Georgia!

 

 

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Spring Break Part II: Funny Stuff They Said with Daniel’s Recipe Printable

Spring Break Part II: Funny Stuff They Said with Daniel’s Recipe Printable
Spring Break Part II: Funny Stuff They Said with Daniel's Recipe Printable

I love watching my boys play ball.

Having my kids home all day cracks me up. I mean literally, by 5:30, when my husband gets home, I’m a little cracked in the head.

But I love it. I do.

What do you do on the lazy days of Spring break? Well, for any parent who decides to stay home with the kiddos during their week off of school, these are definitely not lazy days. Duh, right?

But it’s still fun. I cooked 3 meals yesterday. Do you think anyone will notice if I only “cook” 2 today?

Daniel helped me make last night’s dinner. He even helped come up with a recipe.

“Mom, can we have a bowl of carrots for dinner?”

“Um, well…”

“And bwocowi! Bwocowi and carwats for supper. Nothing else.”

“Um, well…we do need to have some kind of meat. Chicken, maybe?”

“No. How about if you put the meat in with the bwocowi and the carwots, all in 1 big bowl?”

“Hmmm. Yes, that sounds good. How about this sausage?”

“Yes! Yes.”

Spring Break Part II: Funny Stuff They Said with Daniel’s Recipe Printable

helping me bake his cake….Actually, at this point he was lickin’ the bowl.

So Daniel and I made a delicious dinner that, believe it or not, was heartily consumed by all SIX residents of the House of Tiny Men.  Here’s the recipe. Alan made me write it down.

So I typed it out for you to print for yourself.

Just click on the link below to download and print the recipe.

Spring Break Part II: Funny Stuff They Said with Daniel’s Recipe Printable

Daniel’s Sort of Gazpacho

Okay, it may not be that pretty, but I promise it was yummy. Even my picky eaters did eat it, believe it or not.

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Daniel tries to hang out with the neighborhood boys, who are all 2 to 3 years older than he is. They are Caleb’s age, and as far as they are concerned, Daniel is just Caleb’s little brother. Daniel has been persona non grata to them.

I told Caleb he was going to have to tell them we can’t play if they can’t include Daniel.

Yesterday I sent them out to play, and I asked Caleb later how it went.

“Oh, I told ’em, ‘If you guys can’t accept the little guy, I’m going to turn you into rotten flesh.”

!!!!!??????

“Ew, Caleb! What does that even mean???”

“It’s from Minecraft.”

“What did they say?”

Caleb made a face that looked sort of like this          8 /

Nothing more was said. So no one said anything unwelcoming to Daniel. Raising boys is apparently not for the easily offended or overly refined….

__________________________

Spring Break Part II: Funny Stuff They Said with Daniel's Recipe Printable

The leprechaun came to John David’s class. I asked him who the leprechaun was. He said, “Jesus!” I couldn’t help it. I busted out laughing before I tried to explain Jesus isn’t the leprechaun.

It’s been a fun week so far. Lots of driveway basketball, Lego Star Wars video games, and popcorn eating has taken place.

Caleb’s genius plan for spring break was announced on Day 1:

“Let’s make a rest schedule for this week.”

I laughed, but he appears to be sticking to it.

Spring Break Part II: Funny Stuff They Said with Daniel's Recipe Printable

JD loves playing with the magnet letters he got from my friend Amy. Also, JD loves pajamas. He changes back into his pjs the moment he re-enters the house. Sometimes, when I’m going somewhere in the afternoon, I don’t even have time to change him for the 3rd time that day and he picks up his big bros in his pjs.

People probably think I never dress him. hehehe

Hope y’all had a great week too!

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Spring Break Day 1: The Shirt War, Full House, Jesus, and The Vote

 

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As we speak, Joshua and Caleb are playing basketball in the driveway while John David and Daniel are rolling around on the trampoline together. Alan is eating supper, and I am updating my blog for the first time in a week. Slacker.

I’ve been working on photo albums through Snapfish lately. Y’all, photo books are 70% off this month (March), so I am making as many photo books as I possibly can. I have about a hundred I could make since the last time I was caught up on photo printing was 2013…

One of my newly created albums came in the mail today, of photos from 2 years ago. One of the boys was a little embarrassed to realize that in this album was an adorable photo of the 4 boys reading together in a chair, and he was in his underwear. Just his underwear. I might have jokingly threatened to share said photo album with future dates. He might have retorted back that the page will definitely be torn out long before that. Sigh. Oh well.

The photo is safe for now, and the picture is so cute. I’d show you, but well, I am at least nicer than that.

I’m trying to hold the boys to just family parties this year. Well, family parties + just 1 or 2 friends.

I took a vote this morning, asking everyone here if they’d rather go hiking today or stay home. Everyone but Daniel voted to stay home, so here we are.

I tried to go walking, but it started raining on me so I cut that short. I passed Joshua on my way inside. Apparently, rain drops don’t phase him. He came in with soaking wet hair.

Y’all don’t want to know how many squabbles I have refereed today. Ugh. This should definitely count as a special skill on my resume. I am extremely experienced at sending everyone to different rooms.

We did have an epic game of driveway birdie tonight, though…wait. No, that’s not what they called it…badminton! I had to ask them what the game was called. Ha! But it was super fun!

Remember that Mother’s Day that they bought me a Badminton set, and so we played that for Mother’s Day? Only now, the boys are actually way better at it than I am!

Joshua, Alan, and I were sitting in the living room today getting quite a show from a new sport taking place on our trampoline. Daniel and John David were out there together, and we watched them take their shirts off and have a shirt war.

Joshua observed, “John David sure is good at whipping Daniel with his shirt!” They had a better view than I did, and they kept saying, “Ohhhh Owww  Whoa! Ho! hahahaha! Is he okay…..yeah.”

For some reason this game made Daniel and JD quite happy, so we didn’t intervene. Perhaps we should all try it…. ha!

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I came home a couple of weeks ago with the complete DVD set of the original Full House. Why? Because I’m the world’s worst person at sticking to any sort of budget…..also because we have already watched Fuller House, so I felt like the boys had to see the first series to understand it better.

Alan took so long at Walmart this afternoon, on a trip to buy Daniel’s birthday present and Tostitos, that we watched 4 episodes of Full House while he was gone. Our family is all about it right now, so don’t be surprised if you hear the boys say “How rude!” or “Have mercy!”

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I heard 2 funny quotes this week that I wanted to share.

1.”Who is I love Lucy? Were they zombies?”

2. A leprechaun visited John David’s school. He left them Skittles and a messy classroom of confetti and such. I asked J.D. who the leprechaun was. He didn’t miss a beat, “Jesus.”

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I came across some encouraging Bible verses in my reading today:

“Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.”   John 6: 15

I’ve been thinking lately about how apolitical Jesus was. He was never interested in power or rule or talking politics. He wanted to teach about God, love, and healing people. I feel like as Christians we need to persist in getting our message of love out to the world. Things of this world are temporary, but our souls are eternal. Love is eternal.

“Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”    John 6: 27-29

 

Believe. Faith. Hope. Love. Against such things there is no law.

And now on to the rest of Spring Break. 1 day down, 8 days to go. I’m excited. I still have a  great deal of refereeing ahead of me, but it’s worth it because I also have days of Badminton and shirt-whipping.

I’d upload photos for you to have a peek into our adventures, but my computer is so full it won’t let me upload anything new. Issues. I can only give you pictures that I can steal from Facebook. Triple sigh. You know that’s driving me crazy. But don’t worry. I will not rest until I fix this problem!

Okay, one more hilarious quote from tonight:

“Hey, Mom, I am five, and you are thirteen. No! 14. You are 14.”

hehehe Nope. I didn’t correct him. Is that wrong? I say no.

Have a great Spring Break, y’all!

 

 

 

 

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Spring Break and Easter: Family O’ Boys Style

monsters and Easter, now there's a match...

Spring Break is sort of over now. I say sort of because my oldest two spent last night camping in a treehouse and today hiking at the Pinnacles, so they aren’t exactly back in the books yet.

We decided not to go on vacation this year. Alan had to work on his thesis. I thought I was going to accomplish great things in preparation for the move. I actually spent most of it going to doctor appointments (insert eye roll) and handling Easter and birthdays.

But I can’t complain:

  1. My aches and pains are over. I’m down to nothing but plantar fasciitis in the mornings and a heart problem that’s mostly controlled by meds now. I have much to be thankful for.
  2. The move is ever-so-gradually coming together.
  3. I re-organized our entire storage unit in the school area today. Is there anything more gratifying than taking a space that has gotten over-cluttered and ORGANIZING IT?? I think not. I feel so happy. Giddy, really!
  4. The boys’ school registration for next school year is in the mail. Step one, done!

I feel good.

One failure: I took not one single solitary photograph of anything on Easter.

What was wrong with me? I was so concerned with getting to church on time–ahem–because they were serving breakfast– that I totally forgot to annoy people with my camera!!!

But don’t worry. I did take a few shots this week:

 

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Someone had a birthday. Happiest person in the world.

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This has already been built and broken and built and broken.

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There were some territorial disputes over a few of the gifts. JD promptly bathed with these toys, so I’m sure he feels they are his own, but don’t worry. Daniel can hold his own.

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truly getting into the world of pretend

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Cheese!

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Joshua saved this Lego set in the box all the way from Christmas until now to give Daniel on his birthday, and Dan was THRILLED.

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I made his cake, as usual. There was a runny-icing issue with “Happy”, so I had to go back over it. Oh well, Dan didn’t complain.

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best friends

 

We did take one afternoon to visit our favorite place in California: Point Lobos. We took a picnic dinner and everything. We’ve turned a corner. Before, JD was always this exhausting baby that couldn’t climb anything and didn’t want to hold your hand. This time he was a completely different little person.

JD took my hand almost the entire time. His climbing skills were impressive. He had just napped, and he was a true joy to have along. I can’t tell you how exciting this is.

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the expert hiker

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Such a beautiful photo of these two!

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always making it fun

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There is nothing so satisfying to a little boy as throwing rocks in a puddle.

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When they were younger, they could not keep up with us. These days we can’t keep up with them.

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What’s not to love about Point Lobos? I will genuinely miss visiting these trails by the ocean.

IMG_1947 IMG_1949 IMG_1964 IMG_1976 IMG_1978 IMG_1984 IMG_1995 IMG_1998 IMG_2002 IMG_2014 IMG_2020

 

 

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The weekend was so exhausting Daniel passed out on the couch.

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I promise we did participate in Easter festivities. Here they are painting eggs.

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Beautiful sidewalk art was created. (JD is obsessed with reciting his shapes. No, seriously. It’s adorable, and he totally gets the difference between an oval and a circle. He also calls stars “starfish”, which is the cutest thing ever.)

IMG_2046

 

Funny Quote of the Day:

We filled out Dan’s “About Me” poster for preschool. I love his answers. They were all him. I just helped him with the writing.

What do you want to be when you grow up?  An ice cream man

Three things about yourself: 1. I like to talk. 2. I’m good at riding my bike. 3. I like video games.

I am a star because: I talk to people nicely.

I show others I care by: show God and being a friend. I like to talk to people.

****I could just eat him up with all his talkin’ to people.****

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Happy Easter! Happy Spring!

Acts 2:24
But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

 

 

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