Posts Tagged ‘friends’

Max’s Banner

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

A few months ago we asked some close friends and family to help us put together a decoration for the kids room.  Each person was asked to create a pendant to hang.  It could be made from anything and in any design.  The whole idea is that we wanted those closest to us to be a part of his room.  After all, it takes a village to raise a child, right?  We did a similar thing with Mikayla when she was a baby, but we used wooden elephants.  Here is a picture of a few of them because apparently I never blogged about it!

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Here is the "finished" version.  And I use finished loosely because we are still waiting for some and the hope is that it will be constantly added to over the years!

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MAX was made by the three of us.  M was Mikayla, A myself and X was all Ben (it is hard to tell here but it is a treasure map where X marks the spot).

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Mikayla wanted to make a separate banner to hang.

And there you go.  Our little village in the bush of Swaziland!

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Posted in Life |

Mattingly Time

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

In looking back through some pictures the other night I stumbled across the pictures I took while Mikayla and I were staying with our friends Lylah and Lara.  I realized that I never posted those anywhere and they were so fun I thought I would go ahead and do it now.  Better late than never.  We had a blast on our few days with these dear friends, and Mikayla asks often when she can go back and play with Lylah and reminisces on our time there!

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We had a movie night one night and Lara had this genius idea to make snack necklaces.  The girls spent time lacing different foods (i.e. fruit loops, cheerios, pretzels, gummy rings) onto string and then wore them during the movie to snack on!

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Concentrating hard!

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Cheesy toddler grins.

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Making pizza for our movie night.  Please note that Mikayla is not really helping out, but licking her spoon!

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Enjoying the movie (The Lorax) and having a picnic dinner.

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One of the local farms was having a fall celebration so we hit it up.  Mikayla loved riding the horse.

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Especially with her best buddy!

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Aren’t they sweet?

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First face painting.  She was so serious about this.

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Trying to get a good picture of two toddlers is almost impossible.

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Pumpkin picture fun.

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Love this face!

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Mom it is so heavy!

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One of my favorite snaps of these two crazy girls!

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Posted in Life |

2012 Kickert Olympics

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Over the past couple of weeks we spent a lot of time watching the Olympics as a family.  When we told Mikayla she was going to have her very own Olympics she got really excited!  We spent a week of our "school time" learning about the Olympics, Olympians and London.

The week began by discussing what the Olympics were and where they were going to be held.  Mikayla got to choose five stuffed animals/babies to act as her Olympic athletes.  (Totally got the idea from here and here).  We then got out her map book with flags that the sisters had given her for her birthday and she randomly chose countries for her athletes to be from.  We made tags with the country flags to hang on each athlete.  Here you can see her athletes and a flag we painted to correspond with the country hosting the Olympics (Great Britain/London).

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Doggie – Liberia, Cinderella – Myanmar, Cat in the Hat – Jamaica, Rabbit – Antigua and Giraffe – New Zealand.  As you can see she had quite the variety.  On the day of the Olympics she chose soft baby as her athlete from Swaziland.

After the athletes were chosen and flags distributed we plotted out on the world map where their home countries were.  We then used a string to show how long it was for them to get from their homes to the Olympic games in London.  This was a really neat visual for Mikayla and we spent lots of time talking about how they would get there, how long it would take, who traveled the furthest, etc.

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We also spent time talking about the Olympic rings, torch, and other various Olympic symbols.  I also used some ideas and worksheets from this unit.  We made/painted a paper plate Olympic ring craft, but didn’t get a picture of it.  Then on Sunday we hosted our very own Olympic games.  In addition to the three of us, we had Joe, his mom and Katie all come out to watch and even participate in some of the events.  Below you will find a picture recap of the "Olympic Games". 

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Ben carrying the "Olympic flame".

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Joe and Mikayla waiting for the lighting of the torch.

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Olympic athletes and Mikayla admiring the torch and awaiting the start of the events.  She also marched around the torch with each athlete to the Opening ceremony music before the flame was lit.

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Daddy teaching Mikayla the appropriate way to begin a sprinting race.

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First event – hurdles.  With that form, I think Ben could be a real competitor!

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Runners set…GO!

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Baby jumping hurdles.

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And Mikayla jumping right behind her.  We have a really fun video of this process that I will hopefully post soon!

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Ben and Joe demonstrating how to fence.  It was Ben’s idea to put the athletes in their pants/belts to compete so their hands were free.  Mikayla thought this was extra fun!

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Mikayla fencing with Joe.

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And then again with daddy.

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We had inteded for this to be the long jump, but Mikayla kept calling it the high jump.  Basically she ran up to the stick and then jumped when she reached it, or threw her athletes for their "jump".  I also have a fun video of this that I hope to post soon.

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This was Mikayla’s reaction when I told her that it was time for the marathon race…I think I would have reacted the same way!

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We convinced her marathons were cool by having each of our "spectators" compete in the event!  I took pictures and took some video.

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For basketball she tossed a ball into the basket…clearly she needs some practice with this!

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Shotput – check out that form!

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Discus with a frisbee.  Note the tongue of concentration!

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Medal ceremony.  Doggie won bronze, Giraffe silver and Mikayla won gold! 

Some events did not get captured though.  Those include floor routine (dancing to music), speed walking, and sprint races.  Out of all the events I think her favorite was the hurdles.  She kept going back to them!  It was a great day and I think everyone enjoyed themselves!


This Week’s Happenings 1/16-1/22

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

A bagel obsession began this past week.  It started by making Finding Joy in My Kitchen’s Pumpkin spice bagels.  They were super easy to make and very yummy.  When those disappeared in a day (we shared some with the sisters of course) I started pondering what I would try next.  The next day I was bored while Mikayla was napping and decided to try adapting her recipe into an apple cinnamon raisin bagel.  I swapped the pumpkin (which I used butternut squash in the first place) for some homemade apple sauce, added some raisins and about a teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg for the spices.  I kept everything else the same.  They were also delicious.  Ben wanted some onion and garlic bagels, so while my apple ones were rising I used this recipe to make a plain bagel.  Before cooking I brushed with a watered egg white and then sprinkled on a mixture of onion flakes, garlic powder and coarse salt.  They were a little heavy on the garlic, but delicious!

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Garlic and onion are on the left and apple, cinnamon and raisin on the right

We also tried our hand at making hummus with our tahini paste we found over Christmas.  Delicious as well (even if it was a little lumpy since we don’t have a food process or blender)!  In the states we always bought hummus because it was relatively cheap and convenient.  However, making your own is just as cheap and probably healthier.  Plus, you can season it to your own personal taste buds…an added bonus!  We also made a maple bacon biscuit that was pretty tasty.  This one was definitely not healthy, but we love all things bacon!

It rained a lot on Monday so Mikayla got a chance to play in the rain.  Please excuse her lack of clothes, this was a spur of the moment decision.  In hind sight, we would have put her in her bathing suit, but oh well!  I think she loved it!  Turns out the rain was actually the remnants of a tropical cyclone (hurricane) in the Indian Ocean, no wonder it rained so much.  It ended up being cloudy and raining off and on for the rest of the week.  Not complaining though because it kept the temperatures lower.  I actually slept covered up with the comforter most nights!

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We also spotted a couple of new birds this week.  Anyone care to venture a guess as to what they are?

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This is the same bird as the first one, just a little cloudier of a picture and of course one is a male and the other a female.

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This guy was extremely hard to capture, but if you look closely you will be able to tell what it is.

On Saturday we headed to Matsapha (where the airport is in Swaziland) to pick up a long term volunteer, Janet.  By a strange twist of fate, she also happens to be from Kentucky.  We met her briefly during our first trip to Swaziland. She will mostly be helping at healthcare with the pharmacy, but I am sure you will be hearing a lot about her in the upcoming weeks.  Next week, Sister Diane’s nephew, Joe, will be arriving.  He will be here for at least a year, but probably two years.  I hear he is a bit of a computer guy, so now Ben will have someone to talk tech stuff with and I won’t have to fake acting interested.  I don’t really care that he set up a Linux box with an IMAP/SMTP server running over an 802.11g wireless network with WDS capabilities.

Sometimes daddy likes to play blocks with Mikayla, but we decided that he is not very good at sharing.  Every time Mikayla would take a block or knock his tower over he would get very upset.  Especially when he was trying to make the largest possible tower using all her blocks.

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Pushing Mikayla out of the way while building his tower.

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Look at that tower!  And don’t you just love the "capris" Ben is sporting?  In his defense, it was muddy and he was trying to stay clean.

Mikayla sported a couple of new dresses this week.  Some were hand-me-downs from very special friends and others were remakes of items in the house.  Check her out:

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This dress belonged to a very sweet young lady who lost her battle with cancer in March.  Her mother, Jennifer, gave us this dress just before we were leaving.  We spent a lot of time talking about sweet Bella on the day that Mikayla wore this dress.

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One morning I asked Ben to put a skirt on Mikayla and this is what he came up with.  He was in the kitchen and was feeling lazy so he just grabbed the Dr. Seuss apron that my friend Lara gave me for my birthday last year.  I think it works pretty good as a skirt too!

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Last, but certainly not least, is this fabulous hand crafted dress courtesy of Dacia and Callie!  It is actually the dress I used as a model for Mikayla’s two year old birthday dress (also made by Dacia). Callie has outgrown it, so in an awesome care package from our friends (thanks again everyone) Dacia sent it on to Mikayla.  It is still big, but we love it anyway!  Lots of years of wearing for this dress!

To end the week – who doesn’t love a spoon covered in chocolate icing to lick clean?

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Mrs. Dacia’s Dress–Then and Now

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

I was just talking to my dear friend Dacia last night about how big Mikayla is getting and how she has outgrown the fabulous dress Dacia made her for her birthday.  This mornign when Mikayla chose her dress she chose one that Dacia had made for her first birthday (over a year and a half ago).  I was shocked to find that she could still wear it comfortably!  It is the dress that keeps on giving!  Thanks Dacia for all your craftiness you send our way!

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Then – April 2009

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Now – November 2011

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Posted in Life, Parenting |

This Week’s Happenings 10/24-10/30

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

Ben went into town on Monday for a big Global Fund meeting and got a great lead on a car.  He stopped by the mechanic who Cabrini uses for a lot of their vehicles and he had two for sale.  We are working with the mechanic to get a few issues taken care of and then possibly purchasing it.  It is Suzuki SVU (similar to a Rav 4 but with full 4 wheel drive).  We should find something out this coming week.

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On Friday Ben went to Nelspruit, South Africa to drop off the sisters vehicle at the airport.  In the meantime he was able to check out one of the malls.  He said that if you didn’t know any better you would think you were in the US.  It will make a great little getaway town if we need a feel for the US.  He was also able to find some Gold Mountain sauce which we use in our Asian cooking.  We have developed quite the spice/condiment rack since arriving!  For the most part we have been able to find everything we needed/wanted.

This week seems to be the week of creatures!  It rained most of the evening and night on Friday and Saturday brought forth a whole new world of creatures!  It started with a (very brief) walk that Mikayla and I took after her nap.  While walking bugs of all sorts were crawling over our feet and flying around us.  Needless to say we turned around quickly and headed home!  Then Saturday evening while Mikayla was taking a shower our house was swarmed by flying termites.  By far the craziest thing we have seen yet!  Thousands of these flying termites were flying around the house and 20-30 found their way inside the house.  Sunday morning we woke up to find a porch full of their wings (which ironically look like helicopter seeds from the states).  A lot gross and a little cool I guess!

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Flying termites – Ben posted a video on Facebook if you want to really see how crazy they were!

We also found these guys in our front yard.

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Not sure what this guy is…any guesses?

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Giant African Land Snail – Steve we thought you would like these!

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And we finally got a picture of one of my favorite birds this week.  Needless to say it was a week filled with new creatures!

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Of course the big rain on Friday meant we were without electricity for 14 hours or so!  We have gotten pretty used to going without electricity, but 14 hours was a pretty long time.  We were lucky in that everything in the fridge an freezer made it through the power outage okay.

One of the most exciting things to happen this week was we discovered that we now have 3G at home. I am not sure what all the means, but it does mean we have faster Internet which means we can do things like call people from our computers and occasionally video chat.  It is still really expensive and the faster the Internet it is, the more you spend to be online.  We were able to make a few phone calls to friends this past week.  We haven’t done so previously because it is so expensive to call from our cell phones (around $1 for thirty seconds to a minute).  It was nice to be able to call folks without having to wait for them to call us!

On Saturday evening our friends John David and Brittany continued our tradition of having our annual Halloween Party.  We were sad to miss/host this year, but glad the tradition continued!  Because we now have 3G we decided it would be fun to wake up during the party to "see" everyone.  So we woke up at 3am and after a couple of failed attempts we were able to video chat with our friends.  It was so great to "see" everyone and take part in the festivities a little.  Our costumes were a little lame (on account of us waking up in the middle of the night), but we dressed up as a couple of sleepy heads!  Mikayla even woke up to see her friends, although I am not sure how much she remembers!

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We went for a brief walk one evening and it turned dark so Mikayla had to wear her "torch".


Girls Only Trip

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

I am making several posts tonight for several reasons.

1. I have some spare time and Ben is out of town.

2. I haven’t had much to say until recently.

3. I have been super busy trying to get in last minute visits with friends and family, see places I want to see before the big move, and prepping for the big move. We leave in about a month, July 19 to be exact. I haven’t posted much about it because I have been busy trying to prep our house and lives so that we are prepared for it. That seemed more important than blogging about all the details we were dealing with! Once the move is complete I hope to post more about the process and all the fun stuff.

With that being said, last week Mikayla and I took a girls only trip with our dear friends Lara and Lylah.  For Mikayla’s birthday they gave her a trip to the zoo.  So, we packed up our bags and headed to Lara’s parent’s house in Indiana, just outside of Evansville.  We spent Wednesday afternoon and evening swimming in their fantastic pool, eating a delicious grilled steak and salmon meal prepared by her dad and vegging on the couch catching up.  On Thursday we braved the heat and headed to the Evansville Zoo.  The girls had a blast and actually outlasted their mothers.  The heat got to us before they were tired of seeing the animals and playing.  It was a great trip!  Thanks Lylah and Lara for the awesome birthday gift!

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My little water bug!  She was pushing me away so she could swim "on her own".

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Two little cuties!

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Ms. Sassy Pants herself.

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Grilling time.

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Checking out the animals.

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Lylah was a champ when it came to feeding the giraffes…

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Mikayla on the other hand was a bit timid.  I am blaming it on the duck incident from the week before!

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Posted in Life, Parenting |

Clips for the Congo

Friday, April 8th, 2011

In case you missed this post, my friend Lara is working towards adopting a child from the DR of the Congo.  I am partnering with her next Saturday, April 16 from 9-3 to sell our hair clips and other crafty creations to help bring her baby home.  The craft bazaar will be at T. C. Cherry Elementary School and will have a variety of crafts and vendors set up.  However, I must say the best booth will be our hair clip booth!  I hope that you will plan on attending and helping to support Lara and her family, and pick up a few hair clips for all the cute ladies in your lives!  You can check out my shop page or Lara’s album on facebook for some samples of what will be there.  There will also be some new, never seen before items that you don’t want to miss!  Hope to see everyone there!

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Posted in Life |

Atlanta Girls Weekend

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

I have posted about my friends Catherine and Dave before and how very special they are to us.  This is why, with our upcoming move, we are trying to make the most of every opportunity we can to spend with special people like them!  When Ben mentioned he was asked to spend two weeks in Swaziland, I jumped at the chance to spend some time with Catherine and Molly.  We decided to meet in the middle for a long weekend in Atlanta, GA.  It was a great trip filled with laughter, late night gab sessions, shopping and some fun for the girls.  I would have liked a few more days with them, but I will take what I can get!

We stayed at the coziest little Bed and Breakfast called Hello B & B.  It was within 15-20 minutes driving distance from all our destinations (except for the outlet malls which were outside of town).  It was quiet and the perfect set up for traveling with toddlers.  The room we stayed in was split room with two queen size beds.  We could put Molly in one room and MIkayla in the other and they couldn’t see each other to distract from sleeping.  Then we could sneak out into the living room area to talk while they snoozed.  Perfect!

We completed a lot in just a few days, and I was definitely exhausted when we got back.  We went to IKEA (someday when we return I want to complete my house with IKEA furniture), the Children’s Museum, Outlet malls, Trader Joe’s and the Aquarium!

I wasn’t a very good photographer while we were gone, I got too caught up in everything.  I did manage to get a couple of good shots though, and Catherine took a bunch of great ones so I will just steal her copies! 

The Children’s Museum – We were joined by a couple of school groups on this day.  The girls didn’t seem to mind, but it made for a very noisy and crowded museum.  Eventually they went to eat and watch a performance so it quieted down a bit.  Mikayla of course loved bouncing from station to station.  Only staying at one long enough to look around before venturing to the next.   She really enjoyed the ball station and water station.  She actually got really made when I had to make her leave the water station because there were too many kids!

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Ball Station – she did not want to let go of the balls!

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Sand station

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Water Station – she definitely has her "cheese" down!

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There was a special exhibit for Africa set up while we were there.  Here she is examining African fruit and veggies.

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Just hanging out in the a fishing boat!

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A little camel ride!

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In the African set up there was a small room filled with bongos.  It projected you on the screen playing with some African musicians.  She loved banging on on them and watching herself.  Uncle Christopher would be proud at her rhythm.

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Attempting a picture of the girls.

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Milking a cow!

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Painting…this kid loves to paint!

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Kitchen station – she was in heaven with all the food and kitchen equipment!

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Outlet Malls – One night we hit up some outlet malls about thirty minutes outside of the city.  We ran into some traffic issues so it took us much longer than that, but no worries we found some great deals.  And the girls loved playing in the rides outside of the stores, even if they weren’t on!

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Dr. Seuss, Atlanta 048  Cat in the Hat ride!  Can you sense her excitement!

Georgia Aquarium – The day we chose to go to the aquarium just so happened to be "Dress like a princess or prince day and get in free"!  So the place was filled with lots of royalty.  To say it was crowded was an understatement.  We did not take strollers, thinking they would have some to rent.  We were wrong!  So we ended up packing the girls around for several hours looking at the fish.  We couldn’t let them walk much because there were so many people!  My arms were so tired after the aquarium.  I think they had fun, despite the crowds.  These are probably some of the worst pictures from the whole trip!  Sorry about their bad quality!

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Loving the "fishies"!  We signed fish more times than I can count this day!

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Cool overhead tank.  Notice the princess crowns and dresses.

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She loved the mermaid so much…

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…she wanted to kiss it!

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In a penguin crawl tunnel.  You crawled through to see the penguins up close.  Mikayla loved it the first five feet and then got scared so I had to carry her while crawling to the middle where she could see the penguins.

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This is towards the end of the aquarium, notice how tired we both are!

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Attempting to touch a stingray.  Unfortunately she was just too short and I couldn’t hold her over the tank enough. 

All in all, we had a great weekend.  The drive home seemed to take forever (partly because I was so tired, and partly because Mikayla refused to sleep)!  Thanks Catherine and Molly for making the drive and hanging out with us for a bit!

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Posted in Life |

Adoption All Around

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

It seems that everywhere I turn people I know are adopting, in the process of adopting or considering adoption.  Adoption is something Ben and I talked about long before we got married and hope to still one day bring home a little one who needs a home.  Now is just not the time for us!

However, it is the time for my dear friend Lara and her sweet family.  They just turned in their adoption papers for the DR Congo and are beginning to think through fundraising ideas.  Today she posted about their first idea.  You can read about it here.  Would you consider helping a good friend bring home their sweet baby by purchasing one of their Africa magnets with a heart where DR Congo is located (or a hair clip, key chain, pin)?


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Posted in Life |