Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Party Time!

Wow, the month of April flew because of all the special events and parties! Here are pictures of the many highlights.

We missed Dan like crazy the first week of April while he was touring Europe with his Senior Class.  We got to FaceTime or call him every night, which was a huge blessing. He sent us pictures of the amazing places he visited in France, Italy, Germany, and the Czech Republic so we could experience it vicariously. 
The Eiffel Tower in Paris

The Coliseum in Rome

Gondola Ride in Venice
In the meantime, Emma's class was ramping up for Spring Break by having a special Noah's Ark week.  The kids had stories, snacks, crafts, and special (animal) visitors all week. On Friday, they got to dress up as animals and their parents and families were invited.
We dressed up as a bear, a ladybug, and a pony.

I'm pretty proud of Emma's homemade pony costume, made with a hooded sweat shirt, yarn, and foam board for the ears. I don't really enjoy crafts, but I am going to have to get over that if we don't want to spend unnecessary money on all her school projects and events. For the next 14 years. (sigh)

A view from the front.

The special guest in her classroom that day was a miniature pig!

Emma's class, dressed up for Noah's Ark Day.

After the half day at school, we joined a couple of the kids and their moms at Chick-Fil-A for lunch.
April is the busiest birthday month for our family. We had so many celebrations!

Two of our nephews had a joint birthday party.  Aaron (shown on the right side of the picture, looking at the cake) and Josiah (sitting on the right side just below Aaron) had birthdays in March, but we weren't able to get together to celebrate until April 1st.

The cousins played all evening together, and the younger kids pretended they were camping. They'd collect their pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals and move to different rooms in the house to camp out.
Next, it was Dan's mom (Grandma's) birthday!
We went to her house to play, went to the playground, and then had dinner with all the family to celebrate with her.

A couple of days after Grandma's birthday party, the best thing happened:
Dan came home from Europe!

After two weeks overseas, his group had a layover in Atlanta, GA, only to have their flight cancelled because of bad weather! They were stuck for an extra night in Atlanta, and had to ride a charter bus for 10 hours to make it home the next day since flights were still cancelled. He was exhausted, but so happy to be home!
Our niece, Meera's, 2nd birthday was in April, too! Unfortunately we didn't get to celebrate with her in person, since she lives in Boston.
This little girl has a zest for life! She is the sweetest thing, and we wish we got to see her more often!
Emma's 4th birthday came next, which you can read about here.

And the next event was Easter. The girls got prettied up in their Easter dresses.

We made a few attempts at a good family photo at church, and these were the best we could do.
The girls were more interested in each other than the camera.

The girls got Easter gift bags, since I forgot to buy baskets.
Hallie is not sure what to do with her gift bag.

She got a shape-sorter bath toy!

Emma got new Play Doh and Play Doh toys.
She loves her My Little Pony Play Doh mold.

After church, we headed to Tim and Dawn's house for Easter dinner and an Easter egg hunt. Our older nephews, Benjamin and Nathan, very kindly waited to give the younger kids a head start finding eggs.

The next birthday party was for my dad (Papa)!
We took him to Texas Roadhouse for dinner.

 And enjoyed Nothing Bundt Cake for dessert! Yum!
Our niece, Miriam, also turned 2 years old and we had a fun party at her house to celebrate.
 It was perfect weather for the pool.

She was the cutest thing blowing out her candles!

Dan's dad (Grandpa's) birthday came at the end of the month, and we celebrated his birthday along with Miriam's.

It was a party-filled whirlwind of a month! 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Emma Turns Four!

We are loving so many things about Emma at 4 years old!  She has turned into such a big girl and we love watching her grow and develop. She is so bright, creative, and funny.  She surprises us almost daily with the things she knows and the things she can do now.

Our neighbor across the street handed down this scooter that his daughter outgrew. Emma took off on it right away!

She has so much fun being Hallie's "toy manager". She tests out all the toys and makes sure that Hallie only gets safe ones to play with.

She has a great imagination, and can turn the simplest things into a fun game.

Emma loves role-playing and acting out scenes from her favorite cartoons. She's pretending to be Rainbow Dash here, a brave, fast-flying My Little Pony.

One of her favorite new games is pretending to be a circus performer. She choreographs a series of stunts and then performs the sequence over and over for her appreciative audience.

This time, she is Marshall, the fire fighter pup from Paw Patrol.  The marks on her face are temporary tattoos that she somehow convinced me to put on her.

She was thrilled the next morning when her tattoos were still there. 

She got into Nana's curlers and makeup one day. A preview of her teenage years.

Our little chef

She's wearing her safety goggles and designing a house on her piece of paper. Emma has become a good artist and loves to draw and paint.

She loves running around outside, and always wants to run the fastest!

She's gotten so brave about climbing everything at the playground.

She also loves to be silly. All. the. time.

Emma's birthday was April 14th. She got a donut with sprinkles for breakfast.

We went to Dan's parents' house to celebrate with our families.

Emma loved playing with her cousins, having a My Little Pony them for her party, and opening her presents.

She's been refusing to eat cake or cupcakes recently, so I made a brownie cake for her.

She got so many fun gifts, including this awesome My Little Pony suitcase from Uncle Steve, Aunt Sheila, and Meera, who weren't able to be at her party.

The weekend after her birthday, we took the girls to a Princess Tea Party. Some of the high school girls from Dan's school dressed as Disney princesses. It was so much fun, but Emma was absolutely terrified of speaking to the princesses. 

One of her friends from school, Remy was there, also.

She was such a little princess drinking out of her first real teacup and saucer.

Dan with his sweet princesses. This was Emma's reaction when any of the Disney princesses spoke to her. Ha!

Right after the tea party, we rushed to a local park where Emma had a joint birthday party with two of her classmates who also had April birthdays. Elisha is on the left and Quint is on the right. Having a second birthday party really confused Emma, who thought it meant she turned 5 years old.

The decorations and party favors. We had a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme.

Pizza and sides for everyone to enjoy.

Emma modeling some of the dress-up party favors.

She led the way climbing up to the top of the playground

Having fun with her classmates, Remy and Diana.

We brought the roller coaster that Grandpa and Grandma gave her to share with her friends. 

Hallie had a great time at Emma's party and didn't want to nap because it was so exciting!

Dan praying before lunch was served.

Emma's teacher, Mrs. Bennett joined us at the party!

There was a fun Mickey Mouse piƱata filled with candy. 

Emma, Quint, and Elisha were supposed to wait to open their presents at home, but they just couldn't resist taking a peek. :)

Emma said it was the BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!

We pray that our beautiful 4 year old will grow to be a kind and courageous girl who loves God. We know that He is using the difficult experiences in her life to shape her, and we hope that it will make her compassionate and helpful to others who are going through difficult times, as well. We love you, Emma, and are looking forward to experiencing this year with you!