Photos courtesy of Ryan Prouty

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

We are still alive!

No joke, this was a box packed by one of the boys when they were "helping"! We actually had fantastic help and lots of muscle on the day we moved. It was unbelievable that so many people from Agape and our church would show up to help us out. We were so blessed!
Alayna's new room
The boys' room (Gabe's bed is a trundle)
Living/dining room (still a mess!)
Master bedroom (also still a mess!)

Just wanted to let you all know that we survived our move on Saturday and we are getting settled. We have no phone or internet for a few more days...back to cave times!! We are getting lots of unpacking done and working hard. We all have a place to sleep and we are getting the rest of the spaces organized! Please use Agape's address as our permanent address. We are renting, but are looking to buy, so don't know how long we will be here. As a reminder, that address is 100 Airport Ave E, Venice, FL 34285. Our phone number will stay the same (when it gets changed over to the new place) and we hope to hear from you!

Monday, June 8, 2009

For Daddy

Normally, I do these blogs for our friends in Iowa. Today, since we are actually in Iowa, this blog is for Daddy who is still home and missed out on this day.Yesterday was a monumental day for Alayna. Out of the blue, she asked me on Friday if she could get her ears pierced. That is the moment I have been waiting for for 5 years! I have wanted to get her ears pierced since she was born, but Paul wanted it to be her choice since they were her ears after all. I agreed and have waited SOOO patiently! We are at my mom's where she has a collection of play jewelry, and I guess that gave her the idea! I snapped this picture (above) just before we left for the mall...with a full entourage! We had lunch with our dear friends the Williams, so Kim and Sarah and Mom and Jo went with us, and John was the ghost cameraman!
Here are Sarah and Alayna as we wait our turn in Claire's.
It took a while to choose those first pair of earrings. Everyone wanted something different. Alayna eventually got to choose for herself. We did have to compromise, she chose the biggest square (5mm) cubic zirconias that they offered. We compromised at the 3 mm size.
Sarah found several ways to occupy the time!
She was so ready and so brave!
They gave her a bear to hold and a sucker to keep her occupied! She waited patiently for the 2nd person so both ears could be done simultaneously.
While the entourage watched and waited too.
And posed for pictures by the ghost photographer!
We waited so long Alayna's tongue tuned yellow, much to her delight!
We pinned her hair back out of the way in preparation...
And both ears were marked with a purple pen.
Mom got to inspect and approve before anything was done.
The earrings were loaded and ready...she is beginning to feel a bit of trepidation...
Off they went with just a bit of pain.
Then, oops, one of the posts was bent and didn't make it through the ear AND got stuck in the gun thang dang (to coin a phrase from you, honey) and wouldn't come off. She was SO brave (but wouldn't agree she was brave because she cried a little) and eventually it was dislodged.
THEN, she had to have that side done all over again. Major bummer. It hurt more than I told her it would and she totally called me on it! I had to apologize and explain that that wasn't what usually happens.
She got over it quickly and let me clean her ears.
Then I had to sign away all rights to sue over the process and agree to take care of them for her since she is a minor. No kidding! I was cracking up!
A kiss from Aunt Jo-Jo and all was rosy again!
Then, she had some fun with some of the things in Claire's as I paid for the process.
Aunt Jo-Jo consoled her with a carousel ride too.
And back at the Williams' home, we all had blizzards made to order with whipped cream, chocolate sauce and anything else you could imagine! It was quite the rite of passage for her and quite a memorable day! Thanks Kim, John, Sarah, Brandon and Nichole for a great lunch and for sharing our day! We missed you Daddy and hope you get the whole story though these pictures!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Status update: life is CHAOS!!

The last two weeks of school were kicked off with a trip I took with Gabriel up to Tampa to Adventure Island water park. We had so much fun! He raised enough money at the Victory Run fundraiser at school that he and I got to go for free! It was fun to spend the day with him, ride the water slides and get to know the kids in his class and their parents and even a teacher better.
The lazy river was freezing! We had clouds most of the day (good for saving us from terrible sunburns) and even a little while of rain at the beginning and end of the day, but it was a great day!

We took our own lunches and had a picnic while we were there. Gabe ditched me for a while to go hang with his friends. He had spent the entire morning with me and we rode all the water slides together with the exception of a couple on the opposite side of the park. I can't believe I have a child old enough to go off with his friends at a water park! It was small enough that I felt okay with it for a little while. I guess he has to grow up eventually. I got to know his PE teacher and some parents better while we were all ditched together! Near the end of the day, I realized that I never got to the water slides at the other end of the park and I was all cozy and dry, but I was afraid I would regret not experiencing it ALL (since I won't get to go back any time soon!) I verbalized this to the group of parents and three of us ladies got adventurous and hurried over there to squeeze in some last minute fun. We had such fun! We ended up doing the monkey bars over the water with the lily pads on the water thingy too just so we could say we did EVERYTHING in the park! By the time we were done, we ran into Gabe who still hadn't made it over to the last ride and I went a couple more times with him while everyone else waited for us. It had started raining again by now. But I was so proud of myself for being the fun mom instead of the party pooper mom! Not that I'd ever be a party pooper...
This goes all the way back to Mother's Day. Holden made this for me and it cracked me up! He wrote me a message in English and Spanish! And, he thinks I am a good cook!! A memory to be saved for sure! Also for Mother's Day, I got to get my hair cut and hilited!! WOO HOO!

Paul went with Riley's class on May 27th for a class trip to Myakka River State Park.

They got to take a giant air boat ride! Paul was disappointed because it was like a bus on an air boat and you didn't get the wind in your hair and the noise of the fan motor etc. I would agree! But it still looked like a fun way to admire the alligators...from behind the glass!

I am forever assigning picture taking of Riley to Paul...I can't believe he is actually ALMOST smiling for the camera!The kids walked all the way to the top of the lookout tower to look out over Florida and take pictures.
It was a long way down!!
They stopped for a group picture along the trail to the canopy walk.
This is a picture for Papa Ron and Grammy Lori. here is Alayna in the swim suit we got her while she talked to you all on the phone on her birthday. Sorry for the random insertion of this picture here...
Gabriel received a Flat Stanley that needed a tour of our town...we were terribly delinquent in showing him around because baseball was our lives when he arrived. We finally got motivated! Sorry O'Rears, Flat Stanley did finally have a good time!!
We fixed Chinese food in his honor and Gabe shared with him.
Paul gave the grand tour to Stanley at Agape.

Alayna had a birthday party at the YMCA! This is the first time we have ever done this kind of party with any of our kids and we were SO blessed to be given some money to "do something special on Alayna's birthday." This was what we decided on because Alayna wanted nothing else! When I called to make the reservation for the party, it was all booked and we thought we were back to square one. Then, a couple days later, Alayna received a birthday party invitation for the same day we had planned her party (2nd choice, pool party at our house with 5 friends), from a girl in her class having a gymnastics birthday party at the YMCA. OH NO!! After a few seconds of panic, I decided to call her mom and see if they would share the party (and the cost). The agreed and we were all so excited about how it turned out! It was much less work for all of us and it was affordable for us!! Special thanks to Jerry and Natalie Gehling for making this special party possible! Happy Birthday to Dade too!
They did an obstacle course gymnastics style for a long time going through the activities and having such fun!
The birthday girls shared the orange chair of honor to open presents. Now that was chaos too! The YMCA had helpers who wrote down all the gifts and who they were from for us! It was so nice, we could almost enjoy the party! Now, what did I do with that piece of paper.....?
They got to decorate their own cupcakes with frosting and sprinkles. That is code for a fabulous way to save time and hassle!! They had a great time with it!
Alayna and Rachel were wrapped up in the middle of the parachute and then the kids ran back out to the edge of the circle with their end and untwisted and unwrapped them while giving them a fun ride!
Rachel with her parents Bridgit and Max.

Our birthday girl in the orange chair.

Alayna and friends Mary Katelyn and Zoey
Paul had a birthday too. He turned the big 4-0 this year! We celebrated a little more low key with a few dinner guests and his favorite cake: Dairy Queen's ice cream cake that includes absolutely no cake at all! You can see Paul took it very seriously and dressed to the teeth for the occasion!
Next on our exhausting agenda: get on the plane for IOWA!! You can see wen got to enter through uh...belly of the plane! This was the first trip in a plane for Riley that he could remember. We travelled half way around the world to Thailand with him, but he was only 16 months old, so this was special for him!
All the kids in Gabriel's class from Heritage came to the Comfort Suites (thanks McIlravy's!!) for a pool party in Gabe's honor. My heart just swelled with love for these kids. They are such an amazing group! They played together so well, there were no clicks, no making fun of anyone, they all love each other and get along so well. OH, how I have missed that for Gabriel! Just having friends whose parents we know and trust...oh how I took that for granted! It takes time and we are getting there slowly, but I really appreciated those kids last night!! You all are amazing!! DON'T EVER CHANGE!!!I didn't get my act together for a group picture while everyone was there, so my heart is broken, but I am glad we caught these kids before we left!
Wow, where do I start with this picture??? Yes, Alayna got a new summer do!! It is much easier to take care of and I am starting to agree that it is adorable...but it wasn't my idea and so I am not terribly excited about the 7-10 inches of hair that she her own hand. Luckily there was enough there to work with still and make a cut summer do. That is all I will say about that for now.

Okay, I have to end this monster post and get back to work! We are so glad to be back in Iowa (Paul remained behind to work...since he is the breadwinner and all), and can't wait to get together with all of you! You can reach me on my cell phone if you would like to plan something to get kids together, have a playdate, lunch date, etc while I am here. Unfortunately, I have no charger, so its not on for now, so leave me a message and I will check them and get back to you! Or you can call me at my mom's!