Monday, August 8, 2016

Evening "Daddy Time"

Every single day when Drew comes home from work, he gets to hear loudly, "Daddy's home!!!!!!" coming from the sweet little voices of our kids as he steps through the door. That is, IF he is not first hearing that exclamation as he is driving down our driveway, while the kids are running along the driveway jumping up and down.  What a "welcome home" greeting!!!

This picture is from December 2014.  Abbey was exclaiming "Yay, Daddy's home!" as he was pulling into the driveway.

I sat outside with the kids one day waiting for him to arrive and grabbed the camera to snap some photos of the pure joy in their expressions while seeing him pull into the driveway.  I need to do that again.  While, the kids are a couple of years older, their expressions of joy are still very similar.

And, let me tell you--it's not just the kids that are screaming with glee, "Daddy's home!!!!"  In my head, I am too!!!!  But, I am usually in the kitchen with my hands full finishing dinner preparations.  Thus, I am not typically running out to meet him when he arrives.  Although, my heart is.  :-)  When he arrives from work it is like we are complete again!!!  There are so many things we want to do as a family when daddy is home, but we only have about an hour after dinner is finished.  We fit in as much as we can though.  These times are super special and I am sure the kids will always remember these times together.  Here are just some of those special moments I captured one recent evening after dinner with daddy.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Pooltime Fun!

We moved into our house about a year and a half ago.  One of the things I liked least about our home when we were looking to buy it was that it had a pool.  Drew and I were very anti-pool at our home for various reasons:  safety, maintenance, cost. But, the house had absolutely everything else we could imagine wanting in a home and more.  Plus, we really felt this was the home God completely led us to.  So, we bought it.

We are shocked at how much we love having a pool.  Y'all--it doesn't cost much to operate at all.  There is a fence around it and we aren't too concerned about the safety issues, since we are always with the kids when we use it.  And, maintenance is very simple.  We take care of it ourselves and it is extremely simple.  We have a robot who vacuums the bottom every night (he came with the house as well).  We have had so many fun family moments at our pool.  I am sure the kids will have great memories from swimming together in that pool!  I am so glad we jumped on buying this home.  And now, the pool is just one of those many reasons.  Who would have thought?  There is absolutely no way we would have ever paid to put a pool in at our home.  For one, it cost WAY too much money.  But, buying a house that already has a pool is like an added bonus.  Now, we know that.

We even hosted a whole afternoon block of private swim lessons for 2 weeks at our house for our kids and a lot of our friends.  The kids loved their lessons and progressed very quickly.  The lessons were such a big experience for Abbey, that she pretended she was the swim teacher for her stuffed animals over and over for a couple of months.  She would replicate her experience repeatedly with her stuffed animals, using the same language and key words that her swim teacher used.  It was fun to listen in on those pretending moments.

Abbey and one of her friends with their swim teacher.

Abbey and one of her friends shared a lesson since they were similar skill level.

Luke practicing his back float.
  Last Christmas I received a Go Pro as a gift and the pool is a really fun place to use it.

I am looking forward to seeing these kids grow as swimmers here.  Who knows, maybe someday they will be on a swim team?

Here is a fun video of some our swimming fun with the Go Pro:

Friday, August 5, 2016

Family Food Challenge!

When we visited our Oklahoma Family for the 4th of July weekend, we had so much fun.  On July 3rd, my nephew, Brody (9) and brother, Jason (he may not want me to put his age--ha) planned a really fun event for the family.  They, like us, are big fans of all things Food Network related and created their very own "Family Food Challenge."  They took some of the fun concepts from several of their favorite shows and made a game for the family.  Each participating couple would be given a secret ingredient (by random drawing) for both a main dish and a side dish.  Then, they would be tasked with creating a delicious, creative main dish and side dish highlighting those secret ingredients.  In addition, they were to create dishes that relate to or remind them of the 4th of July.  Also, they would be judged on creating a video describing those dishes.  They would do all this (including shopping for groceries to make the dishes) within a 2.5-3 hour period.   Oh, and I might add that all 4 teams shared one kitchen.

Brody was the host of the event and did a fabulous job.  He is holding the Grand Prize Golden Spatula.

That sounds like a pretty difficult task--but 4 teams stepped up to the plate and conquered that task.  Drew and I were judges for the event, along with my dad.  Also, since Drew and I love photography and videography, during that 2.5 hours we took pictures and videos of everyone and then I put it all into a little movie production.  Snapping photos with our good camera, editing them quickly, finding music for the video, snapping videos, importing them and trimming those videos, creating the video presentation and then exporting it:  this all took a lot of time, but Drew and I work well as a team and got everything done just in the nick of time.  Thankfully, when all the cousins are around, the kids kind of babysit themselves--ha!

My brother, Jeremy, representing one of the best in the kitchen--our mom.


My sister's super fun in-laws were in town from Iowa and participated as a team as well.

We decided we want to remember how this all went down for the future.  We want to make this an annual event.  So, for future reference, this is how each team was scored:

Flavor:  max of 10 points per side and main dish
Plate Presentation: max of 10 points per side and main dish
Video presentation and How the Dish relates to the 4th of July: max of 20 points for both dishes
Use of secret ingredient:  Max of 10 points per side and main dish.  

While the three judges (Drew, my dad and I) and Brody met together and calculated the total points, I also completed the presentation.   We decided that showing the presentation would be a really fun way to announce the winners.  So, the first time they saw the video and photos from the event, was also when they saw the winner announced at the end.  It was so much fun to watch their reactions to everything, since they were all so focused on the task at hand during that 2.5 hours.  They got to see what each of the other teams came up with and we had a lot of good laughs.  Here is the video that includes tons of photos from the event, the video presentations from each of the teams and the announcement of the winners:

As you can see, this was a lot of fun. I was honestly surprised at how creative each of the teams were with what little time they were given. Also, I thoroughly enjoyed tasting all the food. Everything was delicious! And in the end, there was only 1 point separating the overall winner and second place. I am sure all the teams are excited about returning next year! I know I am looking forward to tasting everything again--ha!