Monday, August 22, 2016

Daddy and Daughter Tickle-Fest

When Jillian tried to climb her daddy, he got her with some serious tickling, which they both thoroughly enjoyed!

And then they were tickled out.

By this time, Daddy was tired,,, was his littlest girl.

Jillian is too far young to remember this riotous tickle time, but I'm guessing that Aaron won't soon forget this very special evening with his 13-month-old just days before his first son was born. God gives such good gifts!

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Wonder of Water Play on a Hot Day

During Anna's overdue wait, we passed one day by going to a nearby splash pad. A free treat for the little girls.

Eliana and Hope had wanted to cool off on the splash pad with Brielle and Evelyn, but the age limit was 8 years old. So instead, they sat with their sister and watched their nieces' fun.

After plenty of time for joyful squeals as they kept cool, Anna dried them off for ICE CREAM...Cincinatti's own "Graeter's". Seriously YUM!

Our splash pad adventure was rated a success by us all!

Monday, June 13, 2016

After Tying the Knot

Very soon I'll be able to share Kirsten and Nick's wedding photos. However, as we wait for those, I thought I'd bring you their gift opening which we celebrated on Saturday.

This gift was given by a kind couple who supplied the newlyweds with some necessary baking supplies. A note saying that whenever the wife moves into a new place, one of the first things she does is bake to bring coziness and familiarity to the new surroundings through the yummy smell.

This gift included a wall plaque that said, "When life gets too hard to stand, kneel." Great wisdom!

Throughout the gift opening Bella longed to help!

As soon as the gifts were opened, Kirsten turned her attention to our dogs. I think the bride has missed her puppies!

As it turns out, Nick's mom, Lori, is quite a dog person. Faith, Bella's trainer, was encouraging the good behavior of the mutt.

She spent quite a bit of time winning shy Bella's heart. But, in the end they were fast friends.

While Bella and Lori were developing a friendship, I was enjoying watching the newly marrieds interact. What a joy of this mama to watch their love story blossom!

I know I'm biased, but I think they're really cute together.

I'm also grateful for how attentive Nick is to Kirsten in a group setting. You'd think she was the only person in the room! Of course, this is just as it should be after 2 weeks of marriage! We thank the Lord for their union, and our family prays every day for their marriage to grow strong and more beautiful! Kirsten's youngest sister, Eliana, (who grew up in the same Russian Orphanage) is quick to remind us if we forget to pray for the Bride and Groom at each meal. May God bless and keep this precious young couple!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Her Creativity Makes Up for Her Youth

Anna has an ingenious 2-1/2 year old. With greater accessibility to Mom's make-up while staying in our home, she decided to use Mommy's mascara wand to stir her Mommy's foundation. And, all of this while she was supposedly napping.

But Evelyn quickly learned that the act of experimentation then requires clean-up.

In this case, the clean-up meant a whole lot of scrubbing...

...and scrubbing.

You might notice in this photo that Anna is sporting a baby bump. She's due in mid July with their fourth child. Hmmm...I wonder what antics number 4 will think up...

Evelyn was very patient with the scrub down...

...which went on...

...and on...

...and on.

Until Mom reached the best part, Evelyn's exceedingly ticklish neck! This step resulted in uncontrollable laughter for the miscreant.

One would think that this long scrub would bring an end to Evelyn's interest in experimenting with her mommy's make-up. But, no. Anna put her toddler back down for a nap and returned to discover that Evelyn had colored herself with Anna's lip gloss. I do believe that all of Anna's make-up is being stored on the top bunk in the family's temporary quarters. Just writing this gives me the sudden urge to go check on the location of all the permanent markers in the house. Ta ta for now, dear readers!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sunday Lunch

After church today, a large crowd gathered round our dining room table. Dad spearheaded the meal preps...

...with John doing his best to keep up with the dirty dishes created by getting the food ready.

As busy as Nick and Kirsten currently are working AND preparing for their nuptials, we were so happy to have the engaged couple with us for the meal. After all, their wedding is merely week from today.

In the midst of wedding preps and Tina's high school graduation excitement, we've had to make a conscious effort not to lose sight of Kolya's 17th birthday today. Later we'll eat luscious Texas Sheet Cake to celebrate.

As we gathered around the table, lively conversation began immediately.

The young man courting Sarah, Alec, feels like a natural in this crowd.

Sarah's lab puppy, Ramsey, considers himself a necessity wherever food is involved. He got a bit cheeky about begging under the food-laden table...

...but a quick command from his momma and his manners immediately improved.

While Sarah was monitoring the behavior of her dog, Tina was checking on the antics of her puppy. Kaiya was a bit miffed about the being tied to a tree during the feast.

Matt was the last to come from helping with food prep to the table.

At that happy moment, the hungry birthday boy knew he was finally going to get to eat.

We enjoyed ham and green beans almondine...

...with the happy addition of a summer favorite, watermelon.

The only person missing as we enjoyed God's bounty was the young man courting Tina, who was celebrating his grandmother's birthday.

In the end, everyone was full and cheered by the fellowship.

As the eating wound down, Ramsey listened intently, hoping to hear some of his favorite words like park and walk.

I noticed toward the end the Kirsten was in her own world, I don't know if she was contemplating what she still has to pack for her move after the wedding. Or perhaps she was remembering the many times of rich conversation around this table. She and Nick will always be warmly welcomed in our home; they'll only be a hop, skip and jump away here in town. However in just over a week, they'll begin creating their own traditions.

My prayer for my beloved daughter is that in three decades she'll find herself as happily married as I am to this fine follower of Christ.