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I love to laugh and love with my family, read, exercise, cook and sew, all the while giving thanks to God for his immeasureable love and faithfulness to me.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Family Reunion Take 2

After getting together with my side of the family a few weeks ago, last weekend we got to hang out with J's extended family.  Never a dull moment, I tell ya ;)

A road trip was called for so that all of Grandma's brothers and sisters--there are 6 of them all together, plus children and grandchildren, could celebrate the oldest brother's marriage of 50 years!! What an accomplishment, especially in this day and age!
We road tripped all together with Grandma and Grandpa.  Borrowing a big ol' Suburban started the trip off right with the younger set.  They loved the extra space and all the bells and whistles--ha!
Staying at a hotel--with a pool!!--also made them pretty pumped!  Can you tell they love swimming with Daddy?  Actually anytime with Daddy makes them beam.
J's older brother drove 6 hours to join in the festivities.  These guys--what a bunch of goofs!
Family drove in from all over to reconnect.  Isn't it wonderful when something positive brings everyone back together?
 There were lots of hugs and opportunities to be silly.
The girls enjoyed being at a "fancy" party and meeting everyone.  We spent quite a bit of time talking about how to make a good first impression, how to carry on a conversation, etc.  They did so well!!!
After dinner, it was time to bring up the happy couple.  Grandma spoke briefly because she had been one of the bridesmaids 50 years ago.  Her brother and sister-in-law talked about the ups and downs they had faced, but how ultimately, God, faith and family had made them stronger and brought them through it all.
 Then it was time for some dancing.  Slow songs--
 and fast ones!
 It might have gotten a little crazy when "We are family" was played
 or when the DJ put on "Proud Mary".  The girls LOVED watching all the action and joining along--
 and even got in on some line dancing!
Do I spy a dab?!
I even got to dance a few with this guy--yay!
Our lives are so busy, but it is always such a blessing to be able to slow down, reconnect and press in with family.  I'm not sure the next time all of Grandma's siblings and extended family will be together, so it was a treasure to have this time with everyone!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Back to school traditions


As a child, the back-to-school tradition that I loved most was "girls day out".  My mom and I would go out to eat (my choice, naturally!) and then we would go shopping for back-to-school clothes and supplies.  It was always a great time of bonding (even in the teenage years) and I highly anticipated it each year.
Since I have two school age girls this year (whaaaat?!), I got the privilege of taking each one of them out for their own special day.  I had such a fun time individually with of them!
First up was the Noodle.  We dropped Mei Mei off at Lala's and then we got our shopping game on! We had our list ready and hit up Tar-jay.  Thankfully this year her list wasn't as long or extensive as in years past.  After everything was crossed off, we were exhausted!  A special treat was definitely called for and she chose fro-yo.
We chatted and laughed and she talked about how she was feeling starting 4th grade.  I know she loves 1:1 time so this really fit the bill.
A few days later it was Mei Mei's turn.  On that day, we had decided to join our friend for a shopping/lunch date down in AsiaTown before the two of us went off on our own.  As I've said before, both girls love spending time with L and her family.  They are always so gracious to us and have really helped J and I bring the girls' Chinese culture to life in a real and meaningful way (see here, here  , and here ).  Such a blessing from God to have this family as close friends!!
Those would be live eels in that cooler :/
With full, happy bellies Mei Mei and I said hello to Lala and goodbye to the Noodle and then it was our turn to shop. When you're 5, going to Target (again) perhaps isn't always quite as fun and exciting as it is when you're a bit older-haha, but she was a good sport.  She was VERY happy about getting the items off her list and wanted to make sure that she was the one putting the things into the cart--NOT me.
I was hoping to buy her a new outfit for the first day, just like Claire, but when you're being super particular about what you want (i.e. a dress with straps and a zipper down the back) sometimes things don't always pan out.  She didn't seemed fazed and instead was more interested in trying on the Elsa trucker hat with long rat-tail braid going down the back.  That did not make it into the cart, much to her disappointment.
We ended up at one of our local ice cream shops and goofed around a bit while we gobbled up the cold treat.
I'm so glad that I had a chance to take each one of them out for some special one-on-one time before the school year begins.  It was especially meaningful for me because I go back full time to teaching in just a few days.  Aaagh!  I have LOVED this time off, being at home, but I also knew that I would be going back to teaching, so all in all, I feel at peace about this new season of our lives beginning. We'll see what the fall brings!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Family Reunion Take 1


This past weekend all of my mom's family (plus my Nana and brother--yay!!!) came up to visit. Lollie's one of 5, so when significant others and kiddos are included, it makes for a fun group!
Friday night everyone came over for a taco bar.  I feel like tacos are an easy way to feed a large number as well as take into consideration various dietary issues (beef? chicken? beans/rice? corn? flour?).  They are also dead easy to prepare and most of it was done in advance so there was little to do once everyone got there, except enjoy a cocktail!  If you're looking for an easy, tasty dip, I'd totally recommend this one!
It was still hot and muggy out and had just poured, adding to the sauna-like quality, so we decided to just hang inside.  All of my photos are horrible because I think my phone was dirty.  Boo.  
Saturday morning Uncle came over for pancakes after running 15 miles (whaaaa?!?). Midway through breakfast he hit the wall and went back to Lollie and Papa's condo and slept for 2 more hours.  The older girls decided to go shopping and hit up a few local shops as well as a few thrift stores for my teenage cousin.  Almost everyone found a little something--score!
Saturday night we all met at Lala and Papa's out on their condo's patio.  It was a beautiful night! J, Uncle and the girls went swimming and everyone else sat around chatting.
Papa was busy on the grill and once again, he did not disappoint!  His two sous chefs were eager to assist ;)
Anytime they get to spend with Uncle is a good time.  It was wonderful having him home to visit, even if it was for a short stay!
Never a shortage of love!
She may be 9.5, but I still love it when she sits on my lap ;)

On Sunday, since Uncle had the luxury of sleeping in, we decided to go to 11:00 service so he could go with us.  We of course had to take our traditional post-church walk around the block when we got home.  Then, after lunch, we smothered Uncle with hugs and kisses since he was going to be leaving.
It was a busy, whirl-wind kind of weekend, but so good to see everyone and catch-up!  Next week we're going to be busy visiting with J's side of the family, so we have another reunion coming up!