Double Nickels

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My Dad turned 55 yesterday. Over the last year, I had been sending out emails to every one of his friends and family members I could find, inviting them to write him something from their heart; a funny memory, or a simple reminder that he is loved.

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People came through! From across states and countries. Sending photos, cards, long letters. It was a magical moment watching as he realized what was happening. What was done all in his honor.

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Zack found a 1957 nickel at a coin shop, we paired it with a 2012 nickel as decoration on the gift- which he now has on his keys.  We searched through every bunch of change we could legally get our hands on over the past few months- with no such luck, which is why my brilliant husband thought to go to a coin shop! Such a smarty!

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He carefully looked over each picture, naming each person and telling us a little about them. We grew up hearing about these people but I never get tired of seeing his face light up as he talks about them. As it all comes back to him…

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He slowly read letter after letter, with tears in his eyes, stopping occasionally to wipe away the tears and thank us for do this for him. He had to stop when he got to the last two, my brothers Joe’s and my sister Audrey’s, I don’t know that he could take anymore at that time— ( I read them and wanted to cry. There was so much love on those pages.)

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I framed some of the pictures that were sent, and put the letters in a portfolio book so that he can keep them forever.

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Joe (above) being sneaky while propping the photo up for me.

Thank you all for sending letters cards and photos to my Dad! It did not go unappreciated.

Spring is Back!

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Spring is back in St. Louis, at least for a few days. It’s cool enough to go outside and enjoy it, so that is just what we did today! Over the weekend, my mother-in-law bought Penelope a Lego wagon, a.k.a. : Baby’s new stroller. We took a walk with the wagon full of Baby, her blanket, a snack and blueberry juice for any ‘breaks’ we might have to take.

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She decided half way through our walk that she wanted to be the one to walk Reese, who was very impatient and wanted to go at his own pace, so we both held the leash, so Mama could keep him in check.

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In the next two days we will be spending time outside, dancing in sprinklers, visiting the produce stand down the road, and taking more walks, next time with Daddy!

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I hope everyone else has a good week!
Making this a short post, Penelope is tugging at me and wants to help type… going to have movie time now – – –  Surfs Up again…

A Thursday in St. James

Yesterday Zack, Penelope and I went to St. James- 2 hours south of us- because Zack had an interview for a teaching position, while Penelope and I spent the day with our cousins, Anna and her three girls.

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The six girls (including me) went to the local Mexican restaurant in St. James for lunch (delicious!), and later to Slice of Pie later (also delicious!), when Zack was done with his interview.

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We stayed for supper, which was [thirdly] delicious! They had just butchered one of their cows, so we had steak, which was the best I’ve ever had, and baked potatoes an broccoli – all outside on the picnic table. It was an awesome day for us!

18 Month Update

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Penelope turned 18 months on Easter Sunday. I thought I’d give an update and let you know what she has been up to lately!
First of all, most of you know Penelope has been potty trained since she was 9 months old, well, she has been in pull-ups for a month now, and she is now to the point of letting me know she has to go with every little “number 1”! Which has been great for us and usually means only wet diapers first thing in the morning, although even some of those are dry.
Food training…well that seems to be heading backwards now that she wants to feel the texture of her food. She is good at using utensils, its just a matter of making sure she doesn’t get distracted and begin dunking her hands and/or napkin in her cereal milk, or squeeze grapefruit wedges between her fingers.
She is very into movies. Her and I have movie time once a day, after her nap, complete with popcorn, and she will watch the whole thing- and she chooses what we watch. We cuddle and snuggle and share snacks. She also enjoys Sesame Street, mostly Elmo, Dora-which I can only take so much of, and My Little Pony,
Dancing is a big part of our days as of late. Penelope LOVES. TO. DANCE! She breaks out her moves even to little songs playing in the backgrounds of commercials.
My girl has hit that independence streak, that may become more than a streak, but I’m hoping it’s a streak. Being selfish I guess. Her independence ranges right down to wanting to clip her own toe nails. Along with independence, comes her desire to help everyone with everything. Brushing Mama’s hair, grabbing our shoes and bringing them to us when we’re going somewhere, stretching to put dishes in the sink, putting trash (and other things) in the trash can, etc.
Words: : :
Da (Dad)
Ma (Mama)
Mmm-ma (Grandma)
Dog/Puh (Puppy)
Gah (gross)
Cah’r (Car)
Bur (bird)
Buh (please)
Ta. (Thank you)
Dah (down & done)
Mmm-‘tongue click’ (milk)
hah’r (hair)
Weee ( says while being tossed in the air by Daddy)
Baby ( She says this one pretty much right on the nose)
Bok (block)
Booh (book)
Foaw (flower)
> > > She is saying so many words, most of which only Mama can understand, but she sure is trying! I’m sure there are more but these are the ones she says most often.

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Finally.

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We have actually been back from our week long trip for two weeks now, but I am finally feeling up to blogging again.
Our trip was wonderful! We were able to see a lot of my family, and spent two days on the Georgia coast.

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April

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Its April! I would shout for joy that it is Spring, but it has been spring since January here! I took Penelope’s Easter pictures the other day, just incase I am far too busy to think about it on Easter day.
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This week I will be packing and double—make that triple checking to make sure we have everything. I’m not too far off when I say everything, looking at my list, I am packing just about everything we own-at least for Penelope—including three different types of diapers! Regular for the nighttime- pull-ups for the daytime- and “little swimmers” for the beach! 
Yesterday Penelope and I had pajama day, and she eventually gave up even wearing pants. We have been stuck inside the past few days-Zack has been using the van, and it has been either too hot or raining, so we’ve got  nudge of cabin fever, but we are making the most of it.
Next week we will be on our road trip to the southeast. We leave this Friday!
Well I better get back to packing…

Friday Round-up

The past few days have been pretty long ones for me. Zack has worked the last two nights and worked at his uncle’s doing some landscaping for a few hours each of those days. We tried to squeeze every ounce of time we had together, which was about three hours a day.

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Yesterday we took a walk by St. Charles Riverfront. Penelope was sure to let us know about each bird (“Bur!”) she saw and each puppy that strolled by got an enthusiastic squeal and a point of her itty-bitty finger!
We stopped by a covered stage, to let Penelope run around for a bit while some rain decided to pass by.
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Today our time together was spent at a produce stand and a late lunch at Culvers.

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Penelope brought along her shopping cart, and could not have been happier to enjoy the freedom of the open isles.

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She helped us out by pointing out things we just had to get- tomatoes, plums, and oranges. Girl knows what she likes! If they had had blueberries, she would’ve wanted them all!
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We might be going to the circus tomorrow with my sister and her kids, and eating shrimp with fried rice and pineapple on the side for supper!
Happy Weekend!
The week in photos: : :

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Spontaneous Saturday

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Yesterday, Zack and I had plans to go to the zoo with my sister but decided the night before that we had a lot to get done and it was Zack’s last day off for the week, so we cancelled.

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Around 11 o’clock we had cleaned the car and straighten some things up, it was a beautiful day, and was not meant for any living creature to remain indoors. So we began our adventure!
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First stop- Lion’s Choice. They have the healthiest and cheapest kids meals around!
Afterwards, we made a stop at the Delmar Loop. My favorite stop there was at City Sprouts. One of my favorite places to shop. Penelope enjoyed a tea party with Daddy while I browsed, and played with the wooden play-kitchen.

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My favorite part of the day was still to come! We took a two minute drive over to Forest Park for a family bike ride.
Zack’s brother gave us their “baby bike cart?”, which we will be using a lot! Yesterday was our first time using it- we’re hooked!
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As you can see, Penelope is fond of it too. She laughed at every bump. We made some stops along the way to take some photos, imagine that.
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There were red tulips all over the park-these were taken at The Jewel Box, where a wedding had just ended. Beautiful!
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Our last stop at the park was at the fountain across from the boat house (you know, the one that is full of people swimming on hot days…). For example-yesterday there was a 12 year old boy in “whitey-tighties” roaming the waters. It was only 75o
Anyway… Penelope took some easing into the cool waters. Once adjusted she couldn’t get enough of splashing her cute baby feet in the water. She fussed when we had to leave, but was peachy-keen once placed back in the “baby bike cart.”
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I hope everyone else had a wonderful Saturday!
Off to church!

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Our Week

This past week I have been getting back to the routine Penelope and I had previously arranged. It is amazing how things can change in three days, when you’re used to routine. I am simply speaking from the things and changes I noticed in Penelope when I arrived home Sunday afternoon from my trip to Alabama. First of all, baby girl wanted nothing to do with her Mama! Grandma was the bee’s knees, and Mama was the leftover pollen on the bottom of that Bee’s foot. I am glad they are finally on a closer level than they were before, but my heart was disappointed.
By Monday at lunchtime Penelope was back to her old loving, curious, playful, snuggle bug self. I am doing a post on Penelope in about two weeks, but for now I will say, she is expressing her need to be independent, and girl knows what she wants!
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Zack and I received a picture of Penelope’s brother, Brian, earlier this week! I can’t believe he is 14! We began sponsoring him when we were just 18 and he was 8! He is an amazing young man, and has quite a bit in common with Zack. The both enjoy art, and the same subjects in school. Brian loves Jesus, and makes it very apparent in each of his letters to us! He is such a hard worker, good student, and devoted Lamb of God.
If you are wanting to “adopt” a child through an organization, I have to suggest Compassion International. We get a yearly magazine from them (for free), but aside from that we only receive our letter from Brian. They do not try to sell you anything, call you, or bug you in any other way.
We have been able to help with AIDS vaccinations (a few dollars from each months donations go towards that), supply him with farm animals, like a goat for milking, crops, school uniforms, plenty of other things, but most importantly we are able to help out his family and in turn his village, while helping him to experience God’s love through us-just one of the many ways he sees it each day.
He is a beautiful young man.
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Yesterday, I babysat my niece, Sadie. It was a lot of fun-the house is still messy evidence of it! Penelope was there also, of course. We watched Lady and the Tramp, went out to lunch with Zack, played with babies and the bassinet, took a walk around the neighborhood, played with bubbles, and sidewalk chalk! Oh, and “picked flowers”- [a.k.a. pulled weeds for Grandma.]
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Tomorrow we are going to the zoo again, but I assure you there will be no post about it!
Over the weekend in my free time, I will be working on the design of the blog and of the posts. For anyone that knows me, I change my mind constantly- something I inherited from my Mom, and something Penelope also has built in, hence our need to constantly rearrange furniture. I noticed this in Penelope before she was even one! It won’t be anything too drastic. The “header” will remain the same, it will just be details.

> > > This week in photos : : :
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Zoo

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One of my two favorite moments in life are the times when Zack, Penelope and I are spending quality time together. Second only to watching Penelope in a peaceful state, playing and figuring things out independently – I’m going to squeeze Penelope’s independent decisions to give me a hug or kiss in between my two favorite things! Okay okay, so I can think of several things I love about my family!
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She was not in the mood for having her picture taken at this point. She wasn’t cranky, just not thrilled. Still cute though!
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She wanted to swim with the waterfalls. She loves water!
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I had videos ready to be blended into a “picture in motion”, but pushed the dreaded DELETE, when I had no intention of doing so. Oh, well. Maybe next time. I plan on making short videos of daily life. Let me know what you think, as far as what you would like to see more of on this blog.
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Does anything beat a sweaty sleeping baby, floppy as a rag doll? I can’t think of anything…
Part One    Part Two   Part Three

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