Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Piano Wednesdays

This is Angie. She is goes to our church and is in our small group and has the world's most infectious smile. She also comes over every Wednesday afternoon to give Tessa an at-home piano lesson. She's been teaching her since March and Tessa is catching on pretty well. She can play a few short songs and likes to do duets with her teacher.

Angie also gives her a piece of candy for every minute of practice she did during the week. 32 minutes of practice? 32 skittles. No wonder Tessa likes piano

I caught their picture by surprise and I'm pretty certain Tessa is not sitting in proper playing form. Oh well...

While Angie is teaching Tessa, her two girls play with me and Charley. Usually we go out to the playground, have a little snack and tell knock knock jokes. Today Charley and 4 year old Lydia discussed their wedding plans again. He told her that when they get married he will kiss her and then give her a baby.
Uh....that sounds almost accurate. How did he figure that out?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Tying Heartstrings, Christmas in July Style

Saturday morning the kids woke up to 'Christmas in a July' in the living room. There were a handful of decorations, the little people Nativity, sausage gravy bubbling away and a few gifts on the mantle.

They were super surprised and excited

Charley was most excited to see his rifle shooting snowman.

I posted a couple of pics on Facebook and got some reactions about how creative I was and what a 'cool mom' I am. That seems like a funny reaction to me because I consider myself to be neither overly creative nor cool. A lot of times I don't even have the energy for these kind of shenangians.

So why do it?
I wasn't sure myself until I heard our pastor's sermon yesterday. The theme was choosing to go God's direction or veering off and on your own direction, and how the latter never really works. I wish the podcast was currently available online but there is usually a bit of delay on it being posted. 

At a certain point he was talking about how parents make decisions for our kids and do we choose God's choice or our own choice. He specifically mentioned overscheduling kids, which hit home because I am currently trying to perfect what our weekly calendar will look like for the fall.

Ballet, Gymnastics or both? Hmmm..

He asked do we do the things we do to encourage our kids and help them to become strong well rounded Godly adults or do we just do it to stay busy?

Initially I had planned Christmas in July as a way to keep busy and fill our last moments of summer with as much fun as possible. I knew that it would be raining all day and also that Jeremy would be gone for several hours on his flying lessons. We had no errands, no playdates, no plans. And so why not doing something fun?

A day sitting around watching tv is something I enjoy as much as the next person, but I soon start to wonder about serving God's purpose for me of training my children.

Even if today's training is all about having fun together and tying heartstrings. It's better than nothing, I suppose. 
So maybe it wasn't just about fun after all. Maybe Christmas in July will mean something to them. To us too.
Their childhood seems to be fleeting more and more and I don't want to waste any time. There's time for teaching, discipline, character building, activities. But there's also got to be time for just hanging out and enjoying each other. Being a family.

Our purpose for Saturday was to recreate Christmas and we did. We opened gifts, made storebought (gasp!) cookies, listened to and sang music, wore our sweaters, and watched several Christmas movies. Most importantly, we read the Christmas story from the bible.

To remember why we do this, why we are given grace and love to do every other silly fun thing we want to. Because every day is a blessing.

I don't want them to forget that.

We made a few Christmas cards to give to our friends to remind them to. That God loves them year round.
And there's still time for family.

Merry Christmas from the Benningtons!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Vacation in Colorado

Even though we left for our Colorado vacation almost exactly a month ago, better late than never with picture posting right?

To save money, we decided to make the 17 hour car ride. Honestly it wasn't bad. We borrowed a DVD player from a friend which was SO helpful for the kids. I didn't take any pictures of the road trip but I'm sure you can imagine after movie, food wrappers, pillows, bickering, comedy central radio, coffee, sunglasses. And ta-da, suddenly we were in Boulder!

We spent 3.5 days in Boulder visiting one set of grandparents and the same amount in Breckenridge visiting the other. They kept us nice and busy (and sometimes worn out!) and we all had a great time.

We hung out in Grammie's garden.

Visited a goat farm.
Ate Ethiopian food.

Wiggled loose teeth.

Rode the lawn tractor.

And celebrated my birthday

We swang on the chairlift swing in the yard.
Went panning for gold.

Rode the gondola up the ski mountain every single day. It's free!

Rode the roller coaster on top of the ski mountain, for $25 a ride.

Saw a mountain side kid's play and went shopping around town.

And took a car ride to the top of the world.

When it was all over we drove the 17 hours back and came home for 2 days to do laundry, mow and repack and then we headed to the lake for the 4th. Two weeks of vacationing! It was fun but that was certainly long enough. We were ready to get back into the groove and routine of home. The road trips went pretty well though and may be our mode of travel for the foreseeable future.

Summer of 2014?....DISNEY! (at least I hope, that's the plan of the moment).

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Unexpected Swim Star?

The kids have been doing swim lessons every day for the past two weeks. The first day Charley through a holy fit and didn't want to do it. The second day he agreed to sit on the side and mope with his class. In fact he didn't get wet the whole first week.

I tried every strategy I could think of....discipline, bribery, logic, mild amount of guilt. He wasn't scared of the water really, just the lifeguards and doing the class. As soon as the class was over, the little stinker wanted to get in and play!

At the beginning of this week, I finally found the ticket with the help of a friend who lent me a blue ribbon that says 'swim star'. The kid just wanted to wear a badge of honor. Once he knew that he could get that sucker for completing the class, he was in the water no problem. And ever since he's been enjoying himself. 

Tessa has been a fish the whole time, of course. 

And look at this kid, who was screaming and crying last week, hanging out in the deep end with a lifeguard. I'm glad we stuck with it even though it was tempting just to let him quit. Quitters never swim!...and swimmers never quit? Yeah, something like that. 

The pool opens after our class is over, so a couple of times we have hung out just to play.
I need a new swimsuit. This one is so big on top that I am very close to having an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction. 54lbs gone! 

I tried taking some pictures of us  using the super vivid setting on my camera, but we all looked like sunburnt Umpa-Loompas. It did make a cool affect with Tessa and the colorful slide, though.