Sunday, September 30, 2012

Reflecting - Friday Evening

Very rarely do we have an evening or even a dinner alone. Quiet time together is so rare. With me working full time and Dear Hubby the "Stay at Home Daddy", our littlest daughter gets all our attention. If you have read our blog over the past four years since having AA, you know we do not have a babysitter. It just wasn't going to work those first few years and now we are beginning to ease into the thought of trying again. We have had a few dinners out when our married daughter sits her (along with her two small children) or Aunt Carolyn comes for a visit. When we travel to Maine, we usually get several evenings out as AA loves staying with her Nana and Auntie-M.
Our church has a "Parents Night Out" occasionally, so we have taken advantage of that, to go out to dinner. AA loves going as long as there is a fellow kindergarten school friend to play with and helps put her at ease. She calls the Orange Park UMC, her church. We are so happy she loves going there.
This time, rather than mixing in with the Friday night crowds, we went to our favorite hang out, the River House (it's a bar/club on the St. Johns River, on the Club Continental property, but a separate membership). They do not serve food unless you count in the old fashion popcorn machine which is AA's number one food group.
So for our evening out, my Hubby packed a picnic and we sat on the deck with a glass of their very good house Cabernet and enjoyed the water views, people watching and just say hello with a friendly smile as members came and went. A great place to unwind and have some much needed adult conversation about us - our family, our plans, our schedules, our life.

I have linked this over at SouleMama, a great blog to read about a family digging deeper in living in my home State of Maine!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Happy Birthday (again) - All I Wanted was LEGO!

All Alyzabeth wanted for her birthday (besides a family party, balloons and cake...) was Harry Potter LEGO sets. She especially asked for the Quidditch set. Cathy and Werner bought her the Hogwarts Castle. She loved putting together the pieces, following the instruction book to the tee! (you can see all the sets here, yes there is an official LEGO Harry Potter web site).
The Quidditch set (with Madam Hooch in the Quidditch Tower):

Harry Potter standing in the Hogwart Tower:

This is the completion of section one:
The front of the castle with Lucius Malfoy:
She loves playing with LEGO!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Birthday Celebrations - Part 1

We really did alot more for AA's birthday than we have in the past. In the past, we had a small family party and that seemed just right for her. This year, she had a cake at school and the teacher made it quite festive as AA came home all excited about how many people wished her "Happy Birthday"! The evening of her birthday, dear hubby made an ice cream cake so we celebrated again and got lots more smiles from her. She opened her cards and couldn't stop talking about her party on Saturday and "presents"! She also had many phone calls from older sister and brother, plus from family far away. The excitement seemed to build this year, different from the past parties.

Lots of cards in the mail! All monetary gifts are deposited into her bank account for future college costs. Thank you for your legacy of this long term gift. She really doesn't understand about money so we are taking advantage of that by saving everything she is given.

Ice cream cake with chocolate and caramel sauce - Yummy!

We let her open one gift and she chose Aunt T and Uncle George's gift. A great craft idea, making paper. We will enjoy doing that soon! AA loves to color, paint and create; so we should have fun - thanks!
All smiles!!
Another post will be about the birthday bash on September 22nd, but am waiting on some photos. We actually hired a friend of daughter Leaa's to be photographer which helped immensely! Can't wait to see all the family groupings; she took at least a thousand photos. Maybe even a new photo for our blog header!
Also today is big sister, Leaa's birthday! We celebrated last week at that family birthday party but maybe she will have some more fun today!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Jacksonville U.S. Kids Golf Program Continues......

We continue to enter Alyzabeth in the local Jacksonville U.S. Kids Tour. It is a great way to play golf, learn the rules and meet new golfing families.We met Belinda ("Billy") Fechter and her family (brother Cooper was in the tournament too). She's a seven-year-old power hitter and just beginning entering in tournaments.

Look who came to watch AA? Her Coach Doug and his lovely wife.
At the driving range, practicing and warming up before the start:
Just tee'd off on the first hole (Hole #10):

We are so happy more girls are entering. Always a fun time for the entire family!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Different This Time Around...

We recently celebrated our 4th Anniversary of Forever Family Day. The day marking the first time Alyzabeth was placed in her Mother’s arms. A moment defined with more emotions than a Webster’s dictionary.

Having two grown children, I am occasionally asked if my “parenting skills” are different this time around. The easy answer is a simple Yes.
In truth, my parenting skills have changed because I want to believe I have changed. My hope would be to something better than the old Ford. More patient. More forgiving. More loving. Less self-centered. Less hurried. Less angry. The older children endured more of my fault years as I struggled to become a better Father. A better husband. A better person.

Different “parenting skills” this time around? For the benefit of our children and my dear wife. I can only pray…


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Daily Dose of AA - New Outfit

My Hubby stopped into a store last Friday (09/14/12) when he needed to kill some time before picking up AA from school. He found the sporty blue top and thought it would be great for golfing. He also found the black skirt (the type I love with the built in shorts) to match. We were meeting friends Kenny and Pam at the River House so she wore her new outfit and had some fun trying to avoid getting her picture taken!!!

The above photo was taken on our way home, it was dark out and I was still trying to get a "good" picture. I had her take her glasses off due to the flash. Still need to take a photography class with the fancy camera (Nikon 40DX) we have to learn more "tricks of the trade"!

And, last one of her funny faces - she would hardly stand still for me to take these photos and most of the time I was aiming at her back as she thought it was great fun to run and hide from the camera!! All in the life of a new 6 year old! Today is her birthday!! Happy Birthday to our youngest daughter!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Forever Family Day - No. 4!

From September 16, 2008 to today. Four years! It is amazing each time we think about our journey to "Imagine Alyzabeth An.......".
Here is our Forever Family Day posts from 2009 and 2010 and 2011!
We had our usual FFD dinner out at P.F. Chang's. It is just enough of a drive, that we don't go very often, so is a special treat! We also try for a kissing photo of AA and myself. Here's a few that turned out okay!

We also get to celebrate AA's birthday in just a few more days along with her two siblings, Justin and Leaa, all born in September.
Here's a repeat scrapbook page from our post on August 24, 2012.
We cherish those long ago memories of the "WAIT" and the trip to China.
We are so blessed with our children and family!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Golfing - Deercreek Golf Club US Kids Tournament

Chipping practice before the Deercreek Golf Club (Jacksonville Kids Tour) Tournament. Including time on the Driving Range and Putting Greens.

AA didn't make it over one of the water hazards (more like a jungle swamp, see the high weeds on the right side of the photo) so we used the drop area.

It was nice to have our "competition" take family photos of each other. Kaitlyn's Mom was her caddy this time as her Daddy (Scott Schroeder), the UNF Men's Golf coach, was at one of their competitions.

Kaitlyn teeing off:

I took a photo of the boy's six year olds and under group, they are fun to watch! Matt Forte, Local Tour Director, did another great job organizing and running the tournament!