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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Children Are ...

Whoa! I knew I had put the blog on the back burner, but honestly had no idea it had been SO long. I'm committed to refocusing a little time updating now that the kids are back in school so bear with me as I share about summer activities, first day of school and such in the next week or so.

Today I wanted to share this "poem" that was given to us on back to school night.

Children Are ...
Amazing, acknowledge them
Believable, trust them
Childlike, allow them
Divine, honor them
Energetic, nourish them
Fallible, embrace them
Gifts, treasure them
Here now, be with them
Innocent, delight with them
Joyful, appreciate them
Kindhearted, learn from them
Lovable, cherish them
Magical, fly with them
Noble, esteem them
Open-minded, respect them
Precious, value them
Questioners, encourage them
Resourceful, support them
Spontaneous, enjoy them
Talented, believe in them
Unique, affirm them
Vulnerable, protect them
Whole, recognize them
Xtraspecial, celebrate them
Yearning, notice them
Zany, laugh with them

This first month of school has proven to be difficult so as I pulled this out today and reread it, I paused to reflect on each of these adjectives (character traits if you will). Each trait can easily be seen in our children - some more than others. I wish to embrace, build up & esteem these traits in them. So when they come home ravishing hungry, grumbling about the low points of the day or complaining about homework assignments or less than perfect grades (we live with a child who strives for perfection), I want to delight in them rather than allow my tensions to rise; affirm them that they are great students giving it their all; and celebrate them when they reach benchmarks and their personal goals.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Happy Father's Day

Happy {belated} Father's Day to this handsome guy. 
To the one who is greeted with squeals and embraces upon returning home from work. 
To the one who is our handyman; Mr. Fixit; ask and he will build it man.
To our landscaper and lawn care keeper.
To the one who plays catch, hits countless golf balls and pushes the swing a little longer and higher. 
To our provider and protector.
To the one our three beautiful kiddos call Daddy-O. 

We love you endlessly ...
and will never grow tired of planting kisses on you!
Well maybe Boo will, but we won't tell him that yet :)
And to my Dad,
You are treasured.
You are loved.
You are such a big part of who I am and have become - both the good and the ugly not so good. I am a people lover just like you. We know no stranger and make everyone to feel liked and appreciated. I am short on patience just like you. We both need to work on this one :) I am bold in making a situation right when I have been wronged just like you (hellooooo AT&T Uverse billing department). I ask a million questions, sometimes questions that aren't any of my business,  just like you. We are detail people and we aren't afraid to ask for information when it isn't given. I am frugal and conscientious of spending money wisely just like you. My mealtime isn't complete without it being followed by something sweet  just like your mealtimes. (Does having a sweat tooth qualify as a good quality we share or does that fall into the not so good category? :)) I love my family fiercely just like you
You are an incredible encourager and supporter of your family.
You are a huge blessing as both a Father and Grandfather to ALL your grands.
You make us laugh!
I don't tell you enough how much your love means to me and how your presence in my family's life makes it richer. 

To both of you,
I love you! We love you!
Happy Father's Day!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

There was a Tiny Turtle

We spent our Memorial Day at our favorite home away from home aka my brother's beautiful house on Lake Lotawana. The kids fished and swam off the dock thee.entire.day while I split my time between supervising them, visiting with my SIL and nephew, and lounging. Gabrielle caught her biggest fish to date but unfortunately when I sent my phone with Dawson for Travis to take a picture in my absence, he took a 2 second video instead. Oops! 
I love that my kids enjoy fishing and are making these memories!
Gabrielle found this stinkin' teeny tiny turtle while swimming near the buoy and immediately snatched her up. She proclaimed she saved it from nearly getting hit by a boat :) It was love at 1st sight! She had been asking for a pet of her very own for months ... specifically a fish, but a turtle undoubtedly trumped a fish! She named her Shelby (Sheldon for a boy perhaps) and created a make shift home in a large SOLO cup to bring her home. Without giving too many details muchmuch time, research and visits to the local pet stores took place over the course of the next several days. It was agonizing gathering all the details and weighing a decision to make quite a costly investment to make this little creature a permanent member of our family or to choose to return her back into her natural habitat. 
We learned Shelby is a hatchling red-eared slider. They can live 20 - 30 years but their life expectancy is shortened when in captivity. They require both aquatic life as well as sun basking to thrive and grow at a rather rapid rate. 
This picture perfectly portrays Gabi's affection toward her new tiny friend and her angst (shown in her tear) about making the wisest decision to set her free. I also adore the picture because it shows her newly acquired tooth gap which we awaited and highly anticipated for all too long! 
I took Gabrielle to a nearby large pond to return Shelby to her natural habitat. She was emotional in pondering the what ifs of Shelby adjusting to her new surroundings and questioning her survival. I assured her she/we had made the best decision and Shelby would be all the happier. 
As we pulled away toward home it began to rain.  We looked off to the east and there was a beautiful rainbow. It lightened the mood and turned sadness into joy. 
"I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth." 
Genesis 9:13

Friday, June 13, 2014

That's a Wrap

Another school year is in the books. No pun intended :) 
May 21st t'was a big day at the Hicks house.
This handsome dude graduated Kindergarten! 
Can you see the excitement in his face as we loaded for carpool? I could reach through this screen right NOW and plant a smooch on his adorable face! I'm so.not.ready for him to lose that baby face :(
This may be thee only picture I got of Dawson with his teacher, Mrs. Anita Davis.
Dawson's class grew from 16 to 18 at semester with twins, Will & Addison moving into the district. They were a great bunch of kids who were energetic but eager to learn.
The following day was Gabrielle's last day of 3rd grade. Unlike Dawson, she was NOT ready for the school year to come to an end! Any guesses why? Let me give you a hint. She is pictured above ^^^! We couldn't have asked for a better teacher for G. Ms. Lindsey was fun, full of energy (she had to be with a class of 27 rowdy, rambunctious, non-stop talking kids), encouraging, edifying, and an absolute treasure of a Christian example for our girl. She prayed regularly for and with Gabrielle.
As their mom, I was really looking forward to time at home with them this summer so was glad to say goodbye to the school year. We're keeping our summer carefree with minimal commitments. I somewhat chuckle as I type that as the kids have MAD camp this week, VBS next week, baseball season running through July, Gabrielle will attend her 1st overnight summer camp in early July and an online program that is occupying much of their time. Add doctor appointments, necessary errands, swimming & play dates to that and our weeks are full to overflowing!  
Look out Summer, we're out for some fun!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

What's Cooking

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Recipe and photo "stolen" from the interweb
Do yourself a favor and make this for your family. It does not disappoint!


Ingredients:
3 lb pork roast
2 T olive oil
Montreal Steak Seasoning
3 - 4 C Root Beer, Dr. Pepper or Coke
1 1/2 - 2 C Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce
Rolls to serve on

Prep:
Season one side of your roast generously with Montreal Seasoning
Work seasoning into meat with your fingers
Warm olive oil in a skillet before placing meat, seasoned side down, into skillet
Season top side of roast while "bottom" side is searing nicely
Turn roast over and sear side 2
* This will cause your meat to become a bit crusty. You want this as it provides the meat a nice smokey/salty flavor *
Poke roast with a fork a couple times and transfer to crockpot
Pour soda over the roast and cook on low for 7 hours
Shred meat with a fork
Cook an additional hour
Drain juices and pour in BBQ sauce
Cook an additional 30 - 60 minutes
Serve on Rolls

Delicious and perfect for left overs or serving guests

Other recipes worth noting:
No Peek Beef Tips
www.mommyskitchen.net

Beefy Sour Cream Noodle Bake
www.therecipecritic.com

What are/have been of your tried and true recipes?
Please leave links in the comments.
These are all new recipes I've added to our recipe binder recently.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Melt

I really don't have words to describe the joy I feel looking back on this series of pictures.
Our church, Cedar Ridge Christian Church, hosts a Daddy Daughter dance biennially. This years theme was a spin off the ever so popular Disney movie Frozen which we simply titled Melt. Think frozen/winter turned spring. The planning team worked cohesively on theme, preparations, decor, food, set up and tear down which made for a very pleasant experience for all. 
My sweet friend gifted us McKenna's dress which I big puffy heart LOVE!
 I purchased Gabrielle's coordinating dress at JcPenney.
The matching hair bows were found at Children's Orchard.
The pictures below were taken with my DSLR and display a more true to life color of the
dresses. 
 
The girls had a fun time getting ready for the dance getting their hair done, putting on lipgloss & wearing fancy new gold shoes ...
And {overpriced} corsages of course!
It is times such as this that I am so thankful that God gave these two one another. 
Sisters. 
Although there is a six year age gap between them there is an undeniable bond they share. 
Hopefully one day they will call each other not only sister, but best friend. 
Thank you to Melissa McGee Photography for volunteering her talents and for the beautiful image above. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Spring GOTR

Hey!
Yo!
You Go Girl!
You Go Girl, Go!
Another season has come and gone of Girls on the Run. It was a season chalk full of inspiring girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience based curriculum which incorporates a lesson, stretching, warm up (practical application of the lesson) and running. 
It was also a season of seeing the returning girls grow exponentially in their strengths. For some that is encouraging other girls, for others being an amazing team player and yet others interjecting humor into our time together. Each girl grew in their love of running ... or so I like to think they each did :)
{Gabrielle celebrating the completion of our practice 5K} 
Each GOTR teammate was encouraged to invite someone to participate in the practice 5K as their running buddy. Gabi chose no other than her beloved teacher, Mrs. Lindsey. Maci was such a source of encouragement to Gabrielle which I believe strongly factored into her shaving several minutes off her completion time from the Fall season's practice run. 
We had 13 girls participate in the Spring session of GOTR. We will lose two of our participants this coming Fall as they will be moving on to middle school however we are expecting a lot of growth and are already making plans for a 2nd team! 
I spent the better part of an afternoon the week before our season finale 5K race making pinwheel hair bows for the team to wear. The lead coach, Nicole, reverse tie dyed our race tee shirts which turned out great! 
The Friday prior to the season ending 5K run at Corporate Woods we completed a service project. The girls each decorated a dozen paper lunch sacks and stuffed them with canned meat, fruit, chips, granola bar and bottled water to feed the homeless in the KC area. I loved watching some of the girls tap into their artistic side. 
It was a bittersweet ending to our Spring GOTR season. We had an absolutely perfect morning for our race. I am blessed to be a small part of instilling great values and encouragement into these girls. I'm already anticipating the Fall season and new curriculum!