Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Four little ducklings all in a row ... oh no!

Last week Rachel asked if Grandpa Jones and I could relieve her mom of the children for just 3-4 hours on Monday ~ Rachel was going to Chicago (long story) ~ and would we be willing to help? So the four kiddos were dropped off to us at 9:15 a.m. Grandpa and I had a pre-planned strategy ~ Divide and Conquer! So, since Grandpa is SO wonderful with infants, he was assigned to Liam! And then I figured Lottie could hang out with Grandpa as well. It was planned that I would do arts and crafts with Nia and Nathan ... who are much easier ages for me to handle! My plan worked for about the first FIVE minutes!
Baby Liam was very content in Grandpa Jones arms, and I got the stickers and construction paper out for Nia and Nathan ...
Nia was very very GOOD at sticker pictures. She enjoyed it hugely. She is a very serious little person, very meticulous about detail, and she has good dexterity as well.
But Lottie Girl wasn't content to just do baby stuff ...

After playing with her and observing her Monday morning, I have concluded she is next-door to a baby genius. I'm not kidding! No matter what the older two children are doing, she MUST do it too ... and she DOES! So for awhile there, Lottie was sitting on my lap while we were doing our sticker pictures, and she was actually peeling the backs off the stickers! We were playing our beautiful children's music while we were doing our art work, and I got all of our instruments out for the kids to play along.
Nia was especially pleased with this pipe/flute type instrument. She could blow it so that it sounded VERY shrill. Nathan was a bit annoyed with it and TOLD her so!
We attempted to feed them lunch ... but it was pretty hit or miss ... mostly MISS! Nathan was more interested in spinning the Teddy Grahams on our swirly toy, and Nia really really liked that shrill pipe! I think she quite enjoyed annoying Nathan!
And not to be left out at all, Lottie picked up that little pipe and blew it like crazy ~ absolutely delighted with the music she could produce!
Nia got out the letter blocks and REFUSED to share with Lottie ... "NO NO LOTTIE! Go away!"
Nia was not about to have her block tower destroyed by her younger sister! So ... it was time to distract Lottie with ... other toys! We have a sufficient amount of them around here!
Liam and Grandpa Jones were busy consuming goat milk (!) ~ Liam is allergic to everything else! So they were occupied in another room, and then Liam had an upset stomach and needed Grandpa's comforting and warm arms around him ...
I kept up pretty good with Lottie and Nia ... Nathan was off in another room doing ... who knows? He seemed to be quite content to be somewhere OTHER than where his sisters were playing!
Nia finally did share the blocks with Lottie, and for awhile, they even sat on the kitchen floor and babbled between them about this and that ...
Lottie has a pretty good reach ... so I had to be careful to ... keep her safe!
The three hours raced by ... chaos was most everywhere ... but we managed to ... survive!
And the children survived too! Amazing! It's a busy little bunch ... all of them beautiful and healthy and smart ... and did I mention ... exhausting? Granny McNeil retrieved them (all in one piece) exactly at 12:15!

I'll try to show you some pictures of the one-on-one we got to have with Nathan for a little while on Tuesday ... I'm a little bit behind on posting pictures ... I'll try to catch up!

Monday, June 28, 2010

A blissful bridal shower ...

This past weekend was the bridal shower for Dylan and Kelly ... much anticipated! Kelly's mom and three sisters were coming to stay the weekend ... at the Jones Junction (our house!). I was looking forward to meeting all of these dear ladies! And getting the house ready for them!
I took this picture of Dylan and Kelly the morning of their shower ... Kelly is all dressed and ready to take her mom (Julie) and sisters shopping. They had a lot of success! Julie was able to find a beautiful dress to wear to the wedding!
On our way to the shower, we stopped in to see Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. Dylan wanted to show us around, so that we could get used to it a little bit before the wedding. And this is Kelly's family ... well ... some of them at least! Shannon is 14 (next to Kelly), then Julie (mom), then Ashley, and then Erin! When these folk arrived Friday evening, Erin was sick and had been sick during the entire drive from Winona ... so she went to bed! I'm glad she felt good enough Saturday to join everyone for a fun day.

My dear and beautiful friend, Karen, hosted the shower for Dylan and Kelly. We have been friends now for 30 years! Everything Karen does is ... perfectly elegant ... yet she does NOT get all bent out of shape about the details ... everything just happily comes together ... and the best part is just being with her!
These are the darling little cookies she ordered ... KPD ... so beautiful ... and delicious!
Julie was putting on the finishing touches of her gifts for Kelly ...
I could take a million pictures of Karen's house and not begin to do it justice. It is SO lovely ... everything about it ...
... and look! Her daisies are SO wonderful!
Guests began to arrive and it was so much fun to listen to Kelly greet her dear friends and pour out her love on them. Kelly has a great heart and such a loving spirit about her. She is very well loved by so many people ...
Ashley and Shannon enjoyed Karen's fun swing out back ...
And this is Karen ... who only gets more and more beautiful each year of her life. It was such a beautiful evening for the shower. Rain had been predicted ... but instead ... deep blue skies and wonderful warm weather. We enjoyed delicious food and drink both inside and outside ...
And then it was time to open gifts! Everyone gathered on the back patio area and Kelly sat on a bench. The gift-giver would sit beside Kelly as she opened it up and would tell us how they knew Kelly, etc. Kelly was so full of JOY opening these gifts. It was so much fun to listen to her excitement and such kind words of thanks to each and every friend.
About midway through the gift opening, Dylan arrived ...
... with flowers for his bride to be! Oh, Dylan ... very romantic!
I love how Dylan is looking at Kelly in this picture! I love the friendship these two share ...

Kelly's mom gave them a great picnic basket stuffed with practical and cool things ...
She also gave them some heirloom doilies ... just beautiful!
I framed a photograph and put just a portion of the prayer of St. Patrick on it ... because it just says so much about our lives as followers of Christ! I think they liked it. We also got them a salad bowl set that was on their registry.
And Karen got them a great popcorn popper and the coolest popcorn bowl I have ever seen.
I have posted about 97 pictures of Kelly's shower over on Facebook ... I'm just too tired tonight to post anymore with Blogger ... it's been especially troublesome and SLOW tonight!

I do want to say, though, how nice it was to meet Julie, Ashley, Erin and Shannon. They are really fun and wonderful people. It was kind of like having my very own bed-'n-breakfast this weekend! I am very thankful for the strength God gave to us and the warm fellowship we enjoyed with Kelly's family!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A few fun hours with Rachel and the kiddos ...

We had such a fun couple of hours with Rachel and the grandchildren today. I'm supposed to be retiring to be early tonight in anticipation of a BIG weekend ... but if I don't post these pictures tonight, it will be days until I have another chance!

I had Grandpa Jones buy a nice bunch of carrots yesterday so that the kiddos could feed my friend, Tuffy, who lives just up the road from us, at the top of the hill. It was a nice walk for us this morning.
Nia wasn't too sure about being this close to Tuffy. When we had talked to her about going to see him, I think she pictured a much smaller horse!
Nathan was just fine with Tuffy ... but he is always good with animals.
Rachel is showing Nathan how to hold his hand flat with the carrot so that Tuffy could eat the carrot and not his fingers ...
Do you like Lottie's RED outfit? All the way down to her adorable flip-flops? She was just RED all over!
Mr. Lyle led Rachel around the yard on Tuffy, and then he lifted Nathan up for a ride with his mommy ...
I love these pictures of them!
Mr. Lyle is such a nice fellow. He and his wife will be married 57 years this Sunday!
I asked the ever-stylish and oh-so-fashion-conscious Grandpa Jones to PLEASE remove his ridiculous hat so that I could take some nice pictures with he and baby Liam ... so he transferred over his hat ... poor Liam!
Rachel is amazing around animals of all kinds. She has such a gentle spirit to her and I think animals pick right up on that. This being good with animals thing kind of runs in our family (minus ME, of course).
We walked back home and hung around our place and just ... played! I loved watching Nia's expressions as she tried different marbles down various pathways ... she was always surprised WHERE each marble ended up!
And here is Nathan telling me that my flash is "damaging his eyes" because of how bright it is!
We played outside with our water toys. Do you see our little friend "Catty" the caterpillar on top of the blue tugboat? The caterpillar was crawling up my leg, so we put her in the wading pool inside the tugboat. She managed to crawl up to the top. When she got there, Nathan yelled out: "I'm the king of the world!" pretending either that he was the caterpillar, or the caterpillar was on the Titanic!
Here is Lottie in her cute little swimming suit. She did NOT get into the pool, but she sat and watched all of us play, very mellow-like ... with very huge yawns ...
Isn't she just beautiful?
And Nia really had a good time just exploring everything there is to do with water on such a gloriously HOT and sunny day in Michigan!
Nathan, naturally, was not content to stay with both feet on God's good earth ... he is SO fast at climbing and he has ... perfect balance!

Well ... it is past my bed time (!) and I really haven't done a very good job narrating our day. I hope you could catch by the pictures that we really enjoyed our time with these beautiful little grandchildren today ... and Rachel too!