Prayer of Gratefulness

Friday morning Grant woke up and said let's go to OKC tonight.  We are not that spontaneous so this was surprising.  Grant had one goal this fall and that was to see his oldest niece, a senior, do her drum major thing.  He was afraid we would miss it if we waited too long to go and see her.

A little packing and a few phone calls later and we had a plan in place.  How fun to get out of town for a night!  After school and work we got in the car and started driving.  The plan was to stop at the McDonald's on the turnpike for dinner for chicken nuggets in the car and we should make it to the game with a few minutes to spare before it started.
Accident on the Turner Turnpike West bound
Dinner was ordered and handed out then we were off and stopped.  A car pulled out in front of us and for no apparent reason blocked us from going for 3 minutes or so.  At the time it was annoying.  But we had some extra time and we were in a good mood.  I casually mentioned that maybe God was keeping us from being in a wreck or something.

Fifteen minutes later on the turnpike going 75 or a little more we came to an abrupt stop.  The kind where wheels squeal and chicken nuggets go flying. We noticed a sign that said construction ahead.  But it wasn't the construction that stop us.

It's never a good sign when people are standing on the highway and groups of truckers are walking up the road.
Two semis wrecked and rolled over and toilet paper was scattered everywhere.  They were only about a quarter of a mile ahead of where we stopped or about 3-5 minutes ahead of where we should have been if that annoying car hadn't blocked us in at McDonalds.  I don't know for sure we would have been in the middle of those two semis but I'm thankful and grateful that we were not.  We got to pray as a family for God's protection over our family and for the truck drivers who were probably injured.

We made it to the stadium with 2 minutes to spare as the Deer Creek Band took the field at half time.  Sydney did great!!!  We are so proud of her!
Deer Creek Marching Band

Deer Creek Marching Band

These three are a mess and loved listening to Sydney's band! Oh and Savvy's glass are purely fashion.

Grace and Forgiveness

This morning was going perfect all the children were up and happy.  Grant had made it out the door with a kiss from his wife. And now the 4 children and I are at the kitchen table.   If you are a librarian (Susan!) you might want to stop reading this now...  A new routine I've started lately is putting a book at each of their places so when they come down they can eat their breakfast and look at their book.  Yes they are toddlers and sticky messy hands are the norm.  Most of the kids get board books which wipe up fairly easily.
Books for Breakfast in lieu of the cereal box

This new trick has eliminated some of the squabbles and just picking at each other that had started.  You know the I'm going to touch your food or act like I'm going to touch it to get you to scream thing.  The added bonus is that Savannah gets to read a quick book in the morning which counts towards her school reading!

This morning was perfect!

Until the Cheerios were on the floor.

The ones I knew she wouldn't eat but I gave to her because she asked politely.

The bowl was full of milk that I second guessed at when I was pouring it in.

I was flat out annoyed.   The mess was huge.  Only a mop could fix it.

The perfect morning was over.

And she didn't even know it until she saw the look on my face.

Caroline was so excited to show me something in her book that she knocked over her bowl.  She never knew it happened.  It was a complete accident.  As she does often she covers her eyes when she is ashamed of her actions.  She has done this since we met her.  I don't know nor will I ever know her backstory.  The story of what it was like when accidents happened in the orphanage.  The consequences given and received and the messages sent by punishment.

After a nudge by the guy in my heart and a really deep breath and a flicker of a recent conversation with a friend going through my head.  I smiled.  She didn't see it.   I told her to look at me and I kept smiling not because I felt like it but because a small voice inside me said to.  By the time I got her to peek at me the annoyance was gone and the dread of the clean up to come I knew could be managed.  But my little girl needed to learn something I can't explain to her in words yet.

She needed to experience grace and forgiveness.  We have a long road of smiling when we don't want to ahead of us for her to understand that perfection is not attainable and that the goal of praise is not rewarded on perfection.  It will never be achieved no matter how hard she tries and she tries hard!  That we love her no matter what and will continue to love her regardless of her actions.  Because we made a choice, a commitment, and soon a vow in front of our church that we will teach her how God loves her by demonstrating it the best we know how.  And for the right now that is with a smile.

The Long Black Tongue

If you ask Caroline about a giraffe her description is not to stretch out her is to stick her tongue out as far as it can go.  I don't think she even saw the giraffe's neck at all.

My mom and I went to the zoo a little while ago with the two little ones while the big two were in school.  Apparently we went on an "enrichment" day because we were given the $4 option to feed the giraffes.  This is one they can share and we get to watch all for $4.

Caroline has fed a giraffe at the Safari Park in China but I don't think she remembers that.  I barely do!

This time they both did great although still a little nervous.

The sea lions were busy swimming too!  They all have interesting stories as they were rescued from California after some shark attacks. They were all about asking about one of their "boo-boos".

Lastly,  the ducks and turtles were RIGHT there for feeding.  The zoo is doing some updating so next time you go make sure to bring quarters!  You can feed the ducks and turtles now.
Then we saw this little guy with the super long neck.  It is called a snake neck turtle we backed off at this point a little unsure of his disposition.

He will call me JUJU

This is my nephew Elias.  He is a new resident of OKC formerly from South Carolina.  His aunt is much happier that she gets to see him on a regular basis now.  The first time I met him I had to take 3 planes and a whole day one way to see this little squirt.
6 Month Pictures Milestone "First Year of Life" by The Persimmon Perch
6 Month Pictures Milestone "First Year of Life" by The Persimmon Perch

He really likes to laugh and giggle especially when he thinks he might get tickled.  Which is great for me since I had my camera out to capture those tiny teeth that have poked through recently.

6 Month Pictures Milestone "First Year of Life" by The Persimmon Perch
6 Month Pictures Milestone "First Year of Life" by The Persimmon Perch
6 Month Pictures Milestone "First Year of Life" by The Persimmon Perch
The scrunch nose smile...he gets it from me!
6 Month Pictures Milestone "First Year of Life" by The Persimmon Perch
6 Month Pictures Milestone "First Year of Life" by The Persimmon Perch
6 Month Pictures Milestone "First Year of Life" by The Persimmon Perch
He is still pretty attached to Mama but I know we will have some boy camp outs in our future.
6 Month Pictures Milestone "First Year of Life" by The Persimmon Perch
6 Month Pictures Milestone "First Year of Life" by The Persimmon Perch

 This last one may just be my favorite!  He basically is doing a thumbs up which is what his great-grandaddy used to do and say "DRIVE ON".  They share the Elias name :)
6 Month Pictures Milestone "First Year of Life" by The Persimmon Perch
"Drive On"

How to Make a Hopscotch

Gross Motor Skills is a fancy term thrown around preschool circles.  But really it is using your body in a coordinating manner.  Jumping and Hoping and Landing in a certain spot helps.  

How to Make a Hopscotch for a Playground or your Backyard by The Persimmon Perch
This is an easy one to make and took no time at all.

I purchased 10 12 x12 square paving stones at a Hardware Store and then I used leftover spray paint I wanted to get rid of.  If I had bought paint I would have thrown yellow in there instead of black.
How to Make a Hopscotch for a Playground or your Backyard by The Persimmon Perch
I spray painted the squares and let them dry.

How to Make a Hopscotch for a Playground or your Backyard by The Persimmon Perch
I printed off the numbers 1-10 each on there own piece of paper.  Then I took a paint pen and put the number paper on the square.  I lifted up the edge and put a dot on the edges for proportions and then free handed a "connect the dots if you will" the rest.  The numbers are very similar not exact but close enough for this project.  After I did the outline with the paint pen I filled in the numbers with white paint using a small paint brush I had laying around.
How to Make a Hopscotch for a Playground or your Backyard by The Persimmon Perch

After the numbers had dried I sprayed them again with a spray paint sealer to make them weather proof.  They sat out in a thunderstorm and the water beaded up on top so I guess the sealer works!
Looks like this:

How to Make a Hopscotch for a Playground or your Backyard by The Persimmon Perch
 We put them in the mulch at the preschool (Bethany Learning Center) and the kids have had a great time jumping already.
How to Make a Hopscotch for a Playground or your Backyard by The Persimmon Perch

How to Make a Hopscotch for a Playground or your Backyard by The Persimmon Perch

They have done the traditional hopscotch.  The jump from number to number in order (which makes them jump sideways/a new gross motor skill).  And they have done frog jumps on the numbers.  I'm sure many more animals jumps/leaps/and hops will occur in the future.
How to Make a Hopscotch for a Playground or your Backyard by The Persimmon Perch
A rare frog jump in action!
The great thing about putting them in the mulch is that they can be rearranged to make a circle or another shape in the future.

Supplies Needed:
12x12 Square Stepping Stones
Spray Paint in Different colors
Paint Pen White
1-10 printed each on a piece of paper
Sealer (I used Valspar Seals and Protects Spray)  

The Change

Something amazing happened in our house last week.  And I'm bummed I missed most of it.  But what I did see was amazing.  It reminds me of a verse that says "This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!"  How can that be you might ask?

Monarch Butterfly Hatching
You may remember that Savannah won a chrysalis from the Tulsa Botanical Garden a few weeks ago.  (That story HERE) We stuck it in our extra fish tank and watched it do nothing for days.  Then one day we all thought the chrysalis is changing it is becoming transparent and you can even see the butterfly inside.  Then the very next day.  This happened!  Within an hour it was out.  Unfolding it's wings and drying them.
Monarch Butterfly Hatching
Butterflies have fingers?

Monarch Butterfly Hatching
Monarch Butterfly Hatching
The old life for the caterpillar is gone... no more crawling on the ground and seeing things from a small perspective.  The new life the butterfly has emerged with wings to fly and see more and experience more than it ever dreamed.  Same exact insect but totally different creature!  God has a way of doing that taking the old and bringing new life to it better than we could ever have imagined.  And just like the butterfly there is an element of trust/faith that God knows what HE is doing with us. Will you trust God with your life?  (Sense the need to read more about that? Click HERE or I don't trust God and I have serious questions click HERE.  I totally trust this website!)

Monarch Butterfly Hatching
Monarch Butterfly Hatching
Savannah came home from school to meet her new friend.  After dinner we released her.  Within a few seconds she was flying.  She landed in the leaves of a tall tree and stayed there until we went inside.  That was the best "pet" ever!
We will plant milkweed next year in hopes of more butterflies to watch hatch!

Much to do about Mulch

We found mulch awesomeness!! I'm so excited because it's FREE!! We are going to re-mulch everything now! We skipped it last year as we saved money for Caroline's adoption and then this year Grants job hasn't been super secure after the layoff. Although that should be changing this month with a full time position with benefits in the works! (PRAISE JESUS!!!!!)

So we NEED mulch in a bad way! And the weeds are taking advantage of us and showing off! 

We went to the Tulsa City mulch site. We asked for the Fine mulch and they send you to a big pile. Just wait and they bring a huge tractor and dump a load in your truck or trailer. The kids loved it!!!
Free Mulch Tulsa OK
Free Mulch Tulsa OK

A tarp helps cover it to keep it in your trailer and then helps keep it off the grass when you are unloading.
Free Mulch Tulsa OK
Free Mulch Tulsa OK
Things to make the job waaaay easier:
MUCK rake/Bedding Rake.  (TractorSupply or Lowes carry them! These are worth the money!!! They look like a pitch fork but tines are closer together)

Things to not use:
Shovel seriously get the muck rake...after all the mulch is free!
Kids with Buckets

The mulch site has moved in the past so make sure to check their website for the current location.

Joy Celebrated

This weekend our family got to attend a special wedding at our church.   We were crazy enough to bring all four kids with us since both sets of grandparents were attending too.  The wedding was beautiful and the two big kids were learning a lot.  Very interested in "the kiss" but thankfully they were seated with grandparents and they got to handle those questions.  Luke lasted until the vows when I glanced up to see he had escaped the aisle and was headed towards the stage.  Grant gave him a detour to the lobby.  It was such a precious ceremony because the father of the bride was our preacher.  A Daddy giving his girl away.  He made a short speech as a Dad while saying he was giving her away which left me with tears in my eyes out of sweetness.
Rustic Vintage Wedding with Food Truck
Rustic Vintage Wedding with Food Truck
In the Lobby after the wedding was a great time of catching up with friends from our past that came into town just for this occasion.  I was talking with my youth pastor's wife (from when I was a young teenager) and just as I was telling her we are doing great and asking her for any tips since she has more kids than I do.  She started telling me something about just keep counting heads.  You can just guess can't you...  I started counting one, two, three..... no four.  Goodness, we lost the two year old!  The sneaky quiet one.  We did a quick search and didn't find him.  Then others got involved.  We really should have guessed this but he ended up in the dark children's wing.  To my best guess he can pull the handle down to get in but isn't tall enough to push the bar and the door to get back out.  He was after a sucker from the sucker box Pastor Randy keeps down there for the kids.  This is the trouble when the kids feel sooooo comfortable at church/preschool.  They just go where they want.

The reception party was a dream for Savannah.  A country girl at heart.  Ponies everywhere!  And a peacock!  Not to mention a dance floor and cookies and popcorn galore!
Rustic Vintage Wedding with Food Truck

Rustic Vintage Wedding with Popcorn
 Kids give from the heart.  Savannah took her purse to the wedding and decided to give the bride a gift.   I love the "Happy Wedding"!  The back was covered in hearts and crosses.  Inside was two very special coins given with love and happiness!
 We needed a new family picture...apparently it is still a work in progress.  Hug your brother equals headlocks!

This gal LOVES to dance.  It's got to be her love language.

This sweetheart asked me to could I say NO?  He also kissed my hand and said now we are married!

Luke kept singing Happy Birthday to Luke...

Jack actually asked me Sunday morning if we can go back to the wedding it was so much fun!

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