On Saturday, Thayer and I hosted a 50th anniversary celebration for his parents, Bill and Janice Stamper.  Their actual anniversary isn’t until Oct. 6, but we knew that once school starts, our time is very limited.  It was a lovely party and they had many friends and family there to witness them renew their wedding vows.  Since they are the youngest (by far!) of their families, none of their remaining brothers and sisters were able to make the trip to Augusta, GA, but they did have several nieces ( 1 from SC, 1 from MS, and 3 from Ohio) come.

 

When they were married nearly 50 years ago, there was no formal wedding ceremony with invited guests.  They went to the pastor’s home and were married with him, his wife and 2 other witnesses present.  There were no attendants, no wedding invitations, no wedding cake.  So, after 50 years, we were able to fix that.  Our girls were the attendants while they renewed their vows (led by Thayer, of course!) and we had not one, but two wedding cakes.  I wanted the traditional white cake, but the chocolate two tier cake was too much to resist, so we had that too!

 

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Well, after a 3 month hiatus, I’m letting you know that I’m still here!  The last few weeks of school and the summer months fly by and we hardly have time to catch our breath!

The girls all ended their school years with flying colors!  I can’t even begin to tell you how proud we are of them all.  Julia will be in 9th grade in August.  Bailey and Madi will be in 7th and 6th grade and Avery will be in 1st.  It is absolutely mind-boggling to think that they aren’t still in preschool!  Each one is so special and unique and they have totally different personalities and interests.  Julia loves reading, acting and playing soccer.  Bailey also loves to read and act but is a dancer.  Madi is our artist.  She writes and draws and has continued to take dance but tells me that this is the last year.  Avery is a fantastic reader and dancer.  She will join Bailey on the Company team at their dance studio this year.  She also played soccer and t-ball this year.  I just love watching them excel in what they love!  I’m not giving up on having a pianist…I catch Julia pulling out the old piano books every now and then and Avery hasn’t had her mandatory 2 years of lessons yet!

I’m in the middle of our church’s version of VBS (we call it Adventure Week) right now.  We have already been on a week long mission trip to Charleston, SC, held a 2 day children’s camp called Camp G8way, taught a music camp at the dance studio and will be leaving to chaperone our students at BigStuf in Daytona Beach next week.  So, I’m really looking forward to the last week of July…and then the summer is 2/3 over.  Oh well, that’s the life of a Children’s Minister…and I love it!  Fortunately, so do Thayer and the girls!

In other news, Madi had a follow-up appointment from her ear surgery today.  Her hearing has improved from a 60% loss in her right ear to only 5%!!  We are thrilled that it was a success, but the doctor wants to follow her a little longer and he’s hoping to see that last 5% loss disappear.  She has done so well and we continually are amazed at her grace and beauty through all of life’s situations despite her disability.

I’ll try to do a little better at keeping up…and we’d love to hear from you.  What’s up in your world??!!

I am not so good at keeping this blog up these days!  We feel like we don’t have a down moment often but life is good!  The girls have had wonderful springs…here’s a little of what’s been up:

Bailey danced in 3 dance competitions in Myrtle Beach, Smithfield, NC and at Kings Dominion, just outside of Richmond.  She has loved every minute of being on a traveling competition team.  She has grown physically this year…I am just a little taller than her but she’ s not far behind.  She’s had a good year at middle school.  She’s always been a social butterfly.

Avery is playing t-ball for her schools’ 5 and 6 year old team.  They haven’t had a real game yet, but she is enjoying the practices.  We had to buy her a pink batting helmet, so no worries about her being a tom-boy!  She loves dancing and has been asked to audition for the traveling mini-team for next year.  She’s also very ready to play soccer again in the fall.  She has been doing a fantastic job in Kindergarten and loves reading!

Madi had surgery to repair her ruptured ear drum in March.  We still haven’t had the follow-up hearing test to see if all the hearing loss has been recovered, but she seems to be hearing much better.  We are so thankful for all that she can do with her muscular disability.  She is amazing! She is still taking dance, but says that next year will her be last.  She wants to take voice lessons and try out for more plays.  I can hardly believe that she will be starting middle school next year!

Julia has been very busy.  She was on the Battle of the Books team again at her school and once again, they won the county competition and came in 2nd at the state regionals.  She also was in the Wayne All-County Middle School Band.  This year, she received the 3rd chair (our of 18) for clarinet.  And, she is also playing soccer for her middle school team.  This was the third year that they were undefeated…until last night!  They lost to their rival 3-1.  We went to visit C.B. Aycock High School’s Open House this week and she has been working on picking classes for next year…unbelievable!!  I know that she is ready for this jump, but I’m not so sure that I am!

Thayer and I have been super busy at church but also took some time to fix up our house…we have devoted so much of our time to the church building over the last two years that our house needed attention.  My mom helped jump-start the process while she stayed with us for a week after Madi’s surgery.  We are so thankful for her cleaning all the windows, baseboards and everything else in her path!!  We did some painting, a lot of cleaning and organizing, and we are putting our house on the market this coming week.  We love this house…our girls have grown up here and we’ve lived here 6 years.  But, the time has come to find a home with a downstairs  bedroom for Madi and we need one more bath room…those middle school girls sure do spend a lot of time in there!  It may not sell right now and that’ s ok because we don’t have to move.  We just thought we’d put it out there and see if someone just loves it enough to buy it for what we want!  So, in addition to everything else, we now have to keep a house in tip-top shape everyday!

Hope you’re doing well too!  You may not hear from me much…the end of the year activities are already starting and I’m counting down the days until summer!

We’ve had a great couple of weeks and celebrated two birthdays recently!  Bailey was 12 on February 26 and Avery turned 6 (I can’t believe it!!) on March 3.  Both girls had awesome days and I owe thanks to many of you for their birthday wishes through Facebook, phone calls, cards, emails, etc.   Bailey’s birthday was on a Saturday and it so happened that she was participating in a 30 Hour Famine that weekend.  It is sponsored by World Vision and is designed to raise awareness for world hunger.  Fortunately, we broke the fast at 1 pm on her birthday, so she got to break the famine by sharing her birthday cake with all the students and leaders at the church!

This was a year for them to have parties (we only do friend parties every other year), so we decided on a theme that they could both use even though their parties would be at two different times.  We had a “Purple Party!”    Bailey has already had her’s.  We did a sleepover party and all the decorations were purple.  We wore purple, we ate purple foods, she got all purple gifts!  We played several games and did crafts with all purple stuff.  It was lots of fun!   Julia came downstairs Friday morning after I had stayed up really late on Thursday night getting it ready and said, “it looks like every decorating store in Goldsboro threw up purple in our house.”  Yep, that’s the idea!  We even decorated the front door and put purple Christmas lights in the bushes since they didn’t arrive until 7 pm when it was already dark.  I think I won “Mom of the Year” Awards from Bailey and Madi…she wants to have the same party for her birthday in August!   Avery will have a purple party too, but at the dance studio in a few weeks.  Saturdays were too busy at the dance studio for the owner to schedule a party and since she and all the friends she would be inviting are in school now, we couldn’t have it before lessons start on school days…so we have it scheduled for a teacher workday, when there is no school and before lessons start.  She will have had to wait 3 weeks after her birthday for her party, but she’s being a very good sport!

Here are a few photos from Bailey’s party and from their birthdays:

Bailey and Avery got a tumbling mat together to practice their tumbling on.

 

Bailey opening her gifts…she has a 30 Hour Famine tattoo on her face and hadn’t showered in 2 days!  Nice, huh?!

 

Avery got a Nintendo DS and a cute pink chair…Julia made her pink and purple heart shaped muffins that morning!

 

Avery opening her other gifts!

What a cutie!

 

The kitchen…we decorated the entire downstairs!

 

Julia and her friend, Jordan, helped them make purple duct-tape wallets.

Bailey and her 6 friends.

 

We made purple “mummy” girls.

 

 

Well, after three years, it was time to get a new picture for the blog.  I loved the last picture.  It was totally not a planned photo.  We were put in position by the photographer and then we just happened to tickle Avery and the picture was taken while we were playing.  But, we’ve all grown older and the girls have changed so much!  So, I hope you enjoy the new picture.  I hate that so much of it has to be cropped in the header of my blog, so I’m putting it here so you can see the whole picture.  It was taken last October.

Well, I’ve done it…I’ve finally hit the “I’m embarrassing the kid’s stage.”  I’ve old you before about the ridiculous car line I have to sit in on Wednesdays and Fridays.  We have dance on those two days just 30 minutes after school gets out.  While that seems like plenty of time, to be able to get to the front of the line, get them in the car and out of the line and go all the way back into town, I have to be at school at 2 pm.  The bell rings at 3:15.  So, in that time, I try to carry things I can read or work on.  For someone who is constantly doing something from the time I rise until the time I go to bed, its good to be forced to have some down time, but I really get tired of having those hours wasted each week.

This weekend, our students at church are having their Disciple Now weekend.  We are listed as drivers in case they need extra cars to get them back and forth to their activities.  My car hadn’t been vacuumed or cleaned since before we left for Christmas.  So, I wanted to make sure the inside of the car was decent.  I decided that hour or so I had yesterday was the perfect time to clean the inside windows and wipe down the dash, etc.  I did stay in the car, but there was a lot of moving from the front seat to the back seat.  I’m sure everyone around wondered what I was doing!  Those in the cars closest to me could see me cleaning the windows, I’m sure!   I told the girls about it later and they were not amused.  I told them it was a good thing I didn’t have access to electricity and a water hose, because I would’ve vacuumed it and washed it myself right there and saved the $14 I had to spend to have that done in town (while WAITING, again, for Bailey to finish dance)!  While it may be embarrassing to them now, when they have children and are busy moms, they may think back to this and say, “wow, my mom was such a great multi-tasker!”

Last week and next week are our weeks of appointments!  I’m not sure exactly how all six of us all need to see the dentist at the same time every 6 months, but we do.  Add to those 6 appointments an orthodontist appointment got Julia, a periodontist appointment for Madi (a receding gum issue), hair appointments for me and the poodle 🙂 , an ENT appointment for Madi to discuss fixing her ruptured ear drum, Madi’s bi-annual Shriners’ appointment, and a neurologist appointment for an evaluation for Madi’s muscle biopsy and nerve conduction study and you have a fairly full two weeks!  That doesn’t even count two Cotillions, leading a volunteer training for 50 volunteers and having regular staff meetings with three groups during that same 2 weeks.  Oh, and we lead a Family Movie Night and we’re involved in a few skits for our students’ Disciple Now weekend.  Wow, can someone say, “you should’ve taken a ‘How to properly schedule your family’s appointments and activities so you don’t kill yourself’ class?”

Seriously, while we are looking forward to having these appointments behind us, I want to ask you to pray for my sweet Madi.  When we went to the ENT to schedule her surgery, we found out she has an ear infection…we had already scheduled this surgery twice but had to cancel both times because of an  ear infection.  There is no need to repair a ruptured ear drum if you are still getting infections that could rupture it again.  The doctor feels like this was caused by a build up of wax and the ear couldn’t drain properly.  Its different that an inner-ear infection.  So, we are treating it with drops and will go back in a week or so (oh, I forgot to add that appointment!) to see if its cleared up and to have her hearing screened.  She then goes back March 2, for a pre-op physical and the surgery is scheduled for March 25.  It is a simple out-patient surgery but she will have to stay home a few days to heal.  Hopefully, some of her hearing loss will return after the surgery.

Also, Madi will be having a muscle biopsy and nerve conduction testing later this year.  These are being done at the encouragement of our doctors at the Shriner’s Hospital to help determine what exactly is the cause of her muscle deficiency.  They are painful and she will have to be sedated.  I am not looking forward to these what so ever, but if it gives us the information we need to help her, it will be worth it.  She is a brave girl but mom’s never want to see their children hurt.  We’ll keep you updated…

Well, if there is such a thing as global warming, it is only happening in the summer!  This winter is evidence that we are getting colder and colder!  So far, our girls now have 3 school days to make up…and we didn’t even have snow on any of those days.  The first was the Thursday before Christmas break…and I’m not complaining that we missed school that day because Thayer had an accident on an icy spot about 9:30 am.  It did minor damage to the front of his truck and caused him to get 18 stitches after hitting his chin on the steering wheel.  I can only imagine what that would have been like if it had been a school bus!  Then, we did have about 9 inches of snow late Christmas night into Dec. 26th.  It was beautiful!  The girls enjoyed playing in it for about an hour and then decided warm pjs and hot chocolate were really much more fun than cold, wet snow!  It was really powedery, so sledding wasn’t that great.  After lunch, we had to pack up our car and drive out of the pretty snow to SC where what little snow they got was already melted by that afternoon.  The snow lasted about 2 more days in NC but because it was over Christmas break, no school was missed.  And now, we’ve missed two days (and had a 2 hour delay today) for an ice storm that really didn’t leave  much ice…just enough to be a nuisance after re-freezing each night.  And, it really didn’t even start until after 3 pm of the first day of school we missed.  People are really mad at the school system…if they wait until the morning to make a call, people say they wish they had called the night before so they could sleep in.  If they make the call at night and it turns out that it was unnecessary, people are all upset about a wasted day.  All I can say is that I’m glad I’m not a weather forecaster or the person who has to make the call for the schools!

The icicles hanging from everywhere still looked really pretty this morning even at 10 am as we took the girls to school.    We drive through farmland to get to their schools, so the ice was glistening in the fields, too.   The sun is shining today so the rest of the ice should finish melting today.  I’m glad for the extra time we got to spend at home over the last few days.  I am on jury duty today, so I missed Monday afternoon and yesterday morning, but its still nice when the world seems to stop (except for jury duty!) and you can just play games, watch  movies and chill with your family.  If I knew we wouldn’t still be going to school in July, I’d actually hope for a few more days like that this winter!

Hi everyone!  Well, after six weeks of no blogs, you’d think I had tons to say…it was a wonderful, but super busy end of 2010. Let’s just say that we were on the go non-stop from Thanksgiving through Christmas.  I have some pictures of the various things we did and I’ll hopefully have time to post a few later.  Julia and Madi were in Center Stage’s production of  “A Christmas Carol”.  They did a great job and it was the introduction to the Christmas season for us.  Thayer and I took Gateway’s staff to hear the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and it was awesome.  Our seats were horrible, but once the light show starts, it doesn’t really matter where you are.  Then, Thayer, Bailey and Avery went to see “Toy Story 3” on ice.  It was Avery’s field trip, but Bailey went too because during our move to Goldsboro 5 years ago, she missed getting to take a field trip to see Disney on Ice and everyone else got to go, either in Rocky Mount or Goldsboro…and she had never let us forget it!   I led the preschool program in a super cute production called “Christmas Snapshots” for two days and we had a production with the children at church one Sunday as well.  It was only a medley of 4 songs but turned out super cute.  We also took our children from church caroling at a local Assisted Living and were surprised to have a resident accompany us on the piano that used to play for Frank Sinatra!  We also enjoyed Julia and Bailey’s middle school band concert.  Our favorite part of the season this year was getting to take the girls to see the Carolina Ballet’s version of “The Nutcracker.”  Everyone enjoyed it…even Julia who doesn’t dance enjoyed getting to see the NC Symphony.  It was a very “cultural” Christmas for us.

I loved watching the wonder of Christmas through the eyes of a 5 year old this year…Avery really enjoyed this season and wanted to know why we did everything.  She was the only one who really wanted to put up the pieces of our Advent calendar.  The other girls would put up the pieces on “their” day if Avery reminded them, but for the most part, she was glad to put up each piece.  She was so cute the night I put it up.  She wanted to be able to put up baby Jesus on Dec. 24, so she counted backwards to see who needed to start on the 1st so she’d be the one to whose day it was on the 24th.  She also was extremely concerned that Santa wouldn’t visit her sisters because they never went to see him.  She tried to get them to go with her…she saw Santa in the Greensboro mall right before Thanksgiving.  There was speculation from her that if she went to see another Santa, she’d get two Pillow Pets, two dolls, etc.  It was really fun with her this year!

I have spent the last week relaxing with family in SC and it has given  me time to reflect on the last year and look ahead to 2011.  There were so many absolutely wonderful moments in 2010.  Looking back over last year’s blogs (and there were way fewer than the year before…you can tell how much busier we’ve become!), I noticed a trend in what’s important enough for me to blog about:  my family and my church.  This year, I’m sure, will be the same.  I am so blessed to be a wife, mom, daughter, sister, aunt,  and friend.  As if those “jobs” weren’t enough, my two part-time jobs, teaching music and leading our children’s ministry, keep us constantly busy.  Even when my body isn’t on the go, my mind is always thinking, searching for new, better ways to do things.  There isn’t much time for “me.”  But, I like it that way…I’m far happier when I’m doing things for others.  So, this year, I’m expecting many soccer and tee balls games and practices, dance lessons and competitions, band concerts, dance recitals, play practices and performances, tons of shopping, Cotillions, tons of meals around a table (both at our house and in Zaxby’s!!!), staff meetings, set constructions, camps, activities galore to plan and implement at church, and lots of walks with a very handsome pastor and a toy poodle this year!  And, even in those times when I feel run down or tired, I pray that I will be reminded how lucky I am to have so many things to do and so many beautiful people God has placed in my life for such a time as this!

Today we got to be with our family to celebrate Matthan’s birthday.  I am so incredibly thankful that we are close enough to be able to drive down to Florence to be part of his sweet life!  We always enjoy being with our family, but especially on days when there is cake!  He was excited to open each gift and we all loved watching him play with them all.

We also loved getting to see MichaelAnne.  She is six months and has grown so much since we last saw her in August.  The girls all were dying to hold her, but there were grandparents and great-grandparents there who wanted their turns first.  And, of course, Aunt Amy had to get in some sweet baby kisses, too!  She is getting such a great personality and we got some good pictures of her today!

Our busy life is  marching right on, so sorry that I don’t get to blog as often as I used to.  We have only 1 free night a week and usually spend that night catching up on family time.  The girls are dancing, playing soccer, are in a play and have loads of homework and church activities.  We are so blessed to have such amazing girls and love every minute even if it is crazy around here!  I recently read a poem somewhere that says that twenty years from now, I’ll have plenty of time to clean the baseboards and wash windows.  But, for now, I’m happy to be making memories with my children that will last a lifetime.  That cleaning mess can wait!!