Monday, May 30, 2011

Ahoy, mateys! Summer is upon us!

Well, summer is here, and for our family summer means eating meals in a loud dining hall full of crazy kids, making new friends with our summer staff, and of course, theme night costumes!  Tonight is the "Quest for the Key to Outback Island" so we've gathered up our best pirate garb and are going to set sail for another delicious dinner at camp tonight.  Enjoy a little sneak peak...
Oh, and in case you're still wondering what our lives consisted of between last December and the beginning of camp...stay tuned.  The regularly scheduled updates will continue shortly!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

December 2010

Hank turned 5 on December 1st!  We are always in Tyler for hiring week on Hank's birthday, so it's become a tradition to celebrate his birthday dinner at Chuck E. Cheese's.  We were joined by some of our sweet Columbus friends who were also in town for hiring week and by some of our sweet Tyler friends and family.  Grammy made Hank's chocolate chip cookie cake with Lightening McQueen on it!


One week later, on December 8th, Tucker turned 2!  We've adopted a family tradition of going to get donuts on the mornings of the kids birthdays, but because Daddy was sick this year, Tucker and I went to the donut store to pick up donuts and bring them home.  He couldn't wait until we got home to dig in - he had to get a head start!

We were so blessed to have Grammy and Pops spend Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with us at our home in Columbus!  We got all dressed up and went to the Christmas Eve service at church.  Grammy snapped a picture of each of the kids in front of our Christmas tree before we left.  Yes, our Christmas tree is tiny.  No, Hank did not want to smile. :)


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

November 2010

One of the biggest moments of November was Landry's first hair cut!  I took her with me to get my hair cut so she could watch and know what to expect, then it was her turn!  She was so tiny that even with the booster in the chair she was too short.  Heather, the sweet gal who cuts my hair, knelt down on the cushioned booster instead and had Landry stand while she did the cutting.  Then Landry got to sit in the chair to have her hair dryed and styled.  She loved every minute of it and was smiling ear-to-ear.  We got 10 inches cut of to give to locks of love.

The next two pictures don't have much of a story, I just think they are awesome.  I think my cousin Haley took them with my brother Jesse's camera.  We were taking big extended family picture at Thanksgiving, and Hank and Tucker were taking a closer look at the camera.

It's a rare moment indeed when all 3 kids are sitting still enough to snap a pic!  Not the best ever, but awfully sweet!  (Obviously this was taken before Landry got her hair cut!)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

October 2010

One of the highlights of October was our annual trip to the pumpkin patch.  We were so excited to get to go to Pappy's Pumpkin Patch while we were in Tyler.  I am convinced that this place is every bit as fun as any other pumpkin patch in the country and it is FREE! 

We also went trick-or-treating in the neighborhood behind ours.  This particular neighborhood closes off the traffic to their streets, and nearly all the kids in Columbus stop by to fill their goody-bags!

Is that not the cutest little puppy face you've ever seen? 

I love the adorably awkward faces these two are making!

Monday, March 28, 2011

September 2010

The big event in September was Hank beginning his first soccer season!!!  Here in Columbus, they pack a lot of soccer into a short amount of time.  Hank had just one practice, then 5 or 6 weeks worth of games with a game every Tuesday and Thursday.

Soccer for 4 and 5 year olds is a hoot to watch.  Everyone on the field is within a 5 yard radius, with the soccer ball smack dab in the middle.  Hank's tendency was to run around the circle of people just waiting for the ball to pop out of the pack...which it rarely did.  And bless his heart, his shorts were way too big his first game so he was running around pulling his shorts up the whole time.  He didn't get alot of contact with the ball, but he didn't seem to mind.  He just ran and smiled and sometimes giggled!  He did get one goal this his own goal.  But he seemed surprisingly unbothered by that fact.  He enjoyed playing goalie on occasion, and was surprisingly his Daddy.  Jeff was one of the coaches, so that was special for Hank.

Landry and Tucker were great little cheerleaders for Hank.  I just had a hard time keeping them off the field...

  It was fun, but we were ready for it to be over when the season finally ended.  Columbus doesn't have soccer in the spring, so we're getting ready to do t-ball instead.  But we're already looking forward to soccer next fall...when Hank and Landry will be teammates!!!  Look out Columbus!

has it really been over 7 months?

So, I really have no explanation for why I haven't posted since last August.  I've even had persistent reminders and strong nudgings from some dedicated know who you are - wink, wink!  Anyway, I've finally had the urge to blog again, and don't have any idea how to pick up after such a long break.  Sooooo, I decided to give a quick little review on each month since my last post to catch us up to present-day.  I'll go ahead and post September's review right after this, then I'll do the following months here and there over the next week or so.  Enjoy!  And welcome back!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

highlights of summer 2010

You may have noticed that it's been nearly 4 months since I last posted.  Most of you know the Lay fam well enough to know that it's only because of our crazy summer schedule.  It has been a wonderful summer, and I could spend hours telling you all about it, but instead I'm going to attempt to summarize the past 100 or so days with some of our favorite pictures and stories of our favorite moments (in no particular order)...

highlight #1: our wonderful nannies

Deo was our first half nanny...  We love her and miss her dearly!  She was our nanny second half last summer, so it was fun to grow even closer to her this summer.  She is back at school in Tennessee, but we are hoping to see her at Winterfest in December, if not before!  Deo, thank you for the amazing ways you served and blessed our family this summer!!!

We also enjoyed a visit from Chrismiss, our beloved nanny from past summers.  The kids couldn't quite understand why she wasn't our nanny again this summer, but they enjoyed a couple of brief visits from her, nonetheless.  The picture above was taken with the photobooth program on her MacBook.  Chrismiss is starting grad school at Auburn, so we will miss seeing her on a regular basis, but look forward to many skype dates between now and the next time we get to see her.

I don' have any pictures to prove it, but during week 2 the kids and I took a quick little "tour de tejas" to see some family (more on that later), but on our way to Keller, we drove through Waco and got to see Skwirlie, another nanny from the past!  It was fun to have a quick little Chick-fil-A lunch date with her and to caravan part of the way to Keller.

Deo left after week 5, and our second half nanny wasn't scheduled to start until week 6, so we had the pleasure of spending a week with Hidden Treasure.  The kids and I had a ton of fun with her!

HOP was our second half nanny, and was a wonderful blessing to our whole family!  She was so creative and always so willing to help!  We were sad to see her go when camp ended, but we also know we'll be seeing a lot of her in the months to come since she goes to school in Austin, only about an hour away!  HOP, there aren't enough words to express our gratitude!  Don't be a stranger!!!

highlight #2: being outside

Well, the weather since the last week of camp has NOT been conducive to being outside (heat index today was 110 degrees), but in the early part of the summer, we had some fun rainy days and some nice moderate sunshiny summer days.  We loved being outside...

rain or shine...

highlight #3: visiting family and visits from family

During our "tour de tejas" we went to Keller to visit my brother Jesse and his wife Cassie and see their gorgeous new home.  Thanks, Aunt Cassie, for taking us to the neighborhood pool!  We also went to stay with my parents at their new barn-house on the Lucky 13!  Unfortunately, I have no pictures to show, but it was a fun visit!!!

My grandfather, Dad-Dad, stopped by to see us on her way to Mexico.  Always good to see you Dad-Dad!

We had a couple of brief visits from my parents.  We always love it when Grammy and Pops come to visit!!!

And toward the end of camp, we had a last-minute visit from Aunt Claire and Baby Kay!!!  And we even got to see Uncle Joey for a few minutes too!

highlight #3: birthdays

I am so sad that I don't have pictures to show of this, but as a gift to Jeff for Father's Day and his birthday, I signed us up for a couple's hands-on cooking class called Southwest Sizzle.  We had SO much fun!  We got to learn how to make some delicious dishes along with the other couples attending the class.   At the end of the night, Jeff told me it was his favorite date he had ever been on with me!!!


Grandma Sharon also had a birthday!  We took her to breakfast at Beckey's (a local diner-type restaurant) to celebrate her!

I celebrated my birthday during week 9 at camp.  It was a wonderful day!!!  HOP made me an adorable (and yummy) cake!  (Sorry I can't figure out how to turn the picture the right direction.)  The kids sang to me (maybe I'll upload the video of that for another post).  I had lots of notes, cards, and phone calls from so many of you loved ones, and I felt very loved!!!  When Jeff got off work he came home and made me chocolate mousse for dessert.  Then he pulled out his lap top and played some cheesy 80's love songs and danced with me in the living room.  So sweet and romantic!

highlight#4: camp!!!
Of course, one of the things we love most about our summers is camp!  And what would camp be without the staff?  This is a picture of the leadership staff.  We loved getting to know all the college kids who served the Lord at Outback this summer, and we sad to see them go.  Please keep in touch and come back to visit!

One of my highlights of the summer was getting to lead a group of girls each half through a "half-time" Bible study.  We went though portions of a book called "Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild" by Mary Kassian.  It was such a privilege and such a joy to study truth with those girls.  (And I highly recommend this book to any girl!)

As much as I love my summer-time friends, I am increasingly grateful for my year-round Columbus friends.  It has been a privilege to serve alongside the other staff wives like Julie and Meg.  One week, Meg and I got away for a pedicure to enjoy a little quality time together!!!

The last week of camp was a highlight for sure!  It wasn't your typical week of camp at Outback.  Mercy Street, an inner city mentoring ministry in West Dallas brought a group of kids to experience camp.  It was so fun to watch those kids just soak it in and live it up!  And Hank, Landry, and Tucker had a great time playing with one of their staff member's three kids...L.J., Coleman, and Ayla!

highlight #5: sweet time with the kids

We had our first family movie night (minus Tucker, who was in bed).  We popped popcorn, ate movie candy, and watched Beauty and the Beast.  It was a blast!

Hank and Landry got to go to VBS for the first time ever.  They were worn out by the end of the week, but had a great time.  I got to work with the fifth and sixth graders, and had fun doing hands-on ministry with some kids besides my own for a few hours that week.

Big news: we broke ground on the treehouse we've been dreaming about for months!  But that's all the details you get for now...more coming soon in a treehouse exclusive!!!

And this will merit it's own post, as well, but let's just say we've had some sweet conversations with Hank lately.  Some of them have stemmed from reading this great book "The Jesus Storybook Bible" that we read to the kid at bedtime.  More on that later, too...

Well, that's our summer in a rather large nutshell.  If you were part of our summer, know that we miss you and definitely want you to keep in touch!  If you weren't part of our summer and wonder where on earth we've been, give us a call or shoot us an email.  We're back into the swing of "normal" life...whatever that is!