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Monday, July 30, 2012

Making plans

I thought I would be somewhere different right now. Back from our crazy summer of traveling, preparing for school to start, picking up a routine again, caught up on blogging, adjusting to new church assignments... calm and settled. I've reminded myself over and over again-- "God laughs when man makes plans." Boy is He laughing now.

Last week we got a phone call from our landlords. As Jeff answered the phone I joked with him, "Great, now we're getting kicked out of our house." I guess I should have knocked on wood. It turns out our landlords received a cash offer on our house that they just couldn't refuse. So they are selling the house, and we will have nowhere to live in 5 weeks.

We've spent the last 10 days combing through every rental and home for sale we can find. My head is spinning with houses and price tags and maps and schools. I don't even know where my kids will be starting school on August 17. I don't mean to complain; this trial is so trivial compared to so many others (like Bryan, or Jack, or Gracie). Mostly I just needed a place to vent, and Facebook wasn't cutting it.

Somewhere deep down, past the anxiety and stress, I am actually excited about this change. We didn't want to be in this rental for very long, although we had planned to get through another school year. I'm not anxious to get into another rental that I like less (likely for more money), but it will be a change nonetheless. And if we find a nearly-perfect house to buy (since I am convinced the perfect house doesn't exist), maybe we'll do that. I'm DEFINITELY not excited about packing and moving again, but there's a silver lining to that as well (spring cleaning).

Thanks for listening.

P.S. My perfect house does exist, it's just about $150,000 over budget. But isn't it cute?


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Savannah turns four

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The end of June brought another birthday celebration to our family. Savannah put another year in the books as she turned four years old. Savannah's birthday is towards the end of a crazy string of holidays. Starting in March, we have Isabelle's birthday, Easter, Logan's birthday, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Savannah's birthday, and finally Independence Day. I tried really hard to make her birthday special, despite the flurry of holidays surrounding it.

We began the day with Savannah's birthday balloons. She hates popping balloons so Logan and Daddy volunteered to do it for her. She stood by with ears plugged to catch the money that fell out.

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Since her birthday was on a Sunday, I wasn't sure if we would get to presents before church. But incredibly enough, we were ready early that morning so she opened her gifts just after breakfast.

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She was disappointed to unwrap a box of baby wipes...

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... until she opened it to find an Easy Bake Oven! This girl LOVES to be in the kitchen so Easy Bake was the perfect gift for her. (Patting myself on the back now.)

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We'd spent the day before doing fun birthday things, so her actual birthday was pretty low key and quiet. But we did have a cake in the evening-- strawberry lemonade cake at Savannah's request.

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Savannah has blossomed into such a fun and pleasant little girl. I have a feeling four will be a good year for her. As a toddler, Savannah was so demanding that I honestly did not know if I would make it through the day sometimes. I am so relieved that she has passed through that stage (for the most part) and is now one of my favorite people to spend time with.

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Unlike her brother, Savannah is not much of a toy player. She much prefers make believe, or hanging out with me doing whatever I am doing (hence the love of cooking). She is a chatterbox and tells me all sorts of stories while I cook and clean. She makes me laugh all the time with her funny faces and silly comments.

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Savannah LOVES music and dancing. She is always asking me to turn on music so she can sing and dance to it. Her favorite artists are Justin Beiber (Baby), Taio Cruz (Dynamite), and Kelly Clarkson (Stronger). After begging for over a year, I finally gave in and enrolled her in dance this fall.

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Savannah is surprisingly brave about some things, and very timid about others. She cries when she isn't tall enough to go on the big roller coasters and water slides, but runs the other direction whenever a dog comes her way. She loves to do everything Logan does, and is upset when she can't because of age, size, or ability. She works hard to keep up with him, whether it be on a bike or reading a book.

I sure love this girl! She is everything I could hope for in a daughter and more. Happy birthday, Savannah!

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4-year-old stats: Weight: 32 lbs (25%), Height: 38.5 inches (25%)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

OKC Memorial

One day I found myself downtown with the kids and a few hours to kill. We were going to head to the library, but then I remembered the memorial at the site of the Oklahoma City bombing.


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A block-wide strip where two buildings once stood are now covered in symbolic memorials. The reflecting pool below was once a street. The two gates (one in the background and one directly behind the kids in the foreground) frame the moment of destruction. One gate has the time 9:01 engraved on it; the other has 9:03.

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The Field of Empty Chairs contains one chair for each of the 168 people killed in the attack. It was so sad to stand and look at those chairs and imagine someone sitting in each of them. Especially moving were the smaller chairs for each of the children who died.

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I was impressed by how peaceful the memorial felt. I remember as a kid hearing about the bombing and feeling such grief that something so horrible had happened. But the memorial had been designed to inspire hope and healing, not despair and depression.

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I'm glad I got to spend an afternoon sharing this special place with my children. Despite my efforts, they didn't quite gain the appreciation I had hoped for, but it had an impact on me and one day I'm sure they will understand better, too.

Thunder Alley

A few weeks ago our city hosted part of a little event known as the NBA finals. It took me a little bit to "catch the bug," but once the OKC Thunder made the finals, I was worried we were going to be cast out of the city if we didn't show some support. (When I say "we," I really mean me, because of course Jeff had been following the team avidly from the beginning of the playoffs.)

We didn't make it to any of the games because our budget wouldn't allow it, but we did venture down to "Thunder Alley"-- the street in front of Chesapeake arena that transformed into a Thunder-themed carnival every day of a home game. Once there, it wasn't too hard to be swept up in the excitement and spirit of the sport. We got our faces painted, shot hoops, gawked at the Budweiser Clydesdales, and gave high 5's to the mascot (whose name I still don't know).


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I imagine we'll be better fans next year, it just takes me a little bit to feel ownership of my city's sports teams. But if they play as well as they did this year, it won't be hard to feel Thunder pride.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Cousin carnival

As part of our reunion we held a cousin carnival. It just so happened my niece's birthday fell on the last day of our reunion, so when I saw this idea on Pinterest, I knew we had to make it happen. Everyone was in charge of one carnival game, and we ended the day with cake and a pinata to make it feel birthday party-ish. It was a huge success! Kids and adults alike had so much fun.


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All the grandkids with their carnival bags.
 
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Grandpa put on a mad scientist show for the kids. So funny and cool!

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The birthday girl.
 
I elected to do a silly photo booth. I could not have anticipated how great the photos turned out! I think we need to update the family wall at Grandma's house with these pictures. :) I would post them ALL here because they are so great but there are a lot so I'll just post my favorites. The rest are on Facebook if you care to see them.

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I saved the best for last. Meet the youngest Pendleton grandchild....
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 Jack!

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Oh my goodness, I am out of breath laughing just looking at it again for the millionth time. It never gets old! This is the stuff memories are made of, folks. You should try it sometime.

Family reunion - Breckinridge style

First of all - I have a disclaimer to make. I have not been ignoring my blog. I fully intend to update it with every noteworthy event from the past 6 weeks. I've spent the past 3 weeks with my parents in California and although I had every intention of blogging while I was there, there was only one computer and lots of people so you know how it goes. And although I've recently discovered that Facebook is a much faster and easier way to share pictures and random thoughts, I still appreciate the personal history aspect of blogging and will not be giving it up any time soon. End of disclaimer.

A few years ago we decided that our families have become large enough and spread out enough to merit our own family reunions. The first Bryan and Susan Pendleton reunion was held in early 2011 and was organized by Jeff's very talented eldest sister, Amy. As Jeff is the second child in his family, we were assigned the task of planning and executing the second Pendleton reunion. (Code: Carly will plan everything and Jeff will nod his head when asked if it's ok.)

After much searching and debate, I found a cabin in Breckinridge, CO that satisfied all my criteria (a bedroom per family, lots of bathrooms, centrally located, good price, hot tub). We met there the first weekend in June and were rewarded with beautiful weather and loads of fun.

Honestly, there doesn't need to be a lot of structure when us Pendletons get together. We enjoy being together so much that it doesn't matter what we are doing. But I did try to have one big activity every day. One day we went on a short hike to some ponds nearby.


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This was the closest we came to a family picture.

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I think we decided these logs were felled due to a beetle infestation. I can't remember now for sure.

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We don't have a lot of boy cousins in our family so these two have to stick together. They act as the brother neither of them has.

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The Katschke family. I wish I had thought to take a family picture here. So beautiful.

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Typical Isabelle face.

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Gotta love the backbacks these brothers wear now that they are dads.

On Sunday we had a little fireside. Everyone had their part and they were all so sweet and special. For our part I was able to do a little family history. It was really neat to learn a little bit about my ancestors-in-law. Maybe now I will be more motivated to do some genealogy. Maybe.

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The Clarks performing a musical number.
 
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Singing, "If you're happy and you know it."

We also spent a lot of time in our cabin's amazing yard playing ball. We had been told that typically in early June in Colorado there is still snow on the ground where we were, but the mild winter left everything in spring conditions for us. And we loved every minute of it.

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