Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Parker's 12th Birthday Interview

Every year on their birthday, I ask Parker and Claire to answer the same set of questions. I love looking back through the years at how their answers change and sometimes stay the same. Here is Parker's interview on his 12th birthday:

1. What is your favorite color? green
2. Who is your best friend? Colton
3. What is your favorite thing to do? play video games
4. What is your favorite food? poppyseed chicken and macaroni and cheese
5. What do you like to do with your family? go on trips
6. What is your favorite toy? my iPad mini
7. What do you want to be when you grow up? a rapper
8. What makes you happy? playing video games
9. What makes you sad? getting in trouble
10. What is your favorite show to watch? Full House
11. What is your favorite book? Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul
12. What do you love to learn about? animals
13. Where do you like to go? Myrtle Beach
14. What do you think about before you fall asleep? video games
15. If you could meet someone famous who would it be? Macklemore
16. What is something you are really good at? playing video games
17. What is something new you'd like to try? new video games
18. What is your favorite song to sing? Time Of Our Lives
19. What is your favorite movie? Paul Blart Mall Cop 2
20. What game do you like to play? Minecraft

(Clearly he's a little bit focused on video games this year!)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Parker's 12th Birthday (Part 1)

Parker celebrated his 12th birthday on May 12. I seriously can't even believe it. Where did my baby go? 

He wanted chocolate chip muffins for breakfast.
 Here he is with our family birthday plate for the last several years.
This is a very special birthday for Parker because it is his "golden birthday". In case you don't know, a golden birthday only happens once in your life. It's when your age matches up with the day of the month you were born. So Parker was turning 12 on the 12th. What are the odds that his sister will have her golden birthday this year too?! In honor of his special day, we had gold plates and napkins.

 After church, we went to Fazoli's with some family to celebrate. Fazoli's was his choice. A choice that I believe came down to the breadsticks. After all, it's always about the breaksticks, isn't it?

 We also moved the party to Dairy Queen for dessert. Because we know how to party.
Parker's having a birthday party with some friends this weekend, so I'll post more pictures then. If I survive the day/night with all those boys.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Eternal Significance

It will probably be on my tombstone. The question I ask over and over again to family and friends and most importantly to myself. I'm pretty sure that people get tired of hearing me say it.

"Does it have eternal significance?"

So many times I find myself getting all up in a tizzy over something going on in life. It could be something small like traffic that slows me down. Maybe it's something that seems even a bit more important such as a large bill arriving in the mail or an unexpected job change or loss.

We know that Jesus cares about every tiny detail in our lives. Nothing is too minor for Him. In fact, he wants us to talk to Him about all of these things. He is our best friend after all...isn't that what best friends do?

Here is one of my favorite reminders from Scripture:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6

Did you notice it says "in every situation"? It doesn't say "when you get desperate" or "when the situation is important enough". No! It says "EVERY". That means that Jesus wants to hear about it all. The laundry. The dog. The burnt dinner. The exciting surprise. The test results. The birthday party. Everything.

Isn't it so wonderful to know that we don't have to figure out which life events or situations are big enough or important enough to talk to God about? They all are!

I do want to share everything with Jesus, but God has also given me a little litmus test to keep my own emotions in check moment by moment too. It's that original question up there. Does it have eternal significance?

When I feel my blood pressure rising or hear a report of bad news, I try to remember to ask myself, "Does it have eternal significance"? Often, the answer is no. I've only lived 39 years (I am clearly very young), but I've learned that most things that we get upset about are not eternally important. That doesn't necessarily mean that they aren't important at all. For example, choosing a school for your children is certainly an important decision that may affect their lives here on earth. But will it matter in eternity???

It helps me to keep things in perspective. What really matters on this earth is our relationship with Jesus and how we share His love and the message of salvation with others. And that's about it.

When I arrive in heaven, it won't matter one bit how much that broken washing machine cost. What's going to matter is my personal relationship with Jesus and the way He used me through relationships with other people.

So I'll keep praying and telling Jesus all about the seemingly big things AND the small ones, and I know He will keep reminding me what is eternally significant along the way.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

We Won A Trip!

A few months ago, our church did a marriage enrichment series. At the end, all of the couples who participated were entered into a drawing for a fun marriage getaway trip. A marriage getaway giveaway, if you will. Well, smack me a somerset, guess who won?!?! Little ol' us.

It took us a few months to find a date that would work, but last weekend we made it happen. The getaway giveaway included a night at The Park Vista and a very generous gift certificate to The Peddler restaurant.

The entrance to Park Vista

Brian made a new friend

We were encouraged to order this dessert. Even though we were stuffed, we ordered it. This is what showed up at our table. Please keep in mind that the plate in the picture is a LARGE dinner plate. The cake took up the whole thing. It was very good, but we were only able to eat a few bites. Sometime we plan to go back when we are really hungry and just order this dessert! Parker and Claire have already volunteered themselves to go with us.
This was the view from our table at dinner. So pretty!
This was the view from our room. When we looked one direction from our balcony, we could see downtown Gatlinburg. It was especially pretty at night. When we looked the other way, we had a gorgeous mountain view.
We love our church and are thankful for this opportunity. It was a huge blessing to us! Thanks Believer's Church!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

101 Dalmatians Play

Our little performer has been at it again! Claire took another musical theater class this semester. They performed the play 101 Dalmatians at the end of the class. Claire played the part of "Lucky". She was absolutely thrilled because she had several lines PLUS she got to "solo bark" (ha!) and bite someone. The play was really cute, and all of the actors were fabulous.

We are looking forward to seeing Claire perform on stage for many years to come. She is a true star!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Philadelphia aka Tour de Cheesesteak

After we left New York City and Coney Island, we spent a couple of nights in Philadelphia. I'm not sure why this picture of us with the Liberty Bell has black lines on it. We saw the bell, crack and all.

 While we went to Philadelphia under the cover of "education" and "historic landmarks", but visiting the birthplace of cheesesteaks was a real plus. HOWEVER...we didn't like any of them. Seriously. We tried four (FOUR!) different places. We went to the three most famous, and one that wasn't as well known. Talk about a let down!

The first place we went was Pat's. Eh...
 Then we went (literally) right across the street to Geno's. Both of these are very well-known.
 And again, eh... (this on was a tiny, tiny bit better than Pat's)

 In between all of our cheesesteak eating, we managed to tour the city and see more historic places. The Betsy Ross house was really interesting. It was a paid tour, but the kids really wanted to do it. I'm glad we did.
 We also took a tour of the Mint to learn about and see money being made.
 Now back to the food...

Brian wanted to try the Roast Pork sandwich from another famous place called Dinic's. It was in Reading Terminal Market. Wow! That market was a crazy place full of vendor after vendor. I wish we had more time in there! Brian thought this sandwich was pretty good.
 In the meantime, Parker and I shared a cheesesteak from a place in Reading Terminal Market called Spataro's. It was the least well known place, but it was the best. Not great...but better than the rest.
 We took a tour of Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed.
 Of course, we had to go by and visit the Rocky steps and take our picture with the Rocky statue.

 Then one last cheesesteak hurrah at Tony Luke's. Better than the other two famous ones, but still just ok.
So as you can tell, the cheesesteak situation was a real disappointment. The meat is just very bland, and there was never enough cheese. The bread wasn't that great either. I'm sorry to be so negative, but I want to save you all the heartache that we have endured. I'm a little bit dramatic.

The moral of the story is this: Go to Philadelphia for the history, but not the food. The end.

(Disclaimer: I feel like I need to tell you that none of us ate whole sandwiches at all of these places. We shared them all except for the roast pork. It was all in the name of research. So don't judge!)