Tag Archives: Gracie

Happy Birthday, Miss Gracie!

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Somehow, in the midst of everything else going on, I forgot to post pictures of Gracie’s 22nd birthday celebration two weeks ago.

As I reflect back on that celebratory day it is hard to believe it was just 15 days ago. It feels like a lifetime.

This birthday was an unusual one, as it was the first time I haven’t had a child home on their birthday. Our normal tradition of waking up with birthday kid with a song and a cupcake didn’t happen. I didn’t think Zach would appreciate us climbing up through their bedroom window in “I Love You Forever,” Robert Munsch style, with a cupcake in hand…

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So we left Gracie’s birthday morning wake-up to her husband, and instead delayed our well wishes for later in the day. I did, however, wake that morning with a feeling of panic over forgetting to wake up Grace with her birthday song, until the cobwebs cleared and I remembered Grace no longer lives at home.

Gracie’s birthday celebration took place that evening in Cranberry. When we asked Grace what she wanted to do for her birthday she requested a family dinner at Blaze Pizza. Blaze Pizza is a favorite eat-out spot for our crew. Everyone loves the novelty of building their own pizza, and we love the vast number of toppings to pick from. Rusty describes it as Subway for pizza.

We all arrived at Blaze Pizza at 5:00 with gifts in hand. Everyone was coming from different directions so our group of eight people took up 5 parking spots in the lot. Tyler and I came straight from his dyslexia tutoring in Wexford. Molly and the boys drove over after their dentist appointments in Monaca. Grace came from her home in Ellwood City, having taken the day off work for her birthday. Toby and Molly drove up from the construction site in Toby’s truck, and Zach came from the site in his car. It felt a bit obscene when we realized we had five cars for eight people.

When we got inside we decided to start with dinner and save gift opening for the end.

Everyone got in line to build their pizzas.

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The results of that effort was nothing short of delicious!! Yum!

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Then it was time for gifts. Grace requested camping gear for her birthday with hopes that she and Zach could enjoy some inexpensive vacations once they acquired the gear necessary to go camping. She had already received a hand-me-down tent from my parents who also gifted her with a Coleman lantern for her birthday gift. From Toby and I she received a two-man sleeping bag and camping cooking utensils.

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Molly and Rusty pooled their money and bought Grace a Dutch oven. They laminated a homemade  camping cookbook of Dutch oven recipes that they had printed offline and attached to the Dutch oven with a carabiner.

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Tyler and Braden went in a different direction with their birthday gifts to Grace. Braden bought Grace a beautiful book and Tyler bought Grace a t-shirt that read, “Kind People are my kind of People.” He thought Grace would like it because it reminded him of Mr. Rogers, who is a personal hero of Miss Gracie. When he found it at the store they only had it in a large. I was concerned that it would be too big on Gracie’s petite frame. Tyler tried to quell my concerns with the logic we use when clothes shopping for him. “It’s ok, she will grow into it.” I hated to burst his bubble but Gracie’s days of gaining inches with each passing year are long behind her!

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After we were done at Blaze Pizza we headed over to the Milkshake Factory for Gracie’s birthday dessert. In lieu of cake, Grace asked for milkshakes. She and Zach had discovered the Milkshake Factory and were eager to introduce the rest of us to this yummy place.

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We arrived and began perusing the menu, trying to decide which shake we each wanted to try.

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It was a tough choice, as they all sounded delicious, but everyone finally settled on their picks. Grace and Zach were right…Milkshake Factory shakes are amazing!!

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After enjoying Gracie’s birthday dessert, we said our goodbyes and headed back towards home. That night just happened to be the night of Braden’s end of the year basketball banquet.

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So, we kissed our 22-year-old daughter good-night and headed off to the next celebration.

How grateful we are to call this talented, kind, diligent, thoughtful, generous, wise, patient, faithful, forgiving, beautiful young lady our daughter.

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We love you, Miss Grace, and hope this year is the best one yet!!

(It is certainly starting out memorable!!)

 

 

Grace and Zach’s Wedding Pictorial

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Until I can steal the needed moments to record the abundance of blessings over the last few days, a pictorial preview will have to do.

Grace was a stunning bride in her $100 clearance dress so lovingly and artistically altered for Grace as a gift from the talented Miss Wendy.  She took a beautiful dress and turned it into a walking work of art that was so very Gracie!

Her bouquet was one of our homemade wedding projects, with roses Grace dried from bouquets given to her by Zach over the course of their courtship.

They were married Thursday evening, October 17th. The day was filled with festivities and joyful celebration as we celebrated the union of two beautiful souls deeply committed and in love. Their joy was infectious.

Prior to their wedding ceremony, at the Philadelphia Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we met to capture photos of the happy couple. I took 800 photos that day, finding myself enamored with the beauty of the bride, the adoration of the groom, and the sweet spirit that permeated the temple grounds. Here is a small sampling of the day.

I promise a more wordy recollection when I recover from the week enough to pen something coherent.

It really was a perfect day!

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The Big Day is Here!

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After months of anticipation the big day is here!

Grace is getting married to her sweetheart, Zach…

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And in 12 hours our sweet Gracie will officially be Gracie Elizabeth Tame.

This is a love story that has been 12 years in the making. When Grace sat in primary opening exercises that first Sunday at church, after moving into our new home, she had no idea Zach Tame would become her future husband and these dear friends would become her future family.

God began writing their shared story a decade ago, and today the pages of their story turn to the next chapter as they commit themselves before family and God to love, honor, and cherish each other for eternity.

Today we give our daughter to the man who loves and adores her, and in turn gain another son (and an extended family of wonderful people.)

The blessings are simply too abundant to count and I find my eyes leaking with the fullness of emotions washing over me this day.

The turning of a chapter in the book of life always comes with a mix of emotions.

There is sentimental reflection on chapters past, as I think back on my favorite parts of our family’s story,

While eagerly anticipating all the possible blessings the next chapters hold.

It is no wonder my emotions are leaking out of my tear ducks.

All these feelings are a lot to carry in one’s heart.

The rush of emotions started pouring forth with the return of Miss Molly, who flew home on Tuesday night to be a part of the wedding festivities. As Gracie’s maid of honor, she wouldn’t have missed wedding week for anything!

Her journey home began at 6:00 am and consisted of a four hour shuttle ride to the Salt Lake City airport, two connecting flights across the United States, and a car ride home from the airport that ended at 11:30 pm with a hug from her big sister.

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These two besties have missed each other greatly!

Yesterday we loaded up the car for the five hour drive to Philadelphia for Grace and Zach’s Thursday evening wedding.

We checked into our two hotel rooms last night.

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We spent the evening relaxing, enjoying family time,

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And doing our nails for the wedding.

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We woke up to the realization that the day we have been preparing for had finally arrived.

It is wedding day!

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This is the day Grace and Zach will be sealed together for time and eternity in the Philadelphia LDS Temple.

What a wonderful page in our book of life!

 

Gracie and Friends.. Painting the Town!

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Our third big event of last week was Gracie’s bachelorette party. Her wedding day isn’t until mid-October, but since the maid-of-honor (Miss Molly) is headed west in 10 days, and won’t return until the day before Gracie’s wedding, we had to improvise and squeeze in multiple pre-wedding celebrations two months early.

One of those big events was Gracie’s bachelorette party. Molly planned a painting party at our local art studio, Burgundy and Brushes, and invited the remainder of the wedding party and their moms to join us.

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Oh, how I love my daughter!

Included in the bachelorette party fun was Gracie’s two bridesmaids, Olivia (Gracie’s best friend) and Lydia (my niece), along with their mothers.

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Gracie and her bridal party.

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Miss Lana and Olivia

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Aunt Kelly and Lydia

Zach’s mother and sisters were also invited but the party fell on the weekend Zach’s sister, Heather, had to check into Southern Virginia University, which unfortunately took a few of the Tame ladies out of town for the weekend. We did have Zach’s sisters Jenny, Andrea, and Stephanie join us as we celebrated Gracie’s journey from Miss to Mrs.

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Three of Gracie’s new sisters: Jenny, Stephanie, and Andrea

In planning Gracie’s bachelorette party we let Grace choose which painting she wanted to paint. In looking at the class options displayed on the Burgundy and Brushes website, she chose the painting that depicted a silhouette of a tree against a colorful background.

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Molly and I made plans for her party by purchasing bachelorette party decorations on Amazon and kitschy bride accessories to make the celebration come to life.

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We made plans to serve fun finger food to enjoy as we painted,

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And our party favors were new lipsticks for each of the girls, which were applied for the sake of Gracie’s party favor,

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A photo mat that said, “Kiss the Miss goodbye,” in gold script.

We had everyone leave their lip prints and signatures on the photo mat for Grace to use to frame the group photo of our completed artistic creations as a special memento of her bachelorette party.

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Once everyone arrived, made a plate, and settled in to their places before the blank canvases, we began to paint.

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We were guided through the step-by-step process of creating the piece of art Gracie chose for the class.

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The instructor was fun and entertaining, giving each of us as much or as little guidance as we wanted.

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As we painted we listened to the Mama Mia soundtracks, per Gracie’s request.

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It was fun to see the variety of painting styles and color preferences emerge as our trees appeared on canvas.

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It was fun to talk, laugh, and check out each other’s paintings as we worked.

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Gracie “carving” her and Zach’s initials in her completed tree…

The finished paintings were as unique as the artists who created them!

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It was such a fun night!!

Then it was time to head home for a good night’s sleep…

We needed to be well rested for the next morning’s fun: Gracie’s bridal shower!

 

 

She said “Yes!”

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It’s with hearts overflowing with gratitude that we share the news that our family is once again growing by “two feet.”

This time, however, it is not by way of adoption, but by the sacred road of marriage that we are gaining a son.

This afternoon, Zach took Gracie to a place that holds a special place in her heart and asked her to be his bride. Standing at the base of Buttermilk Falls he declared his love and devotion, presenting her with a treasured token of his love: a family heirloom, his great grandmother’s ring.

And Grace responded with a resounding, “YES!”

Their courtship has been a sweet blessing in the midst of some challenging months, and it was with great joy and unwavering assurance that we gave Zach our blessing when he approached us to ask if he could have our oldest daughter’s hand in marriage.

Grace didn’t know today was going to be one for the memory books, but we did! Zach included us in the blessed event as secret photographers of the proposal. It was such a gift of love to be allowed to be part of that experience and it was a joy to share that moment with both Molly and Sherrie, her soon-to-be second mother.

Grace couldn’t have saved her heart for a better man, and as a result is blessed to be gaining an incredible family.

Our hearts are so full that we find our eyes leaking with the joy of it all.

Blessings of love and eternal happiness to the bride-to-be and the man she loves.

God has blessed them both!

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Just for the RECORD…

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Our Gracie girl is 21.

I can hardly believe it.

It seems like just yesterday I was celebrating my 21st birthday with baby Gracie by my side.

What a joy she has been and what joy she has brought into our family. She is the child that made us parents, and allowed us to learn to parent on her, graciously forgiving our missteps and ineptness.

We named her Grace Elizabeth in honor of two of her great grandmothers, giving her the initials G.E.M, and that is exactly what she is…a gem.

What a day we had celebrating our sweet gem turning 21. Here is a look at Miss Grace’s special day…

Grace lucked out this year with her birthday falling on a Saturday. Saturday birthdays always feel extra special, since the celebrating can begin from first wake-up and continue on throughout the day, without anyone having to break from the celebration for mundane tasks like school and work. Because Gracie’s birthday fell on a Saturday,  she was able to pack it full with celebrations on many fronts with all the people she loves most.

The celebration began hours before Gracie’s morning wake-up when we snuck into the dining room to decorate for her birthday. Months earlier she made her birthday wish known when she asked for a record player. This gift became the kick-off for a really fun 21st birthday theme…

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You all know how I love a good theme!

 

This catchphrase became the theme of the party as her siblings wrote the 21 reasons they love Gracie on paper records that we hung around the dining room.

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Each statement of loving affirmation was endearing and so reflective of the child who decorated the paper record. Among the reasons Grace is so loved were these statements written by her siblings…

Molly:

I love your selflessness.

I love your creativity.

I love your huge heart.

I love your confidence and courage.

Rusty:

I love your willingness to listen to whatever I talk about.

I love that we share a love for Disney.

I love that you are always willing to serve and give a helping hand.

I love that you put 100% into your hobbies.

Braden:

I love you because you are there to talk to me.

I love that you love me no matter what.

I love that you are always by my side.

I love that you make me laugh.

Ozzie:

I love how you are always happy.

I love your laugh.

I love your smile.

I love how you are so forgiving.

Tyler:

I love when you laugh.

I love your personality.

I love that you always play with me.

I love that you are nice.

The rest of the room was decorated to match our theme and the result was a charming birthday surprise for Grace who, after being awoken to our off-key rendition of “Happy Birthday,” came downstairs to open her gifts in the dining room.

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She loved the theme and took the time to walk around the room, reading the messages of love penned by her younger siblings.

 

Then we sat down, per Gracie’s request, so that she could open her gifts before the next adventure planned for her birthday.

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Our gift to Grace was the record player that sat as the centerpiece in the middle of the table.

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The kids went along with the theme, and had purchased in Disney World, two vinyl records from the parks. Rusty and Molly bought her the soundtrack to Pirates of the Caribbean.

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Ozzie and Tyler bought her the vinyl soundtrack to The Lion King.

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Braden was the only one who went in his own direction. He bought her an aloe drink, knowing how much Gracie likes them.

After a yummy breakfast of monkey bread, Grace and Molly began getting ready for the next adventure of the day. Grace invited Molly and Olivia to join her at the Sign-a-Thon held at The Mall at Robinson.

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The Sign-a-Thon is a huge deaf event held every spring to increase awareness for and about the deaf community. As part of Gracie’s ASL class requirements she is asked to attend multiple deaf events each semester.

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She was excited that this particular event landed on her birthday.

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She decided to bring her celebration to the Sign-a-Thon  where she celebrated with Molly, Olivia, Zach, friends from church, and her closest friends from her signing classes.

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They spent a few hours at the Sign-a-Thon, where Grace was able to share her love of American Sign Language interpreting with her favorite people, and then they enjoyed a birthday lunch at Plaza Azteca.

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After a fun day celebrating her 21st birthday with her boyfriend and best friends, she and Molly returned home for our family celebration with Mimi Joy. For Gracie’s birthday celebration she asked if we could eat at Blaze pizza, our favorite new discovery.

We invited Mimi Joy to join us for dinner.

We arrived, each walked through the line,

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Creating our own amazing pizza,

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And feasted until we could feast no longer.

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We enjoyed an evening of good food, great company, and MUCH silliness, as we celebrated our first born baby’s 21st trip around the sun.

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Just for the record…

We think this girl is pretty grand!

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Happy birthday, Miss Grace!

Texas Travels

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My baby girl is back from her Texas adventures,

and she had a wonderful time in the Lonestar State.

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This past winter Grace and her best friend, Olivia, began making plans to take a trip together. Now that they are college students, and gainfully employed, they had the means to make such plans.

They decided to advantage of familial hospitality and crash at the home of Olivia’s Aunt Peggy and Uncle Steven, who graciously invited the girls for a visit.

Living just outside Fort Worth, Texas, made Aunt Peggy and Uncle Steven’s home a perfect home base for day trips around the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Olivia’s aunt and uncle were generous and gracious hosts, spoiling the girls rotten and treating them like adopted daughters during their time in Texas.

Grace and Olivia returned home two weeks ago and we picked them up from the airport. The trip back home was filled with tales of Texas adventures and it was evident it had been a trip for the memory books!

Grace is currently working on one of her awesome travel videos of her Texas travels, but until it is complete and posted I will share some snap shots and snippets from her journal entries of her trip to Texas:

Day 1:

“Eight months of planning has led up to this week. Liv and I have been planning this trip for months and it begins today! We headed to the airport at noon to catch our 2:55 flight. I was a ball of both nerves and excitement; a perfect blend of emotions for travel! We got through security, found our gate, then got something to eat before our flight. Soon it was time to board and off we flew. We were in the air for 2.5 hours. When we arrived in Texas we disembarked and headed towards the luggage area. Suddenly, Liv and I each had an arm around us and Uncle Steve between us.

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We were staying with Liv’s Aunt Peggy and Uncle Steve for the week. We left the airport and headed to their home in Fort Worth where we were welcomed by Aunt Peggy and shown around the house. It was a beautiful house! Our fun day 1 ended with Sno Cones at Uncle Steve’s suggestion. I had Barbie flavored and it was delicious!!”

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Day 2:

“Today was a great day! We woke up, got ready, hopped into Uncle Steve’s truck and I started driving us to Dallas.

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The drive was surprisingly easy and within an hour we were in Dallas, pulling into the JFK 6th Floor museum parking lot. The 6th Floor Museum, housed in the warehouse where the gun was fired, memorializes the life of John F. Kennedy and walks visitors through that fateful day. It was a very interesting museum!

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After the museum we drove over to a cool park that had bronze cattle statues. I loved them! They had so much personality.

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We then decided to start driving to McKinney, Texas, where our friends, the LaFond’s, now live. We were so excited to see Eli after four years apart. At their home we were greeted by different but familiar faces. Eli had changed so much from the 13 year old guy that had been in co-op with us. While there we went window shopping downtown and then had a delicious dinner with the LaFond family. It was so much fun catching up. I am glad we were able to see them again!”

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Day 3:

“Our third day in Texas began with a scary experience on the road but we were soon calmed down and ready to salvage the day with some fun. We spent the day at the Fort Worth Stockyards where we wandered around the many shops until it was time for the cattle drive. It was neat seeing the longhorn steers up close. After the drive we enjoyed the stockyard maze; a cute little maze in the heart of town that was surprisingly tough!

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Dinner was at Joe T. Garcia’s and was incredible! Best Mexican food I have ever had!! The food was amazing but so was the atmosphere. Joe T. Garcia’s had beautiful gardens and fountains. Plus, they had a mariachi band that played for us.

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When we were finished eating  it was time to head to Billy Bob’s for some line dancing. We arrived just as they were starting a line-dancing lesson. We slid on our cowboy boots and headed to the dance floor. It was so much fun! We left feeling like the real deal!”

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Day 4: 

“Today we enjoyed a relaxing morning. Aunt Peggy was home for the day and we decided to go downtown Fort Worth to check out the sights. Aunt Peggy drove us in her convertible. It felt so summery with the top down and our sunglasses on!

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Our first stop was the water gardens. Here we had fun climbing the rocks and messing around within the amazing outdoor water sculptures.

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From there we went to see three art museums located in downtown Fort Worth. My favorite was the Museum of Modern Art. Outside the museum was a sculpture that echoed when you stood inside. We had fun messing around in there…singing, dancing, clapping, etc.

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Next we drove over to a cool shop that Liv discovered online. It was called Pop n’ Cream and it was AMAZING! They had candy, ice cream and popcorn…lots of popcorn! Over 80 flavors of popcorn and we sampled a huge share of them. We all ended up buying a few bags. I bought coconut popcorn for myself and cheesy caramel to take home for the family.

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That night we went out to dinner with Aunt Peggy and Uncle Steve to a restaurant called “Babe’s.” There I enjoyed an amazing meal in a charming environment with awesome people. I had the chicken-fried steak with mashed potatoes and it was delicious!”

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Day 5:

“On day 5 we had Aunt Peggy and Aubrey with us for the day and it was so much fun. We headed to the river to go paddle boarding. Liv and I had never paddle-boarded before so we were both super excited. We arrived, put on our life vests, got a short lesson and then headed out onto the river. Paddle boarding was far easier than I expected and while Liv and I paddle boarded, Aunt Peggy and Aubrey shared a kayak.

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The river ran in front of the city so we were able to enjoy a beautiful city scape in the background while we paddle boarded.

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The entire days was laid back an relaxed as we enjoyed local parks and scenery.

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That night we had a delicious steak dinner back at the house. The evening was spent hanging out at the house, enjoying the player piano and playing board games.”

Day 6:

“On Sunday Liv and I woke up a bit mopey, knowing it was the last day of vacation, but when Uncle Steven started acting goofy he drove our blues away. The morning began with church with Aunt Peggy and Uncle Steven. When we returned home we were just laying around and relaxing when we came up with the idea of having a girls’ afternoon and treating Peggy to a pedicure. The three of us enjoyed an afternoon of pampering as our feet were beautified.

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The evening (and our awesome vacation) concluded with a family dinner at Peggy and Steven’s daughters’ home, a gorgeous nighttime drive through Fort Worth in Aunt Peggy’s convertible, and an attempt at armadillo “hunting” with headlamps at midnight (none were found.)  🙂 “

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Gracie’s Texas trip was the last big event of a jam-packed summer. School began for Grace the following evening and the rest of the kids will start back to school in the next week. Summer is coming to a close but as I reflect on the last 12 weeks it feels more like 12 months have passed. We have done a lot of living this summer and it has been a season of learning, dreaming, planning, and growth, both individually for each of my kids, but also for the family as a whole.

It was a great summer…

Now bring on the blessings of fall!

A Visit to CAL U

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Monday was President’s Day which meant the kids were off school. This day off proved to be a blessing because it also happened to be the day of California University of Pennsylvania’s spring open house.

California University of PA, better known as CAL U, happens to be on Gracie’s short list of potential colleges. She has been accepted and offered a scholarship there, but due to unforeseen obstacles in the fall, hadn’t actual visited the campus.

Now that we are in the final leg of decision making it has become necessary to visit CAL U to determine the pros and cons so that she can make her decision which school acceptance she will accept.

Tyler’s vote has been CAL U from the beginning when Grace first expressed an interest in going to CAL U.

To which Tyler responded: “Caillou?!  I LOVE Caillou!”

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CAL U is about 1 ½ hours south of us in the southwestern corner of Pennsylvania.

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Some of the pros already established include cost and proximity to home, but we were eager to get a big picture glimpse into life on CAL U’s campus and the other pros and cons only revealed through a more in depth look.

Grace and I made a day of it and had a great time enjoying some one on one time. The weather was beautiful and the event was wonderful.

We arrived and were assigned a tour group based on prospective majors. Grace toured with the other education majors. When we reached the education building the students were broken down even more specifically when they were given the opportunity to sit down and talk to one of the professors in that major’s department.

Grace and one other girl were the only Special Education majors so they received some incredible one on one time with the head of the department where they were given a behind the scenes, all access tour of the latest and greatest technologies utilized by the Special Education majors. The girls had the opportunity to ask questions and really get a feel as to what they can expect as Special Education majors.

From there we joined up with other potential students for a tour of the campus. It was a beautiful campus and a beautiful day to tour it.

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Following the campus tour we returned back to the student union building where tables were set up with representatives from all facets of campus life, from security to study abroad to clubs and organizations.

Here we were able to meet with a representative from the students with disabilities office to discuss possible accommodations and assistance Grace can expect as a student with Dyslexia. I was SO impressed at the lengths they are willing to go to so that all students can find success in the college environment.

From there we headed over to the housing area to tour one of the dorm rooms. Grace liked the exceptionally large dorm rooms and the fact that each dorm room had its own private bathroom and shower. I liked the fact that it was a three-deep security system and that a security guard was stationed at the entrance 24/7.

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As we drove home we went over the list of notes we took while on tour and compiled a list of pros and cons… with the pro list far outweighing the cons.

Grace finds herself so conflicted, uncertain which school and which path to her future God is calling her to.

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Stay tuned.

I’m sure the reveal will be coming soon!

Time for Tea

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The day had finally arrived for Gracie’s 18th birthday celebration:

A Downton Abbey Victorian tea party.

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My mom made reservations for us to hold Gracie’s tea party at The Zimmerman Bury Octagon House in Marshallville, Ohio. This Queen Ann style octagonal house was built in 1883 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It now serves as a museum of the middle class Victorian way of life.

Taken from their website:

“Victorian Holiday High Teas at the Historic  Zimmerman-Bury Octagon House:
Enjoy an authentic Victorian Holiday Pink High Tea at this unique National Historic Landmark, located 6 miles North of Orrville on state route 57.  Drink in the ambiance of the Victorian era while savoring a buffet of tea sandwiches, pastries, fruit salads & always English Trifle, plus more.  Your hostesses will greet you in 1880’s clothing, provide a history of the house, and serve the period foods created from original family recipes.”

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Our tea party was scheduled for 1:00 pm. After a relaxing morning we began dressing for this special occasion. We gathered in the guest room and had fun doing each other’s hair and make-up as we dolled up for this special event.

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When we were all done getting ready we went outside to get some pictures before we left for the Octagon house.

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When we arrived were greeted by the butler who was waiting outside to escort us in.

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The home was charming and reflective of the Victorian style common at the turn of the century.

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The lady of the house sat us in the parlor where she shared with us some of the history of the house and the Victorian customs of that time period.

As she spoke a little kitten wandered into the room to say “hello.” She told us that the kitten was a stray that had been found under the front porch of the home. When they took her in the decided that if the cat was a boy it would be named “Downton” and if it was a girl it would be named “Abbey.” It turns out they are also fans of the show. 🙂 The kitten ended up with the name “Abbey.”

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The head housekeeper then announced that tea was served.

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We were led into the dining room. The table was covered in delicious food including: three different types of tea sandwiches, scones, welsh rarebit, tomato aspic with dill sauce, fruit compote, trifle, and desserts. For our drink we were offered three different tea choices or strawberry lemonade.

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We were seated in the parlor to enjoy tea time. We had so much fun feasting on delicious food, admiring the décor, but most importantly visiting and making special memories that we will be able to look back and reflect on in the years to come.

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Having her birthday tea at the Octagon house was a special gift from my parents that I know Grace will all look back on with fondness in the years ahead. It was such a special way to celebrate a special birthday with a very special girl!

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Our tea party ended with birthday cake as we all sang to the birthday girl.

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“The most treasured heirlooms are the sweet memories of family.”

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Gracie got her wheels and is ready to roll!

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Saturday was the  much-anticipated night of Gracie’s 16th birthday party. She has been talking and dreaming about her sweet 16 for many months and finally it was here. When she first approached us about wanting do have a party she didn’t know what she wanted to do, only that she knew she wanted it fun,  light-hearted and a “girls only” night. She finally asked if she could have a skating party. We found a small, privately owned rink near us that we were able to rent out for the evening. The following weeks were spent preparing for the party as Grace made invitations, wrapped party favors (knee high socks) and planned out all the fun details that come with party planning.

Gracie's invitation

Gracie’s invitation

The night of her party we packed up the car and truck and drove over to the rink to set up. Gracie wanted the decorations to be colorful and fun.

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For drinks Gracie wanted “old-fashioned” sodas with paper straws as well as bottled water. She wrapped her water bottles with gummi bear tape to make them more whimsical.

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Since the party was after dinner she just wanted chips, candy and cupcakes to eat.

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Her favorite part of the party decorations was the photo booth.

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After everyone arrived the skating began. There was a fun mix of free skating as well as party games like limbo and four corners.

Ozzie Limbos

Ozzie Limbos

There was a wide variety of skating ability among the girls. Some were pros and some had never skated before. It was fun to see how much everyone improved after two hours on skates.

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At the end of the evening Gracie opened her gifts. This was one of her gifts…just in time for driving lessons to begin. 🙂

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One of her creatively wrapped gifts!

One of her creatively wrapped gifts!

At the end of the night Gracie’s declared it the best birthday party ever. It was a perfect night of fun with a wonderful group of friends.

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Happy 16th birthday Miss Grace!!

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