Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Backyard Camping and Baseball

When Andrew and I were little, my Dad’s bestfriend David and his family just lived a few streets over. David and my dad work at the same hospital and have been great friends for years, in fact, he and his wife Netty are my little sister’s godparents. Anyway, back to the story. One of my favorite parts of summer was evenings Andrew and I would be allowed to stay up late playing T-Ball in the backyard with Dad and David. They would take turns being on our team, always encouraging us and giving “hi-fives” and funny made up handshakes when we made a hit. I remember David and my dad saying “Hey-batta-hey-batta-hey-batta-saaawing-batta” and thinking it was so funny and goofy.

This was part of summer I loved, being outside with my Dad. When it got too dark to see the ball anymore, we would start a little fire in the grill and make s’mores. Then crawl into the tent we had pitched earlier in the afternoon. There were some weekends when we got to go “real camping”, we would head out to Clinton Lake near Lawrence or go to the Mill…but it didn’t really matter where we were-our backyard was just as fun. We just loved feeling special, staying up late and looking at the stars.

When I close my eyes and think of Summer, it is often these moments in the backyard that come back to me!

Love and Prayers,

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Fireflies and Magic

Catching Fireflies.

Hands down my favorite Summer pastime.

There is something so whimsical about fireflies, to me they mark the first true day of summer, when the air is sticky and humid, the glass of iced tea or lemonade of the deck is sweaty with condensation and unfortunately, the mosquitoes are in full force. For as long as I can remember I have loved fireflies, always eager to catch them in my little jar and enjoy their light for an evening.

I don’t know that I will ever outgrow the magic of fireflies. In my mind, these glowing creatures just represent Summer. I often tell Johnny that God speaks to me through fireflies. At first he sort of chuckled, but now I think he understands. Think about it. How cool, and amazing and awesome (AND FUNNY) is our God that while he was creating the universe he thought “Hey just for kicks, How about I create a Bug with a glowing bottom?” Ummmm…Preaty stinkin cool if you ask me. They are God’s form of glitter…a reminder to me that even though the Lord has much greater concerns, he still cares enough to create a little tiny firefly. Seeing fireflies just make me smile. They bring me encouragement and hope. Some days I swear, even in the dead of winter I will see one little burst of a firefly, oh sure, you could argue that it is a light from something else—or that it is all in my head; but I choose not to. I believe it is a little glitter from God, a little encouragement that he cares about me.

I hope you are all enjoying your summer very much. Remember when you see fireflies to think of the Awesome God we serve, how creative he is and how much he loves you…

Tonight, I encourage you to go back to your childhood. Kick off your shoes and run around barefoot catching fireflies…

Love, Prayers and Fireflies,

Friday, May 27, 2011

Olympic Games and Cousin Fun

I wish I could remember the summer that we hosted the cousin summer Olympics. It was after the Howlands moved to Kansas City, which was second grade…and I am venturing to guess that it was Summer 2000, since that is when the Summer Olympics were in Sydney—and I was glued to the TV every afternoon watching the swimming and gymnastics.

I have vivid memories of Bridget (the oldest Howland) holding a clip board with all of our events listed, bossing the younger cousins and telling us where we needed to stand and what our scores were. I remember the opening ceremony taking place in the Howland’s backyard, where we marched around the perimeter of the yard waving homemade flags from whatever country we had been assigned. The “Olympic Games” spanned several afternoons if I recall, and we ended up hosting the closing ceremony in our backyard down the street. We had a medal ceremony, where we were awarded cardboard Olympic medals and sang the national anthem. We celebrated the end of these games with patriotic bomb pops and lots of congratulations and applause from our poor parents, aunts and uncles who were forced to endure our creativity.

I have always loved the summer Olympics, or truly the Olympics in general. There is something so magical about the entire world putting aside differences and conflicts to take part in the games. And, unlike my dad, I happen to enjoy the background “sob stories” (as he calls them) about each of their athletes and their journey to the games. I remember staying up WAYYY too late in Kindergarten watching Keri Strug and the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team, also, I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a picture of Ian Thorp diving off the blocks on my wall for years (which I nicked from Andrew’s Sports Illustrated Sydney Edition).

Even just the sound of the traditional Olympic Music or seeing the colored rings gets me excited! One year, we joined some neighbors of ours and  lined the streets in Kansas City to watch as the Olympic torch passed by.

So, perhaps our little cousins Olympics was not the epic event I thought it was at the time, but nonetheless, it makes for an amazing summer memory.

Love and Prayers,

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Babysitter Kate and Invented Games

Something about summer always reminds me of long summer evenings playing outside with our amazing childhood babysitter, Kate. 

Kate started babysitting for Andrew and I when we were just two year old. My parents generally had date night once a week and for years we would look forward to the Friday or Saturday night that we would get to spend with Kate. Summers were the best because it stayed light out for so long. We spend hours in the backyard catching fireflies and inventing different outdoor games like “keep it up” where the beachball couldn’t touch the grass and woodchip lava (self explanatory? Ha!). We told made up knock, knock jokes which at the time left is in side splitting laughter—yet now, don’t make too much sense at all. The only one I can remember is:

Knock, Knock…
Whose There?
Pennington Who?

(If I had to guess, I would say we were eating string cheese at the time…and found this to be quite hilarious!!)

When Kate came over, we always requested that she bring us a movie we didn’t have to watch—I think over the years, we probably watched “The Princess Bride” at least a hundred times. Before long, we could quote all the lines and would constantly recite our favorites like “Stop it, I Mean it….Anybody want a peanut?”

One summer night when Kate was over, she had brought us a homemade cherry pie. It was sitting near the bottom of the stairs, As luck would have it, moments later my clumsy twin brother slipped down the stairs and landed right in the pie. His new nickname for the remainder of that summer was “Cherry Pie Butt” (You should call him that sometime…he loves it J )

The best part of the night for Andrew and I was when Kate would put Emma to bed (sorry Em) then let us stay up late past our bedtime and watch TGIF and Saved By The Bell with her. We had to be all ready for bed in advance…teeth brushed; PJ’s on…then we could watch the shows. When we saw headlights in the driveway we would scurry to our bedrooms as fast as we could and pretend to be asleep. I would always eavesdrop from my bed as my parents asked for the “Babysitting Report” and Kate would remind them that we wanted them to tuck us in again and kiss us goodnight before they went to bed.

Kate was the BEST babysitter ever, truly a member of the family, it is so fun to think back on all the great memories that she is in!

Love and Prayers,

Monday, May 23, 2011

Summer Memories Series and Write Me!

Hello family and friends! I am off to the beautiful Kanakuk Kamps for the next 6 weeks! I will be working at K-2, which is the Kamp for students ages 13-18. I am so excited to see what the Lord has in store for me this summer. For the past two summers God has blessed me with the opportunity to minister to a kabin of women. I covet your prayers over the next several weeks, please pray that the Lord opens the hearts of my kampers, that he equips me to lead them and that his kingdom would be furthered. Thank you! :)

Also, if you care to write me a letter...I know that I would enjoy hearing from you! Other than that, I won't have access to my phone or internet except for several brief times off.

20 K-2 Drive, Lampe, Missouri 65681

I was trying to think of something fun to occupy the little bloggity while I am off having fun in the sun! I have a million zillion fun summer memories so I decided to do a little "Summer Memory Series". I have been writing up a storm and I think *crosses fingers* I correctly set it up to post every other day. Make sure you comment a whole bunch so that when I do have time off I will hear from all of you :). Also, keep your eyes out for a post from the Mr. I am trying to convince him he should do a guest post while I am gone :)...we shall see how that goes!

Have a wonderful summer until I talk to you again...

Love and Prayers, 

Friday, May 20, 2011

The End of an Era and Vitamin C

I have been putting this post off for awhile now. I am not so good at goodbyes. Though I am eager for this next stage of life, I know that I will miss the college life and all that comes along with it:

 Girls Nights out at El Tapatio and La Fiesta...where we eat our weight in chips and salsa and share life over cheese dip and margaritas. 

Seeing this Crazy Lady every day,  and talking for hours about weddings and "teacher stuff". 

Movie nights with dear friends, laughing and gossiping through the whole film!

And of course, classic self-timer photos. 

I will miss the hours and hours spent at coffee shops in Aggieville
and random errands with friends (like getting Chel's nose re-pierced at twisted apple). 

I will miss So Long Saloon

especially their Raspberry Black Bean Dip!

and pineapple beer.

I will miss seeing these three ladies every single day, constantly knowing what they were: thinking, feeling, wondering, worried about, praying for...

Late nights at Hale Library

2am shenanigans of Laura Wetzel

(Literally right after Laura got back over the security guard came by...Whew! Safe!)

3am trips to IHOP for post study pancakes

Leading worship and spending time with my ichthus family

It has been an amazing journey. Though my time at college has FLOWN by I have a lifetime of both lessons and memories to carry with me. As I look through these pictures and reflect on my college experience I am thankful to the Lord for all of the amazing friendships he has blessed me with!!

As we go on, we remember
All the times we had together
And as our lives change, from whatever
We will still be, friends forever

-Vitamin C

Pahahahaaaaa, Had to throw in a little Vitamin C, right? I mean, I was getting too sappy...cheese-ing it up was absolutely essential. :)

Love and Prayers, 

Royal Wedding and Katie's Bridal Shower

I simply adore all things wedding. In fact, yesterday, I am pretty sure I spent 4+ hours watching a marathon of bridal shows on WE TV.

Speaking of weddings....

THE ROYAL WEDDING! Oh my goodness! Watching the royal wedding with my pledge class was one of my favorite "Kappa Moments". We claimed the basement, setting up sleeping bags and pillows after dinner, then stayed up all night watching the coverage.

Earlier in the day, we made a run to the dollar store to pick up the beautiful tiaras that you see in the pictures!

I loved seeing the coverage of Diana and Charles wedding. I also enjoyed watching the procession to the church, and the moment when Harry turned to William and whispered to him. Pippa was stunning, as was Kate of course!

 We were caught off guard by the second kiss on the balcony...so sweet!

One of my favorite parts of the whole wedding was what the Bishop of London said at the beginning of the ceremony...

"Every wedding is a royal wedding, for we are subjects of the King of Creation"

I am so excited for the "Royal Weddings" coming up! First, Katie's on 7-9-11 then my own on 12-31-11

Katie had a BEAUTIFUL bridal shower, thrown by all of the Aunts or "Ants" (see poster) on the Wessel side of the family!

The Beautiful Bride :)

Pretty (and Yummy) Centerpieces!

The young Wessel girls were eager to help! 

Members of the wedding party, so fun! 

I can't wait to celebrate with Katie and Joey in a few short weeks! They are perfect for each other and will have a wonderful "Royal Wedding"!!!

Love and Prayers, 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Shopping Fair and Handy Holders

I can't believe how quickly my time in fourth grade went by! It seemed like I barely blinked and we were teaching the last day of our economics unit. 

It was quite a fun day, I beamed with pride as I walked around the room, observing and asking questions about what the "business teams" were selling, how they marketed the product, how they determined demand and what their business model was. 

The class was broken up into six "business teams", earlier in the unit they were given the opportunity to brainstorm what product they wanted to create out of a list of raw materials, then they surveyed their classmates, determined if the product would be "in demand" then spent the afternoon creating the product from scratch. I was AMAZED at the creativity the students showed! 

The "Looney"group made homemade cards for all occasions
The "Handy Holders" group made handy holders for extra school supplies
The "Wolf Mart" group made origami hamsters
The "Baby Group" made mini necklaces and bracelets
The "Wolves" made yarn and fabric parachutes
The "Tech" group made "Dell Computers" (made out of construction paper with your choice of screen, ex. Yahoo Kids Homepage)

Here are some pics of the "market shopping fair" in action, LOTS of economics going on here! 
(Student's faces not shown for privacy reasons)

 I love the "handy holder's" creative "COOL" holder!
Some Wonderful advertising going on here!

The "Wolf" group's parachute!

We did a lesson about using descriptive language in advertisements! Looks like a lot of learning was going on! I love the "New" and the quote "People say this together 'I love looney'"

Wanted poster advertisement for the parachute!

"Nobody can resist it"

"Totally need to buy these brand new bracelets and necklaces"
& "You're not imagining it"

Oh I was so proud! It was hard to say goodbye that afternoon, I got a lot of hugs and "I love you Miss Pennington"'s *insert heart melting here*

I can't imagine how difficult it will be to "send off" my kiddos next semester after student teaching, or worse when they really are my class! I am such a sap!

It was a great semester, I learned so much and will never forget those crazy, creative 4th graders!

channeling my inner "Miss Honey"
Dress (Target), Light Pink Cardigan (Gap circa 2003), Belt (can't remember, maybe TJ MAXX), Brown Wedges (Payless).

Love and Prayers,