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family weekend

We had a fun-filled full house last weekend.

Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Mel and Nyanya (other grandma) were with us most of the weekend to celebrate two big events.  We had a party for Pendo on Saturday.  She was soooo excited about her Tangled party,

and she fully enjoyed opening her presents.

 It was really special to have so many family members with us this year.

 On Pendo’s actual birthday I took the opportunity to take a few pictures of her.  This girl is a hoot.  She loves to make silly faces,

and one of her favorite things to do in the whole world right now is to dig in any dirt or sand, usually with her hands but sometimes with a stick.  I’m glad she doesn’t mind getting dirty.

 The other big event we celebrated was Kait’s baptism.  She was ready to take the next step in her faith journey, and we were all blessed to be part of that celebration service.  I’m not going to post any pictures of that special event, though we have many.  As Kait gets older, I’m very conscience of trying to respect her privacy and opinions about what she would and would not like me to post on our family blog.  I’ll just say that being part of her step of faith was a very emotional and moving experience, and we are so thankful she has a heart for walking with God.

 It was such a nice weekend and now we are busy preparing for our annual family trip to the lake.   It’s going to be better than I ever.  Well, it’s got to be better than last year when we all came down with the stomach flu.

a big day!

Today we celebrate  very special day at our house.

Pendo turns four years old!!

I’ll write more about that soon when I have time to edit some pictures, but G and I began the celebrations early.

For quite some time (probably almost 8 months), we’ve been counting down to Pendo’s 4th birthday because that’s when we planned to switch the girls’ car seats.  Yes, Rose has been old enough to move to a booster seat for almost a year, but we decided (for several reasons) to switch both little ladies to boosters when Pendo turned four.

Last night we took one last drive using the hard to buckle harness car seats

and we took the littles to WalMart to select their new booster seats.  They were so cute.  They both wanted to carry them through the store to the cashier, but the boxes were a bit heavy and bulky for them to make it the whole way.

After we arrived home, we took the old car seats out of the car and put the new ones in.  The girls did a practice run by sitting in them and buckling themselves in.

Today we tried them out on the way to swimming lessons and everything went perfectly.  It’s much easier to get them in and out of the car and with a little more practice we will likely only have ourselves to buckle in the car.  It’s been nine years since I’ve only had to worry about buckling myself.  I think I’m going to like it.

A lot.  A whole lot.

Happy birthday sweet Pendaroo!  We love you SO much and love watching you grow and change into a girl who is tenderhearted and kind to others.  You add so much spice to our lives, and we are forever thankful that you are an Austin.

branch blocks

The girls had so much fun playing with these new blocks made from branches.  We need to make more.  Two cut branches weren’t nearly enough.  LOVE it when my girls create outside with things from nature.

baking patch

In order to keep Kait occupied and learning new things this summer, I took her to the Girl Scout store and let her choose several patches to earn this summer for her new Juniors vest.  She is very goal oriented, much like me, so having something to work towards is very motivating for Kait.

The first patch she chose to earn this summer is a baking patch.  She set a goal of choosing and baking three desserts on her own or with as little help as possible.

She’s a natural.  Very capable of doing much more in the kitchen on her own than I expected.

Her third dessert choice was a three layer cake.  She made all of it from scratch, even the icing.  I did help a little with the food coloring, but she did most of it on her own.  Way to go!

She’s already asking when she can bake for us again.  Ummm . . . how about every day?

This year was the first time I heard about Afro Independence Day or “Fros on the Fourth”.

When I read about it, I learned some new things about how to care for Pendo’s hair when it is loose (not braided).  This morning I tried a new product to really make her curls more defined, and we all loved it!

Pendo prefers her hair to be unbraided allllllll the time.  She often says, “I LOVE my curly hair, mom.  Can I PLEASE have curly hair today!?!”

So for a few days we’ll celebrate Afro Independence Day, and I can’t wait to try a few more products made specifically for Pendo’s curls.

Happy 4th of July!

bubble snakes

One of my favorite things to do is to read other people’s blogs to get ideas of really fun things to do with my kids.  Here’s one of them.

This idea is really simple.  You probably have these things already sitting around your house.

Just trim the bottom off of a sturdy water bottle and place an old sock (one with holes or one that doesn’t have a match) over the cut end of the water bottle.

Place a large squirt of dish detergent in a low-rimmed dish, add a little water, dip the sock into the solution and blow.

I am amazed at how easy and fun this is.  The blog  (http://www.housingaforest.com/rainbow-bubble-snakes/) where I first read about it suggests using food coloring to add even more fun to the experience.  I have yet to try that because I want to make sure my girls are wearing clothes that I don’t care if they get stained.  Also, I’m going to try adding glycerin to the bubble mix to see if our bubbles will grow even longer.

Yay for summer fun!