Friday, July 8, 2011

Seven Years

It's completely true. My Emma is now seven years old. I can hardly believe it and I am her mother. When people ask me how old my children are, I still say six, four, and one. And then my girls quietly whisper to me that they are now seven and five. And I struggle to believe it every single time. But their birthdays keep on coming, year after year, and for that I am so grateful. Grateful for the gift of another year together, another year of growing and memories. Another year to laugh. Another year to celebrate the miracle that is their lives. And today that is exactly what we did! We celebrated Emma!

When asked what she wanted for her birthday breakfast (and her selections even included cake!) this girl of mine chose Cocoa Pebbles. She is a woman who knows what she wants and cannot be swayed. I love that about her. After breakfast, we gifted her with a Barbie Horse set and a gift certificate for a horse lesson once the weather begins to cool down. Off to her room she ran to play with her new toy and her sister for the rest of the morning. Later in the day we headed up to Kings Island (area amusement park) where we met up with Grammy and Da, and enjoyed a day of fun, laughter, rides, and being together. Awesome. We also let the girls get string and beads braided into their hair, something that they have both been wanting done for quite some time. It was a special birthday treat! We ended the day with blue ice cream. Pure deliciousness.

There are so many things about Emma at age seven that I want to remember. Kate, Anna, and Avery are her best friends. She is an amazing big sister. She always lets Jack hold her hand to fall asleep, just like my brother used to do for me. She is helpful in our home (usually cheerful in doing chores), loves playing Barbies, and has a mild case of OCD (wonder who she inherited this trait from?). Her favorite food is still spaghetti, though she is a huge fan of strawberries, yogurt, and popsicles, too. Her smile is beautiful, with as many teeth missing as are actually still there. She still falls asleep in her Daddy's arms each night at bedtime, still kisses her Mama every day, and creates beautiful pictures for everyone in our house all the time. My life got so much better seven years ago when God gave her to me.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fort Hill

This year, for the first time ever, my Emma (who turns seven years old tomorrow!) went away to a week of church camp. To the very same camp that her daddy went to when he was a boy! The most we have ever been apart in the last seven years of her life was for three nights when Boss and I went to interview for a job in New Mexico. Other than that, she has spent several weekends at Grandma's with cousins, she has slept over several times at Grammy's (including when I had her sister and brother), and she has slept over at other houses on campus three different times. But the vast majority of her nights are spent here at home. With us all together as a family. Where she belongs. So her going away for an entire week was a really big deal for us! As her mama, I was super nervous and worried about how she would sleep, but she did great! Boss did go to camp as kitchen staff, so he was there if she needed him, but we were so proud of how she did. Our biggest girl really is growing up. She had an awesome time, and she informed me that the very best part about camp was getting to eat her dessert first, because I was not there to tell her not to. Ha! Love that girl. She also loved all of the cabin activities, camp fire, skit night, and being with her friends. Her least favorite part? Dodge ball. Just like her mama. She is so my girl. Boss said his favorite part of camp was watching his biggest girl learn about God. Lord willing, the 'Z' family has many more weeks of Fort Hill camp in their future!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Kate's Party Pictures


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Whole Hand

This summer simply cannot go on without my recording of something monumental that happened in the "Z" household recently. On June 26, 2011, at 11:30 am, Kate Elisabeth Zickafoose turned five years old. That is one whole hand! I am not sure how it has happened, or where the time has gone, but once again I blinked and where once sat my dark haired, hazel eyed, chubby baby girl, now sits a beautiful, funny, almost kindergartner little girl. At least she still has her dark hair and hazel eyes! And she will always be my baby, no matter how much she grows up.

In our house we love birthdays, so we celebrated Kate for at least an entire week! I told her 'Happy Birthday' so many times, that she eventually asked me to stop! Ha! Silly girl. During Kate's Birthday Week, we did so many fun things! My parents took the girls to see The Lion King on Broadway, we went to Kings Island, we visited the spray park at Woodland Mounds, and Kate and I went on a date to get pedicures and to have lunch at Panera Bread. So fun! On Kate's actual birthday, Boss and Emma had just left for a week at church camp, and Kate was quite sad, but we tried to make the best of it. I took donut holes for her Bible class to enjoy at church, I made her requested lunch of white noodles (fettuccine), we went to the movies and loaded up on some candy, and I sang to her over and over again. I just cannot believe that my littlest girl is five years old. I love her so much.

For her party this year, Kate decided that she wanted to go back to Jump Zone (where Emma had her fifth party). She also wanted a pink and green polka dot theme. I let her help me pick out all of the decorations, Grammy made her a delicious cake, we handed out Take 5 candy bars for party favors (you know, since she is now 5 and all!), and she laughed, and played, and jumped her heart out with all of her closest family and friends. I hope that her day was everything that she wanted it to be. Kate, you are so very loved! Happy 5th Birthday, Buggey!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Celebrating America

Our Fourth of July celebration was a fun one this year! I love celebrations of any kind, really, and love to come up with special ways to create meaningful holidays for my family. I want my children to grow up loving life and being thankful for their roots and where they come from. I have fond (fuzzy) memories of celebrating the fourth at my Granny's house in the country when I was younger. I recall drinking sweet tea out of orange plastic glasses, eating watermelon in the back of a pickup truck and having seed spitting contests with cousins, Aunt Ellen would bring over some pies and we would all sit around and visit in lawn chairs, games of croquet would be played, and once it was dark we would set off fireworks in the yard. While I can't recall every specific detail, my heart warms with these thoughts. But after my grand parents passed away, we had no set plans for the fourth. We always watched fireworks, but each year the location and the people at each event were different, and the same has been true for the family that Boss and I have grown together. Sometimes fun and meaningful days, sometimes spectacular fireworks shows, sometimes not. But this year was, by far, the best fourth we have experienced in a very long time!

We started the holiday with a big church/campus block party on Sunday night (good friends and good food!), followed by Kings Island fireworks show (we found a cute little deck to sit on to view the show), and finished the night with a soak in the hot tub. Today, Boss and Jack began the day with a round of golf (Boss straps Jack's car seat to the golf cart, and they are both in love!), while I took all of the girls to the water park. We had supper with some friends from church, where food was eaten and corn hole was played. And then we finished the night by making smores in the fire pit, while the little girls chased fireflies and danced in the yard. And then I thought that the night was over. But I was wrong! Around dusk, our across the street neighbor walked out with boxes and boxes of fireworks,and asked if we wanted him to set them off in the field behind our house. YES, please! The children and I sat on the back porch and oohed and awed as the men folk sent the pretty colors in to the sky. And for a brief moment in time I was taken back to my childhood. Back to my Granny's little house in the country. And it felt good. I scooted a little bit closer to Emma on the bench, and tried to etch that moment in time into my brain. I want to recall it in the years to come. Food, family, friends, fireworks, freedom. I am thankful each day for all of those things. I am also thankful to God, who freely gives all good gifts! He is reason alone to celebrate! Happy Fourth of July! I hope yours was a good one!