Ian’s Awesome Highlights!

The first several months of 2012 will be looked back upon as one of my favorite times in Ian’s life.  He has participated in tons of cool stuff and had a blast while doing it.  It has been great time of deepening friendships, finding out what he is good at, and learning to enjoy just being himself.  Let me give a recap (and do a little bragging) on these memorable highlights.

Highlight #1 The Spelling Bee –  Ian was definitely an earlier reader and his brain just gets the phonics and pronunciation of words.  So it was not a  huge shock when he was chosen to represent the first graders at the Spelling Bee.  Ian was more excited to miss a day of school for it.  The event was such a nerve-wracking time for mom but not Mr. Chill Ian.  He was super calm, cool, and collected.  I don’t even think he knew how intense the Spelling Bee competition could be.  Ian did amazing job representing the 1st graders and he made it pretty darn far.  In fact, Ian was eliminated when he restarted the spelling of a word which was not allowed (Apparently Mom, too, did not realize how strict this competition would be.)  Tim reminded him jokingly, besides the Spelling Bee champion, he too was the only other person who did not misspell a word.  I still think missing school and the ice cream treat afterwards was his favorite part.

   

Highlight #2 Boy Scouts – Ian participated for his first time in Scouts as a Tiger Cub.  It has been a great way for him to connect with his friends outside of school.  It has also been a special time for Ian and Tim to do boy stuff together.  His den went on some awesome outings together–a camp out (thank you Grandpa for taking him), a tour of the LA Police Helicopter Station, a basketball game, the infamous Pinewood Derby, and a couple of service projects.  Words cannot describe to you how absolutely crazy the boys are when they get together. BUT when it comes time to represent their Pack they quickly pull it together and do an honorable job.

    

   

Highlight # 3 First Terps Sporting Event – Tim finally has a true Maryland Terrapins fan in Ian!!  This Father/Son duo are crazy about Terps basketball and football.  Games are watched with intense enthusiasm accompanied with loud cheering.  Truthfully, I would be painting the entire picture accurately if I did not say that sometimes tears are shed, too!  Stats are checked daily and reported back and forth to one another in great play-by-play detail.  The players names and team numbers have been memorized.  And of course, they love to wear their red Maryland T-shirts and hats.  With all this said, Tim knew it was the right time to take Ian back East for a game.  I need to mention that Haley is as big a Terp fan as the boys.  So across the country the three fans flew to Tim’s parents home to attend their first Maryland sporting event.  Tim said the kids were cheering and yelling so loud that the fans in front of them might have been getting a little annoyed–ha!  The basketball game was a close scoring game all the way to end.  The game was super intense as it went into overnight.  In the end Maryland lost, the kids were totally bummed but it was a great first experience game.   Ian has even mentioned that perhaps he would like to attend Dad’s alma mater.

    

Highlight # 4 Little League Season – Ian played his second season of TWLL baseball.  This season he played at the “machine pitch” level for the Texas Rangers.  Ian LOVED every minute of it!  He was lucky enough to be on a team with the same head coach as last season along with the best assistant coach, his Dad!  He reconnected with some friends from last year and made several new friends.  Ian improved tremendously this season.  It took a few games to get the timing of the machine pitch speed down but once he figured it out he was making contact with the ball at almost every at bat.  Ian’s catching and throwing went to a new level as well.  It was super thrilling to watch him catch pop flies or scoop up hard hit grounders.  Plus, this season the game of baseball completely clicked mentally.  Once again, Ian had the most fans in attendance at every game with his family, his Mimi and Gpa, and even Great Grandpa Clark cheering him on during several games.   We were all sad to see the season end.  BUT on any given day after school you can find Ian playing ball in the backyard! Ian definitely has baseball fever!!

     

Highlight #5  – Olympic Day –  Every school year each grade participates in “Olympic Day.”  It is a fun day of competitive games and races that Ian could not wait to be a part of.  So here is where a bit of bragging comes in:  Ian DOMINATED the day.  Ian won almost every event for the boys including the big 50 yard dash finale!  He received five first place ribbons–a new record!  What made me most proud was his humble attitude.  Ian was full of kind words and cheers for his friends, and did not tout his wins at all.  Ian simply enjoyed the day with a huge smile on his face and definitely a competitive edge in his step.    

    

 

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Easter 2012

Ok, I am super behind on blogging because life has been busy with lots of fun things and good times.  So now it is time to play catch up starting with Easter.  Elize and I spent several nights leading up to Good Friday and Easter Sunday reading children’s Bible books about this miraculous event.  Let me share with you a sweet and funny glimpse into one of our reading times:

I am reading towards the end of a book titled, “The Empty Tomb,” and the page is illustrated with a simple big gray rock and empty tomb. Inside the tomb is a stack of neatly folded white linens.

Mom:  “He is Risen!  The grave is empty.  Jesus is alive!”

Elize:  “But Mom, he left his blankets?!”

Oh, how she cracks me up.  It was a Happy Easter and YES, He is risen indeed!  He even left his blankets to prove it.

Here is one of my favorite pick of the kiddos in their “Easter Sunday Morning Best.”

Memorable Conversations

I am often afraid that 10 years from now (realistically more like one week from now) I will look back and not be able to recall any memorable conversations I have shared with my kiddos.  I have told myself several times to record their words down on paper so as not to forget.  My blog is our family diary so this is the perfect place to share and keep memorable conversations forever.  I have even found a great way to print my blog into a book.  Check out http://www.blurb.com

Recent Conversations:

Elize and I were reading a bedtime book about how one person can play many different roles during their lifetime (sister, friend, mom, etc).  I explained to Elize that not only was I her Mommy but I am also a daughter to Mimi & Gpa, a sister to Aunt Becka, and an Aunt to all of her cousins.  She sat quietly on my lap soaking in the words and then responded, “I just want you to be my Mommy.”  I asked her what makes me her Mommy.  “You make me scrambled eggs for breakfast, you buy me purple clothes, you take me to Mrs. McKee, you water plants with me outside, you take me for bike rides, you swing with me on the swings, you read to me about David & Goliath, you rock me in my chair, and you sing me songs in my crib.”  My heart completely melted.  I love that she could list all the special things we do together.  In my sweet Elize’s three year-old world, this is why I am her Mom and nothing else.

Recently as a family we practiced a fire drill.  For days following, Ian was scared about our home catching on fire.  At bedtime I asked Ian, “Who is in charge of everything?”  (I wanted his answer to be God.  I was going to assure him that God is in control and our protector).  Ian answered, “Dad is in charge.”  Then I questioned him again hoping he would give the answer I was probing for.  “Ian, who is the boss of all?”   He paused for a few moments and then replied, “Ok  Mom, you are the boss of all.”  I laughed very hard and decided to take advantage of his answer and teach him another important lesson.  “Yes Ian, Mom is the boss of all.”

On a car ride home from school Elize was tired and throwing a huge fit.  I firmly informed her, “Elize you are melting.”   With tears in her eyes she replied, “like a snowman?” 

As I snuggled Ian in bed he asked, “Mom, when do people get married?”  I carefully took my time to think of  the right answer.  Before I could reply Ian spoke up, “I know not until after you kiss the girl you like!”  Aah, I hope he thinks this all the way through high school.  More importantly, I’d better pray he doesn’t kiss a girl until then too!

Haley has been thinking a lot lately about what she wants to be when she grows up. “Mom, I really love animals but I do not want to be a veterinarian.  They have to give animals shots and do gross stuff.”  I suggested, “What about an animal rescuer?”  Haley replied, “No, they have to see animals who are hurt badly and that makes me sad.”  Then, I thought I had a brilliant idea, “What about an animal trainer?”  Quickly she answered, “Nope I just want to do something with animals where you play all day.”  Exhausted from our conversation I said, “Haley, I guess a pet owner. You do know that is not a paying job though?”  Haley confidently replied, “That is Ok with me.  My husband will work and I will own pets.”  Perfect I thought, I will have an animal loving, unemployed 18 year-old someday.  At least, she will be a happy, satisfied pet owner.

A Christmas Jingle

This post is a tribute to one of my kiddos favorite Christmas songs, “The Twelve Days of Christmas!”  Plus, it is a fun recap of how the Mac family spent the Christmas holiday!  Enjoy!

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me ONE beautifully decorated Christmas tree.

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me TWO hours waiting to see Santa Claus.

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me  THREE Angel Tree families we delivered gifts to.

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me FOUR Christmas programs to enjoy!

        

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me FIVE family Christmas parties.

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me SIX carefully hung stockings.

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me SEVEN friends receiving homemade Friendship Tea.

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me EIGHT neighbors Christmas caroling.

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me NINE family members tubing in the snow!

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me TEN friends gathered for the hilarious “Christmas Vacation” movie!

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me ELEVEN blissful days of no school!

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me TWELVE family members singing this song (the original words) on Christmas Night around Mimi and Gpa’s tree!     

   

Family Pictures

Per the request of Mimi the entire Esser gang spent an afternoon smiling and posing for new family pictures.  Why is taking pictures such a difficult process?  It seems impossible to get everyone smiling, all eyes open, facing the camera, and looking sort of natural.  When in reality it feels very unnatural, the sun is blinding your eyes, your legs are cramping up from the ridiculous poses, and your kiddos cannot sit still for a nanosecond let alone smile nicely.  But somehow a handful images turn out wonderful!  Thanks to incredible cameras and talented photographers happy families can be captured.  Check out these happy people below. I am grateful to have beautiful pictures to remember this time in our lives.

   

   

Thankful Hearts

Thanksgiving has come and gone and Christmas is now quickly approaching! I wanted to recap just a few highlights that have taken place for the McAveney family.  For many family and friends we have shared with you our new journey to foster/adopt.  On November 18th, following a year of classes, a home study, and lots of paperwork, the McAveney family is officially a certified foster family (I will need to write another post to describe in detail the road that has led us here).  The simplicity of it is, we feel blessed and want to bless others.  We have faith in a God who graciously loves us and served others through out his time here on earth.  As we wait for His glorious return He has called His followers to do just the same—to love and serve others.  A huge population that needs Christ’s love is orphans.  What a privilege it will be to one day adopt a child knowing that I too am an adopted daughter of God, my heavenly Father.

God had work for us right away!  We were blessed on the same day we were certified with a sweet 4-year-old boy.  Although, he was a short-term placement with our family it was an incredible introduction to foster care.  We enjoyed our time with him and feel privileged to have had the short time to love on him and him on us.  We are super excited for what God has in store for our family and for foster children here in our community!  We would appreciate your prayers, your encouragement, and your support as we allow God to use us how however He sees best for both our family and for the children who will be with us.  We will keep you updated as best as possible and would love to share with you more….

Halloween Costumes

The Costumes.  For me that is really what Halloween is all about:  seeing my cute kiddos in their costumes.  My kiddos would probably say the same thing–their costumes.  They enjoy dressing up and of course the candy too!  Don’t really celebrate the holiday or make a big deal over it.  Love the outreach event our church puts on every year.  So this post is short, sweet and to the point—pictures of my kiddos in their Halloween costumes.                                                                                                                                                                 Cutest Pirate Ever! All night she was in character!  Jango Fett.  Star Wars Rules for this boy!  Prettiest Peacock.  Though she reminded me she was a peahen.            

Elize was full of “Aaarrr, there me hearty,” “Hey, there matey,” and “Yo ho ho” in her scruffiest voice.  Plus, she would swing her fist in the air and strike a pose.  Perhaps, you can tell from the pics below just how hilarious she was Halloween night…

                                 

Soccer, Softball, and Saturdays

This fall I have had the pleasure of watching my two big kiddos try something new.  Ian has been playing soccer for the first time with one of his good buds.  We are so thankful to be introduced to this team and awesome coach.  I have been impressed with Ian’s positive, happy attitude at practice and games.  And though he is far from the best player, Ian has given his very best effort every time he plays.  He loves to cheer on his team mates and give high-fives.  Ian has been a good listener on the field and is gaining new knowledge about the game of soccer.  His coach has done an incredible job at encouraging Ian, promoting team work, and teaching the importance of good sportsmanship.  I love how at the end of each game the coach gathers the boys and their families together for a time of praise and recognition of every player.  The coach ask each parent to say positive words regarding their son’s game for all to hear and clap—how cool is that!  Ian has definitely gained new self-confidence and new athletic skills for having tried a new sport.

     

Haley has also had a special opportunity to try out something new.  On Saturday mornings, several dads and daughters have been meeting with Coach McKee to learn and play softball.  It has been great self-esteem builder for Haley!  The girls are learning the basics of throwing, catching, and hitting in softball.  The practices have been low pressure (just what Haley needs) but at the same time have challenged Haley to try a new sport.  She is loving playing softball with some of her best friends and her Dad!  It has been a special time for Haley.  Her coach is super patient with the girls and great at building up their confidence.  We have been told Haley has a really nice stance and swing.  She even mentioned she might consider playing softball during the spring season…So this Momma is proud that Ian and Haley have tried something new and unfamiliar, and that they have stuck it out with happy hearts on and off the field.  

   

My Man is Forty!!

Yep, you heard it right Tim turned the big 4-0!  I can hardly believe he celebrated his fortieth birthday.  It seems like yesterday I met this handsome twenty-seven year old who stole my heart with his kindness and passion for life.  From the very minute we met I was impressed with his heart for others.  Tim was in residency training, a super stressful and exhausting time.  But I encountered him sitting on the bedside of one his patient’s holding her hand, and taking the little time he had to talk openly with her about her medical condition.  Wow, I was impressed and knew instantly this was a man of character and a man who not only loved his job but was humbled to be in such a position.  From our very first date I was impressed by his energy and outlook on life.  He took me to a tennis match of all things and we laughed hysterically at our lack of knowledge of the game and learned quickly there was no cheering till a set was won.  I loved that he was up for trying something totally new and decided to make the best night of it.  From the very first time he was introduced to one of my best friend’s kids I knew he would make an incredible dad one day.  Tim was so natural around kids and played with this toddler like he had done it a million times before.   From our very first month of dating I realized how much he loved God and wanted to know Him even more.  His faith was genuine and not puffed up.  Tim’s search for truth challenged me and invited me to search out my own faith on a deeper level.  From our very first year of dating I knew he would be my husband.  I could not imagine a day without him by my side.  He had quickly grown to be my best friend.  From our first year of marriage I learned what love looks like and how love acts.  We endured two little moves and one huge move across the country.  The both of us worked super hard and we were each other’s biggest encourager.  Love meant starting a new adventure together and sticking by each other’s side no matter what the circumstance.  It was a real love that grew from doing life together through good and hard times.  From welcoming baby #1 to baby #3  I realized I married the best dad for our kids.  He teaches them by example and loves them deeply. He motivates our kids and me to love God more.  From then until now I know how extremely lucky I am to be married to the best forty year old ever!!  Happy Birthday Tim, you are the love of my life.

 

School Stats

The Mac family officially has all three kiddos attending school this year.  Wow, how can this be?  At times it seems like just yesterday they each were born. How quickly time has passed and now we have entered a new phase of life–the school years. Check out the stats below and see for yourself about the new Mac school team.

Here is the starting line-up:  In Third Grade, weighing in at 48 pounds and standing tall at  52 inches is Haley McAveney.  She has long, strawberry blonde hair and loves to wear it in curls.  With a nose full of freckles, soft blue eyes, and two lose teeth she is ready to start a new school year.  She is musically gifted, loves art, and creative writing.  Reading and writing are her strong suits though this girl has got her multiplication facts down.  She is developing a deeper passion for God and has a heart for the less fortunate.  We are working with Haley on being confident in who God has made her and standing up for what is right even if it is not always easy.

In First Grade, the heavy weight on our school team at 52 pounds, Ian McAveney.  He is currently neck and neck with his Big Sis in height (something Haley is not too happy about).  With fiery red hair, big blue eyes, and a toothless smile he is one handsome young man.  Ian loves to read and can add up numbers like nobody’s business.  He has a kind, sensitive spirit and always tries his best.  We are working on with Ian self-control and patience.  He enjoys reading his Bible in the morning, an impressive habit that already challenges his Mom and Dad.

And the final player for the Mac team, our preschooler, Elize McAveney (believe me she can hold her own)!  She is attending two days a week of preschool.  Weighing in at 32 pounds and a height of 40 inches, she is one tall three-year old.  Elize dons cute red curls and sparkling blue eyes.  She knows her ABCs and can count to twenty.  She LOVES to sing and dance.  She adores being outside or being read to by her Daddy.  She has admirable manners.  She prays and worships God with a genuine child-like faith.  We are working on with Elize sharing with others and using our “big girl” words.

Well there you have it, our starting line-up and stats for the new school year.  Our kiddos have been blessed with awesome teachers and we are looking forward to a great year.  May God use this year to above all challenge each of them to grow in their faith, as well as in their studies and friendships.