Three Years Old

     

We have a three-year old in the house!  Sweet Elize turned three years old on September 1st (she will forever be my Labor Day baby).  To celebrate her birthday she was treated to not one but three parties!  Each one very special to her and to Mommy, too. The first party was celebrated in Maryland.  To all of our surprise, Aunt Kate and Nanna, hosted an adorable Dora party.  Our Maryland family was super thoughtful to throw a birthday party for Elize with Dora decorations, Dora cupcakes and Dora gifts. Elize absolutely loved it!!

    

Celebration #2 was a party with just the five of us.  We headed down to San Juan Capistrano to enjoy Elize’s favorite things.  It was a beautiful day to wander through this quaint historic town.  We ate lunch at Elize’s favorite–Ruby’s Diner.  She could not believe that everyone else seemed to know it was her birthday and joined in when they sung to her “Happy Birthday.”  After lunch, we headed to a petting zoo where Elize participated in all of her favorite activities:  train ride, pony ride, and visiting all the farm animals.  She was in heaven and it took quite a bit of convincing to get her to leave.  After a nap in the car, we spontaneously went to the movie theaters.  “Winnie the Pooh” was a perfect show to end a perfect day for the birthday girl.

   

The final birthday party was celebrated with her Mimi and Grandpa and the Jenkins family.  A pool party was in order with the crazy hot weather.  She swam with her best bud, Cameron.  Just being anywhere with Cameron makes Elize very happy.  We munched on hot dogs and fruit and root beer floats, more of her favorites.  It was a lazy day of family hang out time.  She opened presents and is looking forward to playing with her new outdoor play house.

This FUN three-year old was celebrated and loved on a ton for an extra long birthday week!  We thank God for her precious life.  She really is a fun, happy toddler.  We love her sultry voice and her love for music.  She is the only three-year old we know that can sing “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” and “Shout to the Lord.”  We have a total outdoorsy girl.  She is happy as a lark to water plants all day long or kick a ball around the backyard.  We adore her “peaze,” “tank ew,” and “otay”s. She loves her Daddy very much.  She loves her Izzy Bear.  She loves the color purple.  She holds her own when wrestling with her Sis and Bro.  Elize is a perfect fit for our family.  HAPPY 3RD BIRTHDAY to our Leesee !

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Shaver Lake 2011

           

Our annual trip to Shaver Lake was “fabtubulous!”  Ok, very corny play on words but that pretty much sums up what my kiddos along with their cousins did the entire week:  TUBED behind Grandpa’s boat.  They fell in love with tubing even more this time around.  It was all about speed, getting the tube outside the wake, and holding on tight through the turns.  Haley, our biggest thriller seeker of all, constantly wanted to be pulled faster and faster.  Ian and Carley, a bit more conservative, enjoyed surfing on the wake and cruising steady behind the boat.  Even Elize and Cameron took several rides out in the “Monster Tube.”  The smiles on each of their faces were priceless (see for yourself in the pics).

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The kids were super content to just  hang out on G’Pa’s boat while playing games or eating snacks.  Fishing was a new favorite activity this year too!  Especially the casting part of using a fishing pole.  Ian seemed to have a natural knack for it and could cast beautifully far out into the water. We even found a waterfall that we could swim to from the boat, climb up the rocks, and sunbathe on.  It is great to have “big kids” now who love to explore and be adventurous together.

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We stayed in a nice  comfortable house where lots of yummy meals and desserts were enjoyed together.  We treated ourselves several times to shaved ice at the end of each hot day.   In the evenings, the cousins were worn out from a full day of sun and play and would snuggle on the couches and watch movies.  The adults would read and play games late into the night.  It was good family time.  Now of course this annual trip would not be the same unless we stopped at our favorite ice cream store, Dewars.  Yep, we hit it on the drive up and back from Shaver Lake to indulge in scrumptious homemade ice-cream.  Again and again, a HUGE thank you to Mimi and Grandpa for a memorable family vacation!

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Summer Camps

The week following the fourth of July holiday the big kiddos participated in summer day camps.  Haley took an awesome “Mixed Media Art Camp” and Ian played in a “Mini Baseball Camp.”  It was lucky for Mom that the two camps were not only on the same days but started and ended just perfectly for scheduling each of  the days.  Little Elize, my faithful side-kick, is always the biggest fan of whatever her Big Sis and Bro are doing.

Haley is super creative and artsy.  She loves to sketch and draw.  She has notebooks filled with all of her sketching.  She enjoys coloring and painting.  She has written several stories and illustrated the stories with detailed drawings.  I have even laminated a few because the stories are totaling worth saving!  Recently, she has taken up knitting and weaving–thanks to her Nana’s  teaching.  So without a doubt the art camp was a perfect fit for her!  She created incredible pieces throughout the week.  She worked with paint, clay, markers, paper, yarn, and tons of raw materials.  She made several 3D pieces: a hanging mobile, a yarn wheel, and clay figures.  She painted a self-portrait.  She created a couple of pieces that represented summer: a pair of flip-flops, a sun, and a figure made of flowers.  At the end of the week, the camp held an art show displaying all their incredible work.  It was beautiful and Haley proudly showed off all her pieces.  It was such a joy to walk around and listen to her explain each art piece.  In addition, she made several new friends and gained new self-confidence.

       

While Haley was busying creating art Ian was busy sprinting, throwing, hitting and fielding baseballs.  The camp was an awesome time for him to practice the things he had learned during his little league season.  Lots of reinforcement and practice of the baseball basics was perfect for Ian.  His coaches were super supportive and provided tons of encouragement. He got to play with several of his new friends he made during the season.  At the end of each day Ian would provide a detailed report to me about the balls he hit, the pop-flys he caught, and the bases he stole.  He especially loved a game they played called “pickle.”  A game of speed and timing as the runner attempts to steal bases before getting tagged out.  I loved arriving to the end of camp a little early each day to see the huge grin on Ian’s face and observe his competitive side.  I appreciated that he would  cheer others on and was full of high-fives.  Overall, the camps were a huge success and worth the time and energy invested (for both mom and kids)!

      

June Ballet Recital

Haley and one of her best buds have been taking ballet for three years.  This year during ballet lessons the movements and choreography  really began to “sink in” for my sweet girl.  In fact, at first I thought the class might be too advanced for her but within weeks Haley would chasse, glissade, and arabesque when called upon.  Her ballet teacher would call out the oh-so fancy French words and the girls would practice and practice the move until perfected.  I was impressed.  Haley would tell me at the end of her hour lesson that her toes hurt from being “on pointe.”  She went through two pairs of ballet slippers.  And although, Haley and her gal pal were the youngest in the class they did really well keeping up with the older girls with more ballet experience.

The big recital night came for the class to perform a dance the girls had spent months practicing and perfecting.  It went off fabulously!  And since Haley was one of the shortest girls in her class she was up front the entire performance.  We had a great view of her dancing her little heart out.  She looked beautiful in her pink polka-dotted costume.  Her long legs and skinny waist and nice posture make her look like a true ballerina.  She smiled throughout the entire performance and nailed all the moves.  Her Mimi, Aunt Becka, Cousin Carley, Brother, and Mom & Dad cheered her on as she danced across the sparkling silver stage.   Of course, in my opinion she totally “stole the show.”

   

Kindergarten Graduate

Ian’s first school year has come to a close and he is officially a kindergarten graduate.  Here is a little jog back over the school year covering some of his best highlights (I must admit there is a bit of bragging about Ian in this post—no sorries offered).  It is hard to believe Ian started the year being pulled to class everyday in a wagon due to his broken leg.  But he adjusted quickly and really never complained a bit.  I am learning that one of Ian’s strongest character traits is being flexible and adaptable to whatever life tosses his way AND having a good attitude with the change.  He hardly ever complains and truly “goes with the flow” of life.  I admire this quality in him and praise him for it often.

Ian spent the school year in Mrs. Lockhart’s class along with several of his best friends or should I say best girl friends.  Yes, his favorite gal pals were in his class and he was super happy about that.  Tim and I were desperate for him to make a few guy friends.  Thankfully, he has become great buds with a couple of guys in his class.  Mom has already organized a couple of guy play dates and Ian went to several cool boy birthday parties this year.  Ian is super loyal to his friends and will stick by your side no matter what.  His teacher presented him with the Character Trait Award of Faithfulness.  She said he is, “faithful to his friends and always full of encouragement.”

Academically Ian continued to improve with his reading.  He is reading way ahead of his grade year and enjoys chapter books or any Star Wars material he can get his hands on.  He is writing detailed sentences and his handwriting looks like a type-writer print (when he takes his time).  Some of my favorite sentences he brought home:  “I like to go camping when there is no seaweed at the beach.”  “I play Star Wars at home with my light saber.”  “I have two nice sisters except when Elize scratches me.”  Ian was even caught doing his big sister’s math homework and loved quizzing Haley on her spelling words.  But truthfully I think Ian really loved the kindergarten year because of all the field trips and class parties.  To name just a few:  Pumpkin Patch, Thanksgiving Program, Christmas Caroling, Happy Birthday Jesus Party, L.A. Zoo, Fire Station Visit,  Captain Carl Day, Family Beach Day, Farm Field Trip and many more.  Mom was fortunate to join Ian on several of these fun outings and Mimi, Grandpa, and Dad even made it on a couple of field trips.  What a lucky and well-loved guy Ian is!  As you can see Ian had a very memorable first year of school.  We are proud of you, Ian, our kindergarten graduate!

                                 

June Piano Recital

I am super proud of my three fine pianists!  Watch, listen, and maybe even recognize a tune or two.

The newest member to the strings family, Ian!

Haley, our most skilled pianist.  Followed by special father & daughter duet!  ENJOY…

Birthday Slumber Party

Haley celebrated her 8th birthday with a small, sweet slumber party.   The party definitely did not lack the wild, crazy, and fun aspect too!  Haley along with two of her best gals pals enjoyed close to 24 hours of pure joy together.  Laughter and silliness literally filled our home during this sleep over.  Per Haley’s request the girls wore matching purple pyjamas.  The evening included  dancing, a movie, cupcake decorating, and present opening.  The Mac house was treated to a creative rap show—Yes, that’s right, the girls made up a rap, dressed the part, and performed it live.   Quite a surprise since we had no idea these girls even knew how to rap.  Of course, what’s a sleep over without  staying up late.  The girls giggled and chit chatted and eventually fell asleep.

          

The morning begun serving Haley’s favorite breakfast—eggs, smoothies and donuts!  The girls spent most of the day doing what they do best—just playing together.  One of Haley’s birthday requests was that her two best pals would watch her perform at her piano recital.  And her birthday wish came true.  Haley had two of her biggest fans cheering her on during the performance.  The birthday party could not have ended more perfectly for Haley.

Haley we can hardly believe you are EIGHT years old.  We admire your authenticity with your friends and family.  You impress us with your creativity and artistic side.  You love music, sketching and creative writing—and do it all very well!  We love your passion for life and your caring heart for others.  We thank God for all you have become and look forward to what God has planned for you next.

Love you tons, Haley–  Dad, Mom, Ian and Elize

Looking forward to summer!

The Mac family is patiently waiting for the arrival of summer—it’s almost here…

Mexico 2011

My parents treated the McAveneys and Jenkins to an incredible family vacation during Easter break.   The entire gang hung out together in beautiful Cancun, Mexico for six days.  We spent almost all our waking hours basking in the warm sun and playing in the many pools and warm ocean water.  The all-inclusive resort had a fun kid pool with a water slide and water park area.  The big kiddos must have gone down the slide hundreds of times (Haley even lost a tooth due to a collision with Carley while on the water slide). The big cousins are good swimmers and loved exploring the bigger pools which wrapped lazily around the resort.  The little munchkins, Elize and Cameron, loved the water even more and never wanted to take a break from splashing and jumping in the pools.  The highlight for the kiddos was swimming to the “swim-up bars” for virgin Mango Tangos or Pina Coladas.  They were hilarious to watch order drinks and sip on their fruity cool beverages!    The evenings were spent eating yummy meals all together at the five resort restaurants.  The kiddos did a great job sitting through the five course meals.  They were super content with the kid meals of fresh fruit, pizza, chicken nuggets, pasta and ice cream.  Haley loved the made to order omelets in the mornings.  Ian loved all the new cereals he got to try along with as many waffles as he could eat.  And Miss Elize had her fill of pineapple and passion fruit yogurt.  The best part was spending lots of time together just having FUN!  The entire gang enjoyed relaxing and chilling with one another.  Thank you Mimi and Grandpa for spending tons of time swimming with your grandkids in the water.  They have such neat memories of doing crazy silly stuff with you both!  Thank you  for spoiling us all to a great memorable trip!

                        

Our Easter Story

To prepare our hearts for Easter we have been using the “Resurrection Eggs” as tool for teaching and reinforcing the Easter story.  It has been an excellent hands-on illustration in sharing the truths of the events leading up to Christ’s death on the cross.  The symbols within each egg have been a good way to retell Jesus death on the cross and his wonderful resurrection that followed!  We have enjoyed reading the scripture passages, discussing and quizzing one another about the details.  We are impressed about all the facts Haley and Ian know surrounding the Easter story.  Haley’s insight and passion to reflect on the story has been inspiring.  We love how the story means so much more to our kiddos each year.  Little Elize has had plenty of fun playing with the eggs and Mom has enjoyed (not really) searching for all the missing pieces.

As a family we have been writing down our blessings this Easter season and placing the pastel colored papers in cute little Easter buckets.  It has been a tangible way to express what we are thankful for.  The big kids have been caught several times sitting down and writing a quick blessing on a card with no encouragement needed.  The family has been reading them together during our meal time–what a special way to encourage one another and remember all that God has done for our family.  Haley has truly fallen in love with this project.  Here is an example of one of her many cards completely filled up:

    

Haley — I am thankful for

1.  Jesus rose again.

2.  Jesus died on the cross for my sins.

3.  For my family and friends.

4.  For my nice new home.

5.  For food I eat — 3 meals a day + snacks

6.  Money to be able to survive.

7.  Trip to Cancun, Mexico.

8.  For being able to go to a Christian school.

9.  To have a pool.

10.  To have toys.

11.  To have a bed.

12.  To have chairs and couches.

13.  To have Jesus in my heart!

Is this list amazing or what?  And all these things from my seven years old’s precious heart!  I love her attitude of thankfulness and her honest acknowledgment to God for all his many blessings in her life.  Thank you Lord for your Easter story that can be our Easter story if we only have faith to belief.  “He took the punishment, and that made us whole.  Through his bruises we get healed…He died without a thought to his own welfare…Still, it’s what God had in mind all along.  The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin so that he’d see life come from it—life, life, and more life.” (verses from the Message, Isaiah 53)