Sunday, October 23, 2011

Go Dolphin Mermaids!

Madeline is a little soccer player and Rob is her head coach! She and her teammates -- an adorable group of four, five and six year old girls -- named themselves the Dolphin Mermaids. What else?

Every Tuesday night, Coach Rob races home from work to get to the soccer field and teach game basics; they practice passing and talk about teamwork. Thankfully the league's not very competitive -- there's one little girl on our team who almost always picks the ball up with her hands whenever it rolls her way. And since it's family night at Chick-fil-a across the street every practice night, we often come home with face paint and balloons.

Saturday is game day. Madeline puts on her YMCA-issued pink jersey and matching pink soccer socks. Her shin guards are so tiny they look like they were made to protect my hand from a ping pong ball. She runs her heart out and all the parents cheers like mad even when she kicks the ball in the other team's goal.

Super fan!
Charlie gets so excited cheering for his big sister on the sideline. "Goooooo Miiiimiiiii!" he yells. One time he even ripped off his shirt like a Packers super fan. Or maybe he was just hot. Rob even bought him his own "soccer uniform" that he puts on every practice and game. He can't resist the action and so usually, Rob holds him in his arms as he runs around the field, coaching and refereeing.

At the end of the game, all the parents make a tunnel with our arms that the girls from both teams run through. They love it!

So does this officially make me a soccer mom?
Playing with the coach's whistle
Rapt with attention. Or are they looking for bugs in the grass?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Fabulous Fall

We've had a fun couple of months, enjoying the crisp fall weather as we take walks, pick up leaves, play football in the front yard, visit pumpkin patches and go to the zoo. Here are a few things other things we've been up to:

A Trip to Boulder
John and I went to visit my sister, Mollie, and her husband, Kenny in Longmont, CO, just a few minutes outside of Boulder. They live in a charming 100-year old house a block's walk from Longmont's downtown. We had a fabulous dinner and listed to live music at Oskar Blues, the restaurant owned by the brewery where Kenny works. Mollie and I spent the next day shopping and strolling in downtown Boulder; we had a wonderful lunch at an outdoor cafe -- eating fondue, sipping white wine, listening to live opera from a talented street performer, and all the while, sitting beside an eccentric Italian couple. We started to wonder if we were in the Rocky's or the Alps.

Go Titans!
Rob took Madeline and Charlie to a winning Titans game when they played Denver. But first they volunteered for Nurses for Newborns, collecting diapers at the stadium doors; they came home sugared from cotton candy, sunburned and exhausted, but deliriously happy after such a fun afternoon with their daddy. Madeline busted through the door wearing a balloon hat, yelling, "Goooooo Titans!"

An Atlanta Wedding
Johnny was my date for my cousin's wedding in Atlanta. Not only was it a lovely event, but it was a family reunion as well! It was very special to introduce John to my grandma Madeline. I met my cousin Annie's 18-month old daughter, Sofia, who lives in Hong Kong. John was a sharp dressed man -- the minister asked me seconds before he entered the sanctuary to officiate the ceremony, "Is your little guy wearing a velvet blazer?"

While I was gone, Rob took Madeline and Charlie to the Adventure Science Center, the zoo, the police station (one of Madeline's soccer teammate's dads is the police media spokesperson and invited them to visit!), a Civil War reenactment where Rob was almost recruited to be a confederate soldier, and of course, and the donut store (Krispy Kreme). They also built an amazing playroom in the garage (more to come on that in following weeks).

Firefighters to the Rescue 
One Saturday morning, Johnny and I woke up to a perfectly silent house. Rob smuggled Madeline and Charlie out of the house and took them to the Franklin fire station. The firefighters unexpectedly invited Rob and the kids  -- all three still wearing their pajamas! -- into the firehouse and let them try on helmets, sit in the firetrucks, talk over the loudspeaker and turn on the lights. Rob and the kids waved goodbye and went to Krispy Kreme next. But to say a special thank you to the guys at Franklin Station Two, they delivered donuts on their way home! 

Caramel Apples!
Even though the apple crops didn't pan out down here in Middle Tennessee, we still made caramel apples on a Saturday morning. The kids helped unwrap all the candies while Rob and I poked sticks in the apples and twirled them in the hot caramel. Then we all had a blast decorating them with peanuts and mini chocolate chips. Just another reason to love the fall...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Baby John is Baptized and Meets his Grandpas!

We had a very special weekend.

On Sunday, we baptized sweet Baby John. After Rob and I took our vows and Pastor Matt touched water to John's head (which he didn't mind one little bit), Matt took him in his arms and walked him all around the room while the congregation, including all the children, sang Jesus Loves Me. John wore the same baptismal outfit that Rob wore 33 years ago, and that Charlie wore when he was baptized. The ceremony was lovely; we're so happy to have promised to raise our little boy in the faith that guides us.

Madeline and Charlie came up front with us -- Charlie ditched the firefighter rain boots that he insisted on wearing with his seersucker suit, and went up barefoot instead. And we all got a kick out of Madeline, who for some reason, shuffled closer and closer to our pastor throughout the ceremony until she was practically standing on his toes.

The entire front row of the church was filled with John's biggest fans. Both of our families flew in to Nashville for the special event. We celebrated afterward with a gorgeous brunch at our house, hosted by my dad and Nancy, with a delicious spread, personalized M&Ms and a fabulous Bloody Mary and Mimosa bar.
And so if the morning wasn't special enough, John also met both of his grandfathers for the first time last weekend.
My sister Andi, who was on call at the hospital where she works, sent John a teddy bear that she made out of the cashmere sweater that my mom gave me years ago. It reminded me of the teddy bear she made for Charlie on his baptism two years ago! 
We had lots more fun as the weekend went on -- a fun breakfast at Dotsons, s'mores around the campfire, a stroll through downtown Franklin and a Cajun feast that Rob's parents treated us to. 

Our house was truly filled with all of life's greatest gifts -- family, faith, love and lots of laughter. 
Papa changing little horseshoes! How they squeal!
Decked out in their new Illini gear from Aunt Nicki
Even Madeline's pet worm (in the cup) joins us for a walk.