Friday, August 29, 2008

Emily, Would You Like to Read a Book? - A Much Needed Reminder

I personally needed this today. God was reminding me how blessed I am.

I'm fortunate enough that my girls take naps at the same time every afternoon. Their naps usually last anywhere from 2 - 3 hours. If Elaina wakes up first, she's very good about leaving their room quietly rather than calling for me if she notices that Emily's still asleep. This way, Emily continues her nap.

I usually lay them both down at the same time. Sometimes they "talk" and laugh at each other before falling asleep. Today, as I was listening after I laid them down, I knew Emily had fallen asleep immediately because I could hear her sucking away on her pacifier. You know, the sucking pattern that lets you know that they are out like a light. Elaina always takes "all of her books" (not really ALL of them because that would mean a bookcase full, but about five or six of them is "all of them" to her) to her bed with her and "reads" before she falls asleep. About 20 to 30 minutes after they laid down, I was continuing some housework that I wanted to get done while they were asleep. I heard Elaina coughing again. She has a slight case of croup, and she had a really rough night last night sleeping. She's much better today, but when she lays down for a long period of time, she starts to have coughing fits again. Anyway, since she was coughing again, I decided to go in and check on her.

I was startled when I walked in and saw Emily's crib. Basically, I saw a crib full of books, and I couldn't see Emily. I rushed over to the crib, and fortunately her head wasn't buried in books, so she was still breathing and sleeping peacefully. In fact, she hadn't moved an inch since I laid her in the crib. Not sure how having several books tossed over into her crib on top of her wouldn't bother her, but apparently it didn't. She was in the same position I initially laid her down in. I looked over at Elaina, and she was sound asleep as well, with her face planted right into her pillow . . . not really sure how she was able to breathe and have her face in the pillow like this, but she was making it, so I wasn't going to disturb her.

I just had to stand there and laugh for a moment. Apparently, Elaina decided to share her books with Emily today; although Emily had no idea! As I write this post, they are both still asleep, so it will be very interesting to get Elaina's interpretation of the story when she wakes up, and it will also be interesting to see how Emily responds to waking up to a crib full of books! I may have to post again if their responses are interesting!

God is so very good, and today He reminded me of the simple things in life and the happy times that I take for granted sometimes. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful family that I can share these special moments with.

What more could I ever want? Well, at times, I have a long list of answers to that question, but today, I'm reminded . . . I already have it all. Anything else is just another added blessing from God.

Where's Emily? Really . . . she is in there!

Who Needs a Boy? McCrary Family Football Practice

For some reason each time we have given birth, there have been some responses that go a little like this. "Oh, a girl (or "Oh, another girl"). I bet Jeff was a little disappointed that he didn't get his boy. I bet Jeff really wants a boy." We wouldn't give up either one of our precious girls for a boy, so when we get this statement from people, we always just smile and say, "We love our girls." One, because it's the truth. Two, because this statement made by other people can get a bit irritating after a while, (it's funny that they determine your feelings for you), so we just try not to give too lengthy of a response - along with the question, "Are you guys going to try for a boy?" So, to answer that one up front . . . No. We're not going to try for a BOY. When that time comes, we're going to try to have another BABY (boy or girl) so that we can add another precious little one to our family - not necessarily so that we can "get a boy." Plus, my brother and sister-in-law, Stephen and Leah, seem to do a good job of keeping up with filling the need for boys in our family. They have three wonderfully boyish boys! I always tell people that we fill the girl quota and they fill the boy quota. Of course, we expect these comments just as any other couple who has either all girls or all boys expects the comments that they get. I'm sure I've made those comments to other people myself before I had children of my own. Now I try to make it a point of not making comments like those because I know that I get them myself. If God chooses to trust us with gifts of girls, then we consider ourselves truly blessed. Jeff has always been very thankful for these girls who love to snuggle on him, love on him and think that he's the greatest guy in the world! Now, would we be thrilled if we were to ever "get" that boy? Well, of course! The majority of families out there would probably like to fill their families with boys and girls alike.

But in the meantime, Jeff is preparing his girls for that one sport that typically is for "boys only" . . . FOOTBALL! Elaina's Poppy bought her a football last year during football season, and she also has a football jersey. She loves playing and watching football with her Daddy. This week, Emily had her first football practice with Daddy. Emily has actually started her football practice with Daddy at a younger age than when Elaina did, so we were quite impressed with her natural abilities. Elaina didn't start practicing football until she was about 20 months or so. Emily is 15 months. I thought you might like to see some pictures of these future McCrary GIRL football stars!

Emily holding the football for Elaina to kick.

Elaina's touchdown dance!

Elaina holding the ball for Emily's turn to kick.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy!

It's been a week since I have posted anything on our blog. I have been meaning to, but we've just been so busy! It was a great week, but the bad thing is that I forgot my camera when we went to a couple of places!

On Wednesday of last week we went to Rosie and Jim's house to visit. Their grandsons were over, so Elaina and Emily had a lot of fun playing with Noah and Jack. We always love going to visit Rosie and Jim. Rosie and I usually get to sit and catch up, the girls and I get fed extremely well, and the girls have a ball playing with Jim. They absolutely adore him! Sunday was Rosie's birthday, so we got to wish her a happy birthday, too! Unfortunately this was one of the places I forgot to take my camera! Next time we visit, I'll get some pictures and be sure to post them.

Thursday, we noodled! The girls and I headed over to "MeMaw Terry's" house and made homemade noodles to freeze with Terry, Jennifer, Bethany, and Jill. We had a great time and made a HUGE mess! The girls played with their friends. Eventually, Hannah and Elaina decided that they wanted to help, and they had so much fun making an already huge mess even more of a mess! I couldn't believe that I had forgotten my camera again because there were some opportunities for some really cute pictures, especially when Sammy (Bethany's middle son) joined in with the rolling pin! The noodles are delicious! We actually had some tonight, and we have more in the freezer to look forward to this winter.

On Friday night, Jeff and I went to the Whiteland vs. New Palestine football game at the new Lucas Oil Stadium. For those of you who are not from Indiana and are reading this post, this is the new Colt's stadium. Friday night was the first night that a football game was played in the stadium, so it was really exciting. We went with a large group of friends who mostly are alumni of Whiteland, so they were super excited. We went out to dinner before hand. Jeff and I were really missing the girls at dinner because everyone else had brought their kiddos, and we asked Jeff's parents to watch the girls. Once we got to the game, though, we realized that we had made a wise choice to leave them with MawMaw and PawPaw. The game didn't get started until after 9 p.m., and we didn't leave until almost midnight, and the fourth quarter hadn't even began yet! We were able to get great seats on the first and second rows. We had a great time with our friends and getting to see the new stadium. It was especially neat when they opened the retractable roof. It's amazing!

On Sunday, we headed to Kentucky for Jeff's grandmother's 85th birthday. Most of the entire family surprised her at church and then took her out to lunch. We had a great visit with everyone. We don't get to see Jeff's brother and his wife and sister and her husband very often, so it was especially nice to see and visit with them. We hope Great MawMaw Welty had a very special day. She's such a wonderful lady!

Tonight, Jeff took Elaina to the first Northwood skating party of the school year. This is always something that he does with her. Maybe at the end of the year, Emily will be able to start going, too. I know Jeff is really looking forward to being able to take her, too. They had a great time together! Elaina loves the music and getting to see all of the kids, too. She especially likes the arcade games. To top it all off, she got to ride in Daddy's truck, and that is always a special treat for her!

Miss Emily had her 15 month check-up at the pediatrician today. She weighs 22 lbs. 12 ounces and is 32 1/2 inches long. That's 50th percentile for weight and 95th percentile for length. She's doing great. Of course, we'd love it if she would start talking a little more rather than pointing and grunting and whining, but the doctor isn't concerned. She said it's very typical for a second child to talk later than the first. This could be because Elaina is doing all of the talking for her! Emily also isn't a big book lover, so this also could slow her language development down. In fact, it's just been within the last few weeks that she's become interested in books. She can't sit still long enough to have a book read to her. Our girls two girls are complete opposites. Elaina loved books very early on, and still loves to just sit and read. Both of our girls are so beautiful and special, and we love to see traits in them that are similar, but we also love their differences. We just continue to pray that they both grow to love Jesus and live a life for Him.

I will try to do a better job of keeping up with the blog. I don't like to get behind, and I especially don't like forgetting my camera!

Lucas Oil Stadium

OK. So the whole night I was trying to get a really good picture of Jill and Scott for my blog, but she was being a punk the whole time whining about me taking her picture. Since we were sitting so close to the field, and Peyton Manning was standing on the side line of the field in front of us, I was wanting to get his picture. Jill decided she would continue with her shenanigans and get right in front of my camera while I was trying to get Manning's picture. So much for a good picture of Peyton, and so much for a good picture of Jill. This is what I ended up with.

The best picture of Peyton Manning that I could get.

Hilary posing for the camera.

The kids had a great time at the game. I don't think they watched one minute of the actual game. Their focus was getting on the big screen, and our seats were perfect for it! This is a picture of Madison and her little girlfriends on the big screen. Madison is in the middle.

When it came time for Hannah to get on the big screen, she was super excited. But her big brother, Luke, did what big brothers are made for . . . he stole her glory and shining moment. This is a picture of Hannah with Luke jumping right in front of her to get some screen time.

Now, typically, it was the younger kids and the high school students who were doing everything they could to get on the big screen. But there was ONE poor 35 year old soul in attendance who was desperately awaiting her big moment! This is Hilary on the big screen. She is the blonde on the left side of the picture behind the younger kid. Way to go, Hilary!

Elaina and Emily sharing an ice cream cone at Great MawMaw Welty's 85th birthday lunch.

Elaina posing for the camera with her roller skates on.

Oops . . . posed a little too long, and lost her balance.

Elaina on the motorcycle arcade game. She gets her love of motorcycles from her daddy!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

It's Football Season!

Through our seven years of friendship with the Ruddles, we've been able to watch their kids grow up. Benjamin was 2 when we met, Luke was 7 months, and Hannah was just still part of God's wonderful plan. We love these kids so much! As they've gone through several sporting seasons in soccer, baseball and basketball, we've always enjoyed seeing them play. This last Saturday was a new one for them . . . football! We were so excited to see them play, and they did a great job!

Elaina was pumped all morning. She wore her football jersey, got her football ready to go and she was bound and determined that she was going to go play football with "the boys Ben-Ben and Urk" (now becoming "Uke"). Jeff had to get her hopes back down to reality and told her that she couldn't play with them today that she would just have to watch and practice.

Luke, the younger Ruddle boy, plays "QB" and Wide Receiver. Benjamin, the oldest Ruddle boy, plays Quarterback and Wide Receiver as well, but they are on separate teams. Benjamin and Luke both scored touchdowns! It was so fun to watch them play. They are both really great! We look forward to watching more of their football games this fall.

Saturday evening, we were able to watch Brooke while her mommy, daddy, brother and sister went to a tour of Lucas Oil Stadium. Brooke is so sweet, and Elaina had a great time playing with her. By the end of the night, Elaina was exhausted from our long day and getting to play with so many of her friends!

Jeff coaching Hannah, Elaina, and Emily in the techniques of football. Look out, Emily's running it in for a touchdown!

Benjamin and Luke Ruddle ("RUD STUDS!")

Elaina and Brooke having a picnic

Friday, August 15, 2008

Introducing . . . Elaina Joy McCrary . . . the Gold Medalist in All Sporting Events . . . for the 2024 Olympics!

As I mentioned in my earlier post, we have been thoroughly enjoying the 2008 Summer Olympics. Our television has been on at 8:00 p.m. each night, and we've been staying up ridiculously late watching it all. It has been so much fun because Elaina is so into it. She absolutely loves watching the Olympics, and to hear her even pronounce the word is so much fun in itself. She has been staying up way past her bedtime, too, but it's been worth it because of the laughter and joy she's brought to us through these Games. She does not like it at all when a commercial comes on. She's going to miss the Olympics for sure when they're over, but Jeff recorded some of it on Thursday night, so we can always have her watch that.

She has proven herself to be an all around athlete! She participates in all sports to her maximum ability and with such determination and grace. We just want the world to know that she's the one to watch for the 2024 Olympics. Her strong point is definitely gymnastics, but she is also very strong in diving, track and field, and beach volleyball. Look out, World! Elaina Joy McCrary will be coming home to the USA decorated in Gold in 2024!

(DISCLAIMER: By the way, please know that we are not the type of parents who would really be truly serious about any of the content in the above paragraph. We are not training our 2 1/2 year old for the Olympics in 2024 nor do we seriously think she's a superstar at age 2 1/2. Well, she's a superstar in our eyes though . . . superstar in the drama department!)

One of Elaina's gymnastic moves


Elaina - the tack and field Gold Medalist. "I run fast like those boys on the Olympics!"

Elaina serving an ace in beach volleyball

Standing on the podium waving to the crowd after accepting her gold medals

A Long Week Missing Daddy

This week was the official start of the school year, so Jeff was back to work full swing. He was usually out of the house by 6:30 a.m. and not home until 5:30 p.m. and one night it was almost 8:00 p.m. We were once again reminded that teachers definitely deserve their summer "vacation." Needless to say, we missed him greatly! The first day, the girls were up when Jeff left because he didn't have to be there so early. When he told the girls that he was leaving, Emily went to the other room, grabbed her shoes, and came running back with them to hand to Jeff. They watched him from the door as he left. It was a heart breaker for sure.

With Jeff being so busy with school, it was just me and the girls. Jeff helps out so much when he's home, and I've had him home for two months, so this week was a definite adjustment for me too. I'm exhausted. Usually, I take a nap when the girls nap, but this week I was busy working on my new ministry area at church. I am now the Nursery Coordinator, and I'm really excited about it! Jeff and I prayed about this before I committed to doing it, and we're both certain that this is a where God wants me serving right now. It's taking a lot of time here at the beginning, but in the end it will be well worth it when things are up and running the way I hope that they will. We've also been staying up way too late watching the Olympics. We can't stay away from the TV from 8 p.m. on. The Olympics are so great, and we've really been enjoying them.

One evening, Jeff wasn't home yet, and it was time to get dinner going. I popped in a Veggie Tales DVD for Elaina and hoped that Emily would entertain herself while I fixed dinner in the kitchen. Well, Elaina loves her Veggie Tales DVD, so she was fine. I heard some terrible piano playing as I was working on dinner. Elaina loves to sit on the piano bench and play the piano, and Emily will tap a key here or there as she walks by it. As I was listening to the piano being played, I just assumed that Elaina was taking a break from her DVD to play the piano instead. When I looked over, it was Emily who had climbed up on the piano bench to start playing. She was having so much fun and looked so sweet sitting there playing the piano. It wasn't terrible piano playing at all, it was beautiful piano playing because it was my baby girl having a great time!

It is Friday evening as I write this post, and the Olympics are on the television. Jeff is relaxing on the couch. We are so glad it's Friday!

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Weekend with Papa Calvin

Papa Calvin came to Indiana to visit with my parents for a week, so we went up this last weekend and spent more time with family. Papa Calvin is a preacher in Eden, NC. My parents were members of his church while they lived there, and my dad made the decision to go into the ministry under the guidance of Papa Calvin. All of my grandparents had passed away by the time I was six years old, so Papa Calvin was, what I call, "my adopted grandpa." I have many special memories with Papa Calvin. One memory I have is that he taught me how to drive when he was out here for a visit. He'll never forget that either. Papa Calvin usually visits once a year, and many times, he's able to make it out to Indiana twice a year. We had a great time visiting with him.

On Saturday, Papa Calvin took us all out to eat. We ate at Hollyhock Hill Restaurant in Indianapolis. It's a family style restaurant and is a great place for you to have an enjoyable meal with a large group. After dinner, we went back to my brother and sister-in-law's house in Carmel to visit. The girls had a great time playing with their cousins. They always have a great time with them. Elaina usually laughs and giggles the entire time they're together.

On Sunday, we went to church at my dad's church and played in the afternoon. I took the girls for a ride on the riding lawnmower, and we played at the playground. We always eat way too much food when we're at MeMe and Poppy's house! It was so yummy.

There is a lot of property where we grew up. The house I grew up in, where my mom and dad still live, and the church are both on the property. My dad has planted a tree for each of the grandkids after they have been born. Emily and Elaina both have a Japanese Crab apple tree. My dad planted them in front of the wooden cross on the front of the church. He hopes when they grow that they will frame the wooden cross. I'm sure that they will be beautiful. Those trees mean a lot to my dad, and it means even more that he was able to plant them on the property.

We wish we could have stayed longer, but we really needed to get home. Jeff went back to a regular full work schedule on Monday, and he has a lot to do. Also, we still haven't been home very long since we returned from vacation, and I have a lot of house things to catch up on. It's time to get back into a routine now that Daddy's back to work. It was a great summer! I'm sad that it's come to an end.

A baseball game with the kids

Crazy Cousins - Seth, Luke, and Elaina

Papa Calvin and his "adopted grandkids" and Jeff to help keep them all in the picture. (Unfortunately, Shelbi wasn't there.)

Baby Thad

Emily playing at MeMe and Poppy's

Elaina singing and dancing on the stage at the playground at MeMe and Poppy's church.

MeMe and Poppy have the BEST playground!

Elaina picking a tomato for Mommy from Poppy's tomato garden.

Poppy, Elaina, and Elaina's tree

Poppy, Emily, and Emily's tree

The girls and their trees in front of Poppy's church.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

We Love our Hooded Bath Towels! Thanks, Rachel!

When Elaina was born, Rachel (one of the girls in our 6th grade youth group at the time) made Elaina a hooded bath towel. It was too big for her to use as a newborn because this towel is made with an oversized large bath towel and oversized washcloth. When Elaina grew out of her newborn hooded towels, we started using the one that Rachel made. Two years later, Elaina is still using it, and she really loves it, too. In fact, if it is in the laundry, she doesn't like to have to use a normal towel. She's a bit particular . . . I wonder where she gets that from?

Emily has grown out of her baby hooded towels too, so I asked Rachel if she could get with her grandmother and I would pay her to make us two more towels. Rachel and her grandmother work on these towels together. When we got back from vacation this weekend, Rachel was at church with the new hooded towels. I was so excited! She made one for Emily as a gift, which was really sweet of her to do. One of the towels she made this time is a bright blue, and Elaina LOVES it! Elaina's favorite color is blue, and Rachel had no idea, so it worked out perfectly! For those of you who have toddlers, these towels are the BEST! They are big enough to wrap your toddler up in and snuggle with them for a few minutes when they get out of the bathtub, and the hood is perfect for keeping their head warm and drying their hair when they get out of the tub, too. I think it's really neat that Rachel and her grandmother do this together.

Thanks, Rachel! We love our towels, and whenever another McCrary baby comes along, we'll have to call on you again!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Missing our Friends!

It didn't take long after we were home for us to start wanting to head over to see some of our friends. Elaina pleaded all morning on Saturday to go see "my Hannah" and "my Jill." In fact, Elaina fell on Saturday. It was no big deal - she just triped in the living room. You would have thought the world had ended. She was screaming! She wasn't hurt at all. Nothing seemed to help, so finally out of somewhat frustration, I asked her what she needed. She replied, "I NEED MY JILL!!" with big tears streaming down her face.

The Ruddle family got a new puppy, Mac, while we were gone, so Elaina was very excited to go see Mac and give him the ball she picked out for him. Elaina is TERRIFIED of dogs, so we weren't sure how this would go. We're very excited that they got a dog because we are at their house so much, and we're hoping that it will help calm her fears a bit. She loved meeting Mac! We had a great lunch with the Ruddles.

We got to catch up with more of our friends Sunday at church and again Sunday evening out at the Bright farm. It was so wonderful to see everyone. We had a wonderful Sunday, and the girls really enjoyed playing with their friends.

We've made a lot of girl plans this week to hang out with friends, which is very exciting. The girls will be spending time with their MawMaw and PawPaw this week, too. There are so many people that we want to see. I feel like we were gone much longer than two weeks.

Here are some pictures that the Ruddle family took of their new puppy, Mac. He is a Newfoundland and is just stinkin' adorable!

Mac and Hannah

Mr. Mac Ruddle

Miss B - New Hampshire Trip - Day 15

I had to make this last post about our trip. When I was a little girl, I had a lovey named Miss B. She was a bunny rabbit hand puppet blanket thingy. Anyway, I took her everywhere, so she actually made many New Hampshire trips. One year, when we got to New Hampshire, we couldn't find Miss B. My mom tells me that I cried and cried and cried. Mom was afraid we had left Miss B in Connecticut at my aunt and uncle's house. She was fearful of what our time in New Hampshire would be like with me not having my lovey. Fortunately, my mom found Miss B, and it was a very happy ending.

Well, 28 years later, Miss B is still making the New Hampshire trip. When I was pregnant with Elaina, I washed up Miss B just in case we had a baby girl. Well, we did, but Elaina really never got attached to a lovey. I was a little disappointed, but I knew Elaina would have other special things that she gets to have passed down to her from me. So, I set it aside and saved it for possibly another baby girl. Then, Emily was born! Emily attached to Miss B right away and snuggles with Miss B at every nap and every bedtime. Miss B went on our trip with us, and she made it safely home, too. Emily loves her Miss B!
Emily and Miss B

Miss B - age 28

On the Road Again . . . Tetanus Shot Arby's Playground . . . 2650 Miles . . . We're Home! - New Hampshire Trip - Day 15

We left Connecticut at 6:30 Friday morning, and pulled into our driveway at 11:30 Friday night. It was such a long day, but the weather was perfect, and we didn't run into any major traffic. It was a great day to travel.
Our total mileage for our trip was 2,650 miles! It was well worth it! We had such an amazing time. It was so special to have my parents with us for this trip, too. I know it mean a lot to them.

I was so glad that I was able to share all of my special places with the girls and Jeff. I know we'll get back up there someday, but it won't be for a long time.

I'm glad that I was able to keep up with my posting so that the girls will have these written memories years from now to look back on. Elaina learned so much on our trip, and I'm sure Emily had great experiences that helped her grow, too.

For lunch, we stopped somewhere in PA at an Arby's. We had to laugh because it was such an old Arby's. It had one of those playgrounds that I like to call "tetanus shot playgrounds." You know, the old metal ones. Well, Elaina decided to discover the metal curly slide. She's fearless. She got to the top, and went down. She did somersaults the whole way down banging her head. She was screaming and crying as she got to the bottom. But, of course, she dried her tears and asked to go down it again! I made Jeff go down it with her the second time. She's so brave. She was not happy that I made Jeff go down it with her. She wanted to do it again all by herself.
Well, we're home, and we're exhausted. We're trying to catch up on two weeks worth of mail and newspapers. It feels good to be home, but it was sad to have our vacation end. Thanks to all who prayed for us along the way. To my family on the East Coast - you are much loved by us out here in Indiana. Thank you for a wonderful two weeks and many special memories. You're the best!

Elaina playing "1, 2, 3, 4, 5" at a Cracker Barrel pit stop. Elaina and her Poppy play this game together. It's really special.

The Tetanus Shot Arby's Playground somewhere in the middle of Pennsylvania