Friday, November 30, 2012

a little of what kept me busy ~ {CAMP SHARON Retirement Party}

After 32 years of serving our church as the Children's Ministry director, my boss and my friend, Sharon is set to retire at the end of the year.  Her announcement didn't totally shock me but the thought of not having her in this role is deeply saddening to me.  I've been working with Sharon for nearly three years and really do consider her a friend.  She loves kids, loves God and has served in such a huge capacity for so long that her absence will most certainly be felt.
I had been approached to coordinate her retirement party and sort of declined, offering to help but not thinking that I had the time to commit to planning a party for 300 people...a week or so after this first request, our head pastor, Fitz, called me at home and personally asked me to coordinate Sharon's celebration.  I said yes (really, how do you say no to that?) and thus planning and coordinating became my primary focus for the month.  I had never done anything like this, on this large of a scale before, and I won't lie and say that I wasn't terribly daunted at first.  I felt tremendous pressure to make this party something that was worthy of a woman who had selflessly served God and our church for over three decades.  However, it was truly humbling to see so many amazing people step forward and offer to help in various ways.  My sweet friends helped in every way possible and I will be forever grateful! 
The party turned out really well...better than I could have hoped, in fact.  The gym (how is it possible to make a gym look nice, I wondered?) turned out lovely and the celebration time in the sanctuary, before the reception, was so thoughtful and special.  My hope is that Sharon truly felt the love and appreciation that she deserves.
Sharon had requested a "camp" theme, because summer camps had always been a meaningful part of her ministry.
I reused the backdrop from Kennedy's party and found great printables on line that allowed for editing.  Our friend, Dan, graciously brought me five large, round pieces of cut trees (guess they are called lilly pads) and we used those to help bring a natural feel to the dessert table.

We had 12+ dozen cupcakes, baked by thoughtful ladies and lovingly frosted by Shannon and Kathy.  Dozens of cookies, brownies and other sweets were also brought in for the celebration.

Cute little wrappers on Hershey bars - the back of the labels had sweet, personal information written about Sharon.

I didn't get great shots of the tables, but they were kind of a nightmare.  They ended up being an improvised success, but there was a bit of stress in getting them that way. 
When we arrived on Saturday, all (18!) of the tables and (180!) chairs were to be set up for us.  Unfortunately that wasn't the case...enter my amazing husband.  Thankfully Kyle and another kind man, Bo were there and willing to help.  Carter and Samuel were even put to work!  At that point we were not above a little child labor.
Then we couldn't find table clothes that fit.  Numerous calls were made to try to track them down, but no luck.  So we improvised.  Kathy and I had bought this lovely, neutral table wrap (kind of like wrapping paper) that coordinated nicely.  We used brown butcher paper as a runner and then square pieces of the floral paper on a diagonal.  I found the flowers at Michael's on clearance and thought they looked very nice (for fake flowers).  After it was all said and done, the tables looked lovely.  I could never have done this alone, and I am so grateful for Kathy and her creative mind.  We worked well together and just having her there with me helped relieve much of the stress that I was feeling!

The dessert table
I thought we'd have left over treats coming out of our ears, but once dinner was over the table was cleared...It looked like locusts had invaded.  There were a handful of cookies left and that was it!

little details

The amazing team of Linda and Amy transformed the sanctuary for the celebration.  It was so fun to see what they came up with - they had some help, as well, but were definitely the creative force behind the whole look.

The ever talented, Andria, created this great sign that was displayed in the sanctuary during the celebration.  Sharon loved it!

Miss Sharon, basking in the love!

Bibleman kicked things off - he was hilarious!!!

Sharon's daughter, Amy, sang beautifully.  It was such a personal and touching tribute to her mama.

Miss Sharon loves her kids, so I knew I wanted to include them in her celebration.  Anna lead the littler ones in a few songs and then wrote a song for Sharon that the older kids sang.  It all ended with a good, ol' fashioned camp sing-a-long.  It was so fun to hear everyone getting into it. 
I think it was my favorite part of the night...those sweet voices, singing with love and vibrancy. 

My little ones singing their hearts out.

Kitchen crew
I was a bit overwhelmed with the food and the idea of planning and prepping a meal for over 300 people.  Thankfully there are women who God has graced with magnificent cooking skills.  Leontina was the head chef and prepared two delicious, homemade soups, a fall salad, apple cranberry crisp and even kid friendly macaroni and cheese.  It was all delicious.  My sweet friend, Rachel, did all of the shopping and took the lead on coordinating with Leontina.  It was such a huge help.  We had lots of helping hands during the party, as well.  Several high schoolers helped serve and lots of ladies were busy in the background ensuring everything went off smoothly.

I can barely type as I look at these pictures, because I am laughing so hard!!! 
As everyone came downstairs for the dinner reception, I entered the gym and noticed a little old, white haired lady sitting in Sharon's seat.  I kind of panicked - "how could she not realize that she was in a special chair?"  It was the only black, padded chair in the entire gym, it was in the center of the room, had a sign on the back of the seat, a special cupcake on the plate and fresh flowers in the center of the table.  Really?!?!  I had no idea what to do, as I certainly didn't feel comfortable asking her to move...enter our fearless Associate Pastor, Matt.  I grabbed his sweet wife, Anne, pointed out the gaffe and said, "this certainly looks like a pastoral issue, could we get Matt to do something?"  As Kathy and I stood by, watching and giggling (and taking pictures), poor Matt had to explain to this woman that she was sitting in the seat of honor and she had to move...

"Look, there's even a sign."
Matt, you are the best!  Thanks for helping to save the day!!! 

a little love tree
Kids and their families wrote notes and verses to Sharon that we used in the decorations.

Such a great way to show a wonderful lady how much she is truly appreciated.  It was a lot of work but I am so thankful that I could help honor Sharon and her many years of service.
Good luck, Chief!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

November Update

November has been one very busy month, hence the lack of blogging on my end.  Who knew?  I kept thinking that things would slow down and then something else would come up and  life would get crazier.  I would like to say that December will be "less" but who am I kidding?  With Christmas and all of the fun traditions that come along with it, life will continue to move along at a break neck pace and I will do my best to keep up with it all.

I've got about a dozen posts that I need to write and I will get to them as soon as I can, but in the mean time here is a little bit of what we've been up to:

Carter started his first season of basketball.
Kyle is coaching and the league is through the Parks & Rec so it's not competitive, just a lot of fun for the kids.  Kyle's doing a great job as coach and the boys seem to be enjoying themselves.  Carter loves it!  He is constantly asking to go out front to shoot hoops and is always very excited for his games.  He's pretty competitive and his mood is dependent on how well he plays.  The first game (although he only played about 10 minutes, because he had to rush off to his last soccer game) went great - he scored six points and was pumped!  Unfortunately the next two games didn't go as well - I'm not sure if it was the pressure he was putting on himself or better defense by the other team, but he only scored once during each game.  He's kind of a ball hog, which is a little embarrassing, but he's trying so hard that I just let it go.  The fourth game was awesome!  He did such a great job - had ten points, passed and dribbled well.  I was so proud of him.
It was a lot of fun to watch.
happy to be playing

Having fun with his friends.
All of the other seven players are either friends of his from school or church, so Carter has a great time!

Kyle is such a great dad...and a good coach too!

Carter and Andrew
These two have been on every team together and have so much fun.  When they are in together, they only pass each other the ball, which is funny, but they are both intense and are doing great.  I love to watch their friendship grow...

a sweaty little defender
I will definitely say this about Carter, when he's out on the court, he's hustling.  He seems to put forth more effort in basketball then we've seen in other sports.

Carter lost his third tooth - his permanent tooth is already coming up, but in the mean time his smile is a little more holy :)

Someone wanted to wear a shower cap like Mommy...

I couldn't resist a few pictures of my cutie!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Halloween ~ 2012

We lucked out and the rain stayed away for the two hours of trick-or-treating.  To say the kids were excited would be a huge understatement.  I should have tried to take pictures before dinner, because once they were finished eating, they were ready!
Carter didn't mind posing a bit, practicing his spells.
He was a great Harry Potter!

The Pikes joined us for dinner and then did a little trick-or-treating with us, as well.  It's always fun to include friends on special nights like these.

Harry and Cinderella

Kennedy and Emery

The whole gang setting off to collect their loot.  I went along for the first two blocks but then rushed back home to hand out candy.  The kids had a wonderful time!

Someone was very excited to get a big Snickers bar

We ended the night watching "It's a Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" and eating yummy treats...not bad for a Wednesday nigtht.

pumpkin fun

We attended our neighbor's annual Punk-o-Rama party the Sunday before Halloween.  Each year I'm amazed at the freakishly creative ideas that people come up with for their pumpkins.  In an attempt to spare Kyle from 2 hours in the garage, carving a non-prize worthy jack o' lantern, we painted our pumpkin white, added a few polka dots, a brightly covered wig and...voila - AFRO CIRCUS PUMPKIN!  That's it folks, that's the extent of my creativity.  Doubt we even got a vote.  Kids loved it, though. 

Carter was intent on carving his own pumpkin this year.  I was inclined to skip this tradition all together, because usually the kids won't touch the insides of the pumpkin and get bored after about five minutes.  Then Kyle and I are left cleaning and carving so that we have pumpkins to put on our front porch on Halloween.  Not this year.  Carter woke up early one morning and the first thing he asked to do was carve his pumpkin.  Kyle got him all set up in the garage and he went to work...




and finally cutting.

He was so proud!
Great job, Carter Man, your pumpkin is awesome!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Harvest Party!

Both Carter and Kennedy had harvest parties at school on Halloween, so it made for a pretty crazy day.  We started off with Cinderella at Circle of Friends.  Two other moms also helped with her party, so it was very easy and a ton of fun.  Kennedy was a little overwhelmed at first, but quickly warmed up and ended up having a wonderful time at her party.

Starting off our morning with table time as all of her classmates arrived

Two of the cutest little Cinderellas there ever were...
Kennedy and Lyla were thrilled that they dressed alike and happily posed for pictures.

Delaney didn't want to be left out, so we took a picture with Minnie Mouse, as well.

Cinderella was a popular choice this year!
Miss Debbie also dressed up as her favorite princess

a cake walk without the cake
each child won a pencil

The Gumball class 2012
Miss Tricia, Blake, Emily, Madaline, Delaney and Kennedy
Keiran, Lyla, Chase, Justin and Cohen

sweet smiles from sweet little friends

setting off to trick or treat around the school
Kennedy got to be line leader, and she's nervously checking everything out

so much fun!

our pretty princess

We left preschool a few minutes early to rush over to Carter's school.  We had hoped to join him for lunch (he requested sushi), but we arrived five minutes late and he was nearly finished with his already.  Getting finished quickly so they can head out to recess is a big deal.  He ate his second lunch than rushed off to join his friends.
Kennedy and I headed to his classroom and helped with their celebration.  They had made applesauce in the morning, but enjoyed some fun music and dancing and yummy treats after lunch.

Carter passed out little gifts to each of his classmates

Enjoying their treats!
It was a crazy, busy, fun filled day!