Monday, August 24, 2015

Tessa Mary

Today is Tessa's 9th birthday.

She was born in Kansas and is our 16 grandchild and 7th grandaughter.
Tessa is an important part of this large family.
And an even more important part of this smaller family.
Last night I conducted a phone interview with Tessa.  Here's how it went:  Hi Tessa   How are you? I'm fine!  Tomorrow's my birthday!
I know!  Are you excited?  Um hmm
Do you have any special plans?  Umm for my birthday party I might be going to Trampoline World or Sky Dome. I haven't decided yet.  
What do you want for your birthday?   Probably like a stuffed animal.  I already got a bike and lots of other stuff.  Did you have a little family party today?  Umm, I think we're going to do something like that tomorrow.  Will Grant be able to come?  No, because his school starts on my birthday.  How about Daddy?  No he won't be able to come but he's going to come visit us in a couple of weeks. That's awesome I'll bet you're excited.  (She literally giggled.)  Yeah!
Has your school started yet?  Yep  When did it start?  Ummm I think it was on the 17th
What grade are you in now?  4th grade
What do you like best about school?  My favorite part of school is recess.   But I love school and my teacher's great!
And what don't you like so much?  I do not like math.
What's your favorite thing to do at home?   I don't know.    I like to draw.
You're a very good artist.
And I like to play with my Barbies.
What's your favorite animal?  A  cat.  Why?  Because they're fluffy and cute and I like to snuggle with them.
What do you want to be when you grow up?  I want to be doctor.
How many kids would you like to have some day?  3 or 4.
Did you enjoy Christmas in Gulf Shores last year?  Yes!   I loved it!
What was your favorite part?  Going on the beach.
What else can you tell us about yourself?  Well, I'm not a big fan of video games.  Sometimes they get boring.
Anything else?   Umm Yes.  I have four favorite colors.  What are they?  Blue, White, Pink, and Purple. 
 I like all animals as long as they're not really dangerous.  
I like to dance.

 I'm going to start gymnastics but I still like to dance.
And I like swimming.  I'm in stroke school now.
What is that?  Stroke school is basically where you learn all the stokes.
Which is your favorite?  Probably freestyle.  Are you pretty good at it?  um hmmm. 

 I like to look at pets at the pet store.  When you come in, on the left they have cute little kittens in different kinds of cages and last time I went they had a baby kitten.
I like lots of kinds of food.  What's your favorite?  Probably this real good chicken that I had or some mashed potatoes that I had at Carraba's.  We usually go there with the whole family. 
Where are you going for your birthday?  Me and Mom and Evan are going to go to Carraba's. 
 And I really like Barbies.  Right now I'm cleaning up some of my Legos to make a Barbie wonderland.  
And that was pretty much how the interview ended.  Tessa did a great job of trying to think of facts about herself that we hadn't covered.  But I can add even more facts about Tessa.
She's quiet and unassuming.
When there's hustle and bustle going on around her and everybody's focused on the task at hand, she quietly stays out of the way.

She's a Mommy's girl.
And a Daddy's girl.
And she loves her big brothers almost us much as they adore her.
She's stylish

Enjoys shopping
And is a great planner and organizer.  She's also crafty like her Mom and just so eager to please.
But more than all that, she's sweet, patient, loving, smart, and unbelievably artistic and creative.  We love her more than she can imagine and we're wishing her the happiest of birthdays. Tessa, Happy Birthday and we just cannot WAIT to see you in December!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Our Very First Eagle Scout

On June 28th, 2015, our grandson, David, became the family's first Eagle Scout and we couldn't be prouder.  We were honored to be invited to his Court of Honor and lucky enough to be able to attend.
The day started out with all the scouts in the family - and there are four including Dad who is an adult leader - donning their uniforms.
 The oldest and the youngest.
And a cameo of the youngest, Zachary who is so proud to follow in the family scouting tradition.
Then we all headed over to the church where the Court of Honor would be held.  David took a moment to pose with his mom
before everybody worked to get ready for the ceremony and the reception afterwards.
Zachary and sister, Katie, worked on beverages.
 Zachary and mom, Patty, set up the tables.
David's brother, Matthew, helped with the ceremony setup.
To our surprise, the Master of Ceremonies, chosen by David, was Matthew.  He did a great job - formal when he needed to be formal and ad-libbing brilliantly when there was a small glitch in the proceedings.

And as Matthew read the Scout Law which states: A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent, I thought that a parent could ask no more from a son than to possess these attributes and I realized that David had and had always had these qualities.

Next all the scouts in attendance recited the Scout Oath: On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.
And all of the Eagles who were present were asked to come to the front of the room (notice the age of some of the guys.  This is where my favorite phrase - once an Eagle; always an Eagle manifested itself)

while David repeated the Eagle Scout Pledge
On my honor as a Scout, I, David,
Having renewed my allegiance,
To the three promises of the Scout Oath,
Hereby make the following pledge:
I thoughtfully recognize and take upon myself
The obligations and responsibilities of the rank of Eagle Scout.
On my honor, I will do my best
To make my training and my example
My rank and my influence
Count strongly for better Scouting
And for better citizenship
In my troop, in my community
And in my contacts with other people.
To this I pledge my sacred honor.
Then David presented his parents with a pin to thank them for their wisdom, help, encouragement, and support on his journey to becoming an Eagle.

Then Mom and Dad proudly pinned the Eagle Badge over their son's heart.
I had more pictures of this part of the ceremony but when I get too emotional, for some reason, the pictures get blurry and that's what happened here.  There were speeches by people who knew David but the pictures that got especially blurry were those taken of his father expressing his pride and love for David.  It's just hard to get a good, sharp focus when your eyes are filled with tears.
Then David gave a wonderful speech thanking everyone for attending and inviting everyone to the reception which followed.
After the reception and before we left, I took my favorite picture of the day of the four scouts in this wonderful family.
In closing, I want David to know how proud we are of him and how grateful we are that he had his Court of Honor when we could attend.  And below I've included the story that was on the back of his program.  I loved it and when I read it, I knew it was going to be a beautiful, heartwarming, and emotional ceremony.  And it exceeded all my expectations.

The Legend of Eagle Mountain 
            "Early one morning a young boy stood at a trailhead.  Before him rose a mighty mountain, which seemed all the mightier when compared with his smallness.”
          “A trail led to the mountain and then up it to incredible heights before vanishing in the clouds.  On this trail the boy could see other boys and young men, some of whom turned and beckoned him to follow.”
          “The boy began to climb, refusing perhaps to believe that he could ever reach the top.  At first the trail rose gently, and the boy had many companions.  But soon he began to sweat and breathe heavily, and many of his companions turned away.  And still the boy climbed.”
          “At times he climbed quickly.  At times he climbed slowly.  At times he had to go down a little ways to find another path or stop a while to catch his breath.  But still he climbed.  The trail became steeper, the air thinner, but the climber scarcely noticed for he had, along the way, become stronger of body and hardier of spirit.  And still he climbed.”
          “And finally in the cool peace of evening time, he stood alone at the top of the world and looked around him.  To the left he saw a fiery golden sunset.  To the right he saw a diamond-studded, silky-black night sky.  Behind him, he saw the trail that he had followed and the hikers who were following in his footsteps.”
          “And in front of him he saw another mountain.  And another.  And another.  And a whole procession of mountains marching off to the horizon.  But the young man (for now he was a man) knew that none of these other mountains were insurmountable, that all could and would be climbed.  For he had learned many skills in the climbing of the first mountain, and he would carry those skills with him long after this mountain was forgotten.”
          “And besides, he could begin climbing the next mountain tomorrow.  Today he would rest and celebrate and ponder the journey that he had completed.  And so today, we pause to rest and celebrate and honor this fine young man, Eagle Scout Candidate David  as he stands at the top of the world and looks around him."