Friday, June 29, 2012

Happy Birthday, Harry! (4-22-12)

Harry has been wanting a Monster Truck birthday since Mac's birthday in November.  He waited and waited and we celebrated with some friends as he turned 3 in April.  He got some awesome cowboy boots and hat, and a cool Spiderman bike.   He's already asking for an Eyeball Birthday for next year.  His new favorite word is eyeball.

Harry is such a wonderful little guy.  He makes us laugh every day and brings us such sweet snuggles and hugs and kisses.  He is growing up tall and handsome, and is a fun mix of a baby and a big boy.  Some of his favorite things are: his "Bippy," a silky blue blankie that he sleeps with, dressing up as a fireman or army guy, reading books with Mommy (whom he often calls "Mama," much to her delight), playing outside with his Mac and Sissy, giving kisses to his baby brudder Pete, and watching "tartoons," especially Curious George. 

He says cute things like, "Mama, you smell just right."  And "dandaid" for bandaid, and "touton" for crouton, and Washington Momument, etc etc  He uses great words like "bivouac"(which we all looked up in the dictionary) and puts his own Harry spin on it, talking about bivouacking in the backyard while whacking each other.  Harry has a fun gruff little man voice, which is just so funny, but so much his personality.  A little man. A little Jay, as everyone says.

He is mischievous and too curious sometimes, just like George.  I find some very hysterical messes left in his wake- he is the quintessential kid writing on walls and carpets, smearing lotion in his baby brother's hair, and leaving teeth marks in Ruthie's dolls.  He is usually pretty tender about being corrected, and can sure enough muster up some big ole tears and poke out his bottom lip when he's making up with the offended. 

We recently finished VBS and I was so glad to hear a good report about him- he made a big impression on a few of the workers.  One told me how he was the only child cleaning up after craft time, without even being asked.  And two others mentioned how he was asking very insightful questions after Bible story time, when most of the other kids were not even paying attention.  It is so refreshing to hear good reports of our little one, all glory be to God, always.

We love that Harry!

Space Shuttle Discovery

On April 17th the Space Shuttle Discovery made its last journey, piggybacked on a 747, and landed at Dulles airport after circling the DC area for about an hour.  The kids and I drove down to Old Town Alexandria to get a better view.   It was just super, super cool to see a huge space shuttle strapped on to that huge jet, escorted by a fighter jet, circling pretty low over the Potomac.

The Discovery was taken to the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum, where it was on display the weekend after it flew in.  We braved the crowds and got an up-close view of the famous shuttle, dirt and stains and all.

 They rolled out the shiny prototype Enterprise, that never saw time in space, to sit nose-to-nose with the veteran Discovery- the most-flown shuttle in history.

This was one of those outings that turned out to be a fiasco.  (The museum trip, not watching the shuttle fly.)  So many things went amiss, and the kids were so cranky- it was mostly terrible.  Sometimes hauling 4 kids around just isn't worth it!  Now two months later, I can say I'm glad I went.  It was a historical moment, you know....

Mac at Bat

Mac played T-ball for the first time this Spring.  He had been wanting to play for a while, but the leagues up here don't take kids until they are 5 years old.  Even though he wanted to play, Mac was nervous about playing for the first few games, and wanted Jay to be right with him.  We didn't want to force him to be independent and start out hating sports ("there's no crying in baseball!"), but we didn't want to coddle him either.  So we prayed.  And by game 3 Mac was starting to be comfortable and confident and really enjoying the game.  It was so fun to watch him "grow up" over the season and have fun playing; and so good for us to keep learning to trust God with every aspect of Mac's growth- Go Thunder!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Audubon Zoo, New Orleans (March)

I almost forgot about our trip to the Zoo. (pardon all my crazy catching up). I thought it was a really nice zoo, great landscaping and lovely old buildings- not to mention the NO style of it all.

We went with my bro Alan and his wife Cheryl and their crazy crew.

Natural Bridge, VA. (4-9-12)

On our way home from the Southland we stopped in Natural Bridge, VA to see, guess what? The Natural Bridge there. It was pretty amazing. Thomas Jefferson used to own it and has a painting of it at Monticello.

Monday, June 25, 2012


We loved seeing the other Hodges clan while we were down South.  Look at all these precious children, all SMILING at the same time!  What?  (grrrrrr at the blurrrr)  Please notice newest little one Jacob, who was born while we were in town- joy in the midst of sorrow!

James Michael and Peter hangin' out.  The boys are like little opposites:  Peter blue eyes, JM brown; Peter tall and chunky, JM small and wiry; Peter curly JM straight.  Peter crawling, JM walking.  They are going to be buddies.

(why does Pete's nose always look so orange in pictures?  I promise he does not eat any orange colored foods!)

Welcome to the family, Jacob Henry Hodges!

Easter (April 8, 2012)

note: check out Pete's little crossed arms.  so funny.

Strawberry Picking (April 6, 2012)

My brother's friend grows strawberries just across the FL line in AL. We went picking there on a beautiful day in early April. There is not much yummier than sun-warmed, freshly picked strawberries. Juicy deliciousness! And not labor intensive, for the littlest ones especially.

This old broke down truck had blackberries growing out of its hood!

bok bok!

Juicy-face baby!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sweet as Honey

While we were in Milton my sisinlaw Cheryl arranged for us all to go learn about bees from some of her friends who have their own hives.  It was amazing and delicious- we got to eat honey straight from the comb. 

You just pull some of the waxy comb off and pop the whole drippy sticky thing in your mouth and then spit out the chewed wax when you're done.  The complexity and beauty of how bees work will blow your mind- and point again to a Designer and Creator- one who would think up such a thing as delightful as honey!

"More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb." Psalm 19:10

 "How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"  Psalm 119:103

This sweet young lady with gorgeous "Anne of Green Gables-carrot" hair, showed us her pet bunny.  The bunny was a bit terrified, but I must say it was the softest bunny I've ever felt.  They also keep goats and let us taste cold goats milk.  I had heard it was goatey tasting but it wasn't.  It was just as delicious as cow's milk.  (The mom said they mess it up when they sell it in stores.)

From the bees to the goats and bunnies and tire swings- this was such a fun field trip for the kids, and mommies too!

March 28

Two weeks after Dad's funeral, we went back to the cemetery to bury his remains (cremation takes a long time in FL apparently).  It was another emotional time- and then since we were already at NAS on a beautiful day, we went for a picnic lunch at the lighthouse and a walk down to the beach.

The Naval Aviation Museum is right there too, with lots of memories of Dad; the kids always love to go there.  We saw the model of the Enterprise- Dad's carrier, with models of his plane on it too.

The kids tried out Papa's plane's simulator (A-6 Intruder).

I had to take a picture of Harry in the Harrier.

It was a day to remember- a day for celebrating and remembering Papa.  A day of smiles and tears.  It is surprising sometimes how the two are so closely intertwined.