Friday, September 30, 2011

Morning at the Zoo

      Well, today we had planned to go to the zoo with one of my friends and her son.  Plans changed, and as it turns out, John wanted to come to the zoo with us!  What a fun treat.  The weather was fall perfection, and there were hardly any people there, which is definitely how I prefer any attraction.


One of my favorite things at the zoo are the penguins.  Talk about being the cutest little animals ever.  And, they follow you around - they are so thrilled that you are there to visit them, unlike so many other animals who would rather sleep through your visit.  Both girls ♥ed the penguins as well.  I mean, what is not to ♥?

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Big cats seem to be such majestic creatures, so I was glad we got to see this tiger pacing around.  What a glorious God we serve that created such unique animals in so many different colors and varieties.  I am always amazed.


Lily wanted to get on this rock - the funny thing about this picture is that I said, "Smile!" and she said, "I am smiling!"


The elephants are always good fun.  The weather could not have been more beautiful - makes me want to soak it up forever.  We finished off our time there with lunch and then a train ride, which was a definite hit despite the look on Lily's face in the picture.


I realize that I take a lot of pictures of our life, and as we were walking out of the zoo, I explained to John that I am starting to realize that pictures are a way to give thanks in the moment, and to capture the moment and be able to give thanks for it later.  (Thanks, Ann Voskamp for that idea.)  When I look back at pictures or at the blog, I am able to be reminded of all the glorious times we have had, as well as some others that aren't as fun.  I can see a greater picture of what God is doing in our lives, and I can thank him for it.  So, thank you, Lord, for our time at the zoo together today, enjoying your creatures and weather that was amazing.  Thank you.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Craft Night: Oh, What a Night!

      Last night, I hosted my first Craft Night, with help from a few friends, and of course, help from the hubby - thanks, John!  It was so fun and turned out even better than I could have hoped.  The premise was simple - get a group of girls together to make a simple, ubiquitous craft that everyone could do and enjoy.  I bought materials, and the ladies who helped came ready to teach a couple of options, as did I.  I asked each person coming to bring scissors, a glue gun and $10.  The great thing about it is that almost everyone I asked said, "Yes!"


We chose to do burlap wreaths, because there are so many different varieties.  If you are wondering, I do have extra burlap- please ask me before you buy any for your next project.  Good thing it is popular and can be used for lots of stuff - I may create a fall garland to go around my front door.  Anyway, I just really didn't want to run out, and it was on sale.  We used this tutorialthis tutorialthis tutorial, and this great idea for wreath forms, all found on the magical land of Pinterest.  I felt like people had a lot of options and could mix and match to suit their style and skill.  I also asked a few people to bring snacks.  Nothing like an evening of crafting, snacking, laughing and talking!

Here are more pictures of the fun, including pictures of everyone with their finished projects.  This group was so great, and even though not everyone knew one another, it felt like people enjoyed themselves.

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As you can probably tell from the pictures, this was a really fun group of girls.  Thanks so much to all who came and made it the best possible first Craft Night ever.  I am planning on doing this regularly, since it turned out so fun and not too much work.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Weekend Continued: More Family Fun

      The way this weekend worked out was truly wonderful.  We drove to Siloam and stayed with Ellen and Luke, which is always a good time.  That night, Luke put some work glasses on the girls, with these fantastic results, all captured with an iPhone.


Darling little friends.  I love that Bella is trying to push them up and get them to stay on in that last one.  We did the Warrior Dash on Saturday - if you missed those epic pictures, scroll down or click here - they are some of my favorite pictures of all time.  There was the obligatory sibling picture.


And, Lily watching more videos on Uncle Mike's phone.


After naps for most of the girls, we went to Red Robin for dinner.  Yum.

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The next day, we went to the Oklahoma Aquarium with Mom and Wes - it was nice to treat the girls, especially Lily, since they had been so flexible all weekend.  I am always blown away by God's creativity when we get to see so many of the things that live under the water.  Amazing.


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We wrapped up our weekend with lunch at Zio's and headed for home.  It was great to see family, laugh through a run and enjoy time together.  What a privilege and blessing!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Weekend: Warrior Dash

     Be warned - the pictures below are ridiculous.  You may have to look away.  We ran in the Warrior Dash in Tulsa this past weekend.  If you don't know what it is, you need to look it up and do it next year - it really is so fun.  It's a grown up obstacle course, complete with tires, barbed wire, lots of mud, cars to climb over and fire to jump.  It was the fire-jumping that had me hooked.  It is a 5K, so most people can do it without too much training - though many of the obstacles were bigger than I imagined them.  It is very well organized, as it has to be, because over 7,500 people participated just this past weekend.

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People wear crazy costumes, and after a late-night run to Wally World, Luke and John came back with these get-ups.  I love that my husband wore a pink moo-moo and gardening hat to run in a race called the Warrior Dash.  He adopted the persona of "Rosie", which included a crazy gravelly voice to yell in all along the way.  Luke dressed mocking Thor, and Laura (my youngest sister) and I wore capes, though it should be noted that the Incredibles were right about capes.  Laura's got caught in the barbed wire, and I had to free her.  Another side note, the day before the race, this text message conversation transpired between Laura and I.

Laura:  Are you wearing anything special for the race?  Or just old clothes?
Me:  I have made tutus for you and I.  So, tutus and a sports bra.
Laura:  What?!  Really?
Me:  Totally.  Your tutu is red, mine is blue - it will be very festive.
Laura:  Well, thank you!  You're just going to wear a sports bra?
Me:  I'm feeling really good about my flat abs.
Laura:  That's great, Carol!  See you tomorrow!
Me:  I am kidding.  No costumes, only regular old clothes.  Sorry for leading you on.
Laura:  You had me and mom going.  Mom said "Carol likes to go in style."  haha

Oh, how hard I laughed after this.  And, our costume choice was a last minute decision.  Ellen was going to run it, but since she is pregnant (which is now public on Facebook, so truly real and wonderful!) Laura took her spot.  Used her ID and everything, since they look so much alike.  You can see in that last picture up there that we were ready to run, with serious game faces.
      My mom and Wes came down to help with the girls while we ran, and my brother Mike joined them, and Ellen was also there to cheer us on - so most of the McCulley family was in attendance, which was great fun and joy.  Here are some shots from the side-lines.  All pictures from this post are courtesy of Luke and Ellen - thanks so much!  They are already treasured.

Lily loves her Uncle Mike
Nothing sweeter than baby Bella in a Warrior Helmet with Nana.
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Lily likes to move rocks around, and as it transpired, Bella likes to throw them on the ground.
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Ellen can sure rock that helmet, even though she didn't get to run the race.  Growing a baby is also very warrior-like.

Luke finished the race first.  Love that shirt.


There are obstacles all along the race - once John figured out how hard it would be to truly "race", he decided to fall back and run with Laura and I.  So, when we came to the first obstacle, jumping over walls and going under 2 by 4's, we heard someone yelling, "Let's Go, Ladies!  Rosie thinks you can do better than that!  Let's go!"  And, as it turns out, Rosie had a lot to say and do as the race wore on.  Highlights:  At a water station when handed water, Rosie yelled, "Rosie don't need no stinking water!" and turned and threw the cup of water onto me.  Or when Rosie, tired of her flamingo garland, left it behind on an obstacle saying, "Rosie has been given so much.  Rosie wants to give back."  Or, more disgustingly, when Rosie said, "A good day for Rosie is when it doesn't sting when she pees."  Let's just say, I am so glad I ran the race with Rosie - she is crazy, but crazy fun, which made the crazy race that much more fun.  We all need more crazy fun in our lives.  Here is John/Rosie crawling under the barbed wire and through the mud in the home stretch.

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Then, we rounded the corner, and the crowd was cheering, and Rosie was screaming more crazy Rosie-ness.

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And, then there was the fire jumping.  These pictures almost do justice to how much fun it was to do.  Almost, but not quite.

The approach.


I keep laughing at how my face looks positively giddy, like jumping over fire is the best thing I could ever do in my life.


And, the leaping.  Luke captured these moments perfectly.  Hysterical.


We really were a mess when it was all said and done.


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Seriously, this much fun should not even be legal.  I ♥ed it.  Made even better by sharing it with the fam and especially him.


Baby girl was plum wore-out after all that.


There are more pictures from this weekend, and they shall come in another post.  Warrior-Dashing deserved its own post.