Greetings! Happy Summer 2017 to everyone! We kicked our summer off with the most memorable bash of the last decade: Leanne's 40th Birthday Party!
We haven't attend a soiree this awesome since...well, since Leanne's 30th birthday party. Only this time, Travis and I came with 3 additional guests that didn't exist when Leanne turned 30 (wink). And of course when we celebrate another decade of Leanne, Mama Hop goes ALL OUT!
You know, she commissions personalized invitations, reserves the country club, hires a DJ, takes out an ad in the paper, rents a billboard with Leanne's picture on it...(okay, maybe she didn't go THAT far, but hyperbole is always necessary when it comes to Mama Hop). But even with all of the aforementioned pomp and circumstance, a party isn't a party without fun-loving guests who show up ready to celebrate and cut a rug. It's a good thing that Leanne has a tight knit circle of friends who wrote the book on how to have a ball!
There were so many handsome suitors who were ready to boogie. You might recognize this handsome face: Mike!
You know it was a terrific party if Travis hit the dance floor!
Our beloved Uncle Jim was there. There are no words to describe what a blessing this man has been to our family. When our dad (Jim's brother) died, Jim offered invaluable fatherly guidance and support and he led us through that difficult time. He has a heart of gold and we are so glad that he could join us.
Uncle Jim's two kids are our only first cousins and both of them traveled to be there to celebrate Leanne along with sweet cousins on my mom's side as well.
Here's a brief video clip that does a pretty good job of summing up the vibe. No party is complete without a conga line!
In addition to celebrating Leanne's birthday, we had a belated birthday celebration for Lydia (AKA "Biddy"). Biddy just turned 3 at the end of May and Mama Hop indulged her with clothes and dolls!
As we've come to expect, The Divas had one love fest after another.
We also got to see Leanne and her friends participate in Special Olympics bowling. I know I've said it before but if you ever have a chance to attend a Special Olympics event, please do. The atmosphere of sincere teamwork and encouragement will lift your spirits and make your heart soar!
We got to spend a little extra time with Cousin Steve and his delightful wife, Jen. Their two kiddos, Elias and Emily, are so much fun; it's no wonder when you're with their fun-loving parents. Who doesn't love a 6 and a half foot grown man flying high on the swings?!
We really enjoy their company. Someday, I'm going to convince Jen to do a guest blog post because she will have you rolling on the floor with her smart and sassy wit.
Perhaps the best part of the day was gathering the children for a group photo. If I can't get 3 children to look and smile at the camera, I'm not sure why we expected better results by adding two more hot, sweaty, and sleep-deprived kiddos to the mix. But I think we can all agree that the unstaged photos are the most frame worthy. This is real life, Folks. Real kids. And we wouldn't have 'em any other way!
And just in case this one post hasn't showcased enough of the awesome personalities that we're fortunate enough to surround ourselves with, let's just blow it out of the water by adding blogosphere celebrity, Brenna Westlake, to the mix! As geriatric as it makes me feel to admit it, I used to babysit Brenna's mother, Courtney, years and years and YEARS ago. How cool is it that our kiddos now have an opportunity to play together?!
Brenna has the sweetest little disposition and she did something that just warmed my heart. In addition to welcoming Leanne's generous displays of affection, Leanne told Brenna, "I love you." Guess what Brenna said: "I love you, too." What a cool kid!
One of the funniest videos (in my humble opinion) from the weekend involved a conversation between Merryn and Brenna. They were discussing Kindergarten and I suggested Merryn give advice to Brenna about Kindergarten...
Those of you who know and love our "Mother Hen" can appreciate how she has apparently been cautioned by teachers to reserve her advice and allow classmates to complete their own work, without assistance. I can only imagine how difficult it can be for Merryn to sit back and allow others to blaze their own paths and make their own mistakes, without her helpful suggestions. But it made me laugh. HARD!
Overall, it was a fantastic visit and a fabulous party to celebrate the world's BEST sister and aunt.
Leanne, 40 looks good on you, Girlfriend!