Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Now introducing: Mr. and Mrs. Larmer!

Mr. and Mrs. Scott Larmer!

I have been looking forward to this past weekend for months. On Saturday, one of my best friends, Ashley, got married. It was a fabulous celebration and Wesley and I were so thrilled to be a part of it!

The festivities started on Friday morning with the Bridesmaid's luncheon at Tin Angel. Though this restaurant is a Nashville Hot-Spot, I had never been. It was so nice. We had a private room with plenty of room to mingle.

Friday afternoon was the rehearsal at Scarritt-Bennett. Since the rehearsal itself took no time at all, we had some time to kill before the dinner started. Two of the other bridesmaids, Erin and Erin, joined Wesley and me for a little pre-dinner treat - a cupcake at GiGi's. Yummy!
The rehearsal dinner was a Bar-B-Q at the Belle Meade Plantation's Carriage House. It was the perfect spot for the casual, fun dinner Scott and Ashley wanted.
Saturday was equally as relaxing - at least for me! Wesley was busying putting the final touches on the wedding ceremony (he was preforming the wedding) but I was able to just relax and enjoy the day. Emily even came over to do my hair - how nice!
We all arrived at the church around 3:30 and as Erin, Erin, Shannon, and I were getting ready for pictures, Ashley came out in her dress. WOW! She looked breathtaking! She found the perfect dress and looked absolutely amazing!
After the ceremony (which was great – I was so proud of Wesley!) we all headed to the Country Music Hall of Fame for the reception.

Let me tell you, Ashley and Scott know how to throw a great party! The food was fabulous! The room looked amazing! The music was great and Wesley and I danced all night long! We had such a great time!

The best part of the evening though was seeing the HUGE smiles on Ashley and Scott's faces. They were so happy to be married and I know they were able to enjoy the night. It was a special, wonderful evening, and I was so honored I was a part of it!

Leanne, Shannon, Ashley, Erin and Erin at the Bridesmaid's Luncheon

Leanne and the Bride-to-be at the rehearsal dinner.

Didn't Ashley look amazing!!

Leanne and Wesley before the wedding

Erin, Leanne, Ashley, Erin, and Shannon at the reception

Since Ashley and I have known each other since the 1st grade, she is like an extended member of my family. Everyone loves Ashley and they were so glad to be able to celebrate at the wedding with her and Scott.
Since it is rare that we are all together and dressed up, I made a big deal about getting this picture before the reception started. We all clean up pretty good, huh?

Happy Early Father's Day, Dad!

Last week, Wesley, Jackson, Flash and I traveled to Nashville. Wesley was asked to speak at a church camp Sunday - Thursday which worked out great since we had to be in Nashville anyways for my best friend Ashley's wedding.

One of the things I wanted to do while in Nashville was celebrate Father's Day with my Dad. For Mother's Day, we went out to eat with my Mom so we thought it would be fun to do the same with Dad. At first, he wanted to go to Longhorns for dinner, but after reviewing the Nashville Sounds baseball schedule, he decided that he would rather go to a ball game.

When we were all little, a regular treat would be going to a Sounds game with the family. I remember the games always being a lot of fun so I was very excited about spending time with my Dad at Greer Stadium.

We arrived a little early to grab a bite to eat in the restaurant. Our tastes have changed over the years and a hot dog and Coke from the concession stand didn't sound as appealing as once before!!

After dinner, we headed to our regular "cheap seats" behind first base.

It was a great game and I had so much fun with my sisters and Dad reliving an old childhood memory. Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

We're Going to the Zoo!

Jackson was very excited about heading to the zoo!

The first Saturday of June is the Northside Hospital Volunteer Picnic at the Atlanta Zoo. Wesley is always invited to the picnic because of the YMCA's involvement with the Hospital.

Last year, was our first experience at this picnic. It was so much fun I instantly decided this day would become an annual Bender Family Activity! Nothing beats free admission to the zoo, a delicious lunch, and Wesley being able to represent the Atlanta YMCA. Both years, he has accepted an award at the Awards Program after lunch.

This morning, we packed up Jackson and headed downtown. Both of us were afraid it was going to rain on us, but it ended up being a great day. We arrived at the pavilion at 11:00 and got lunch. After live music, a puppet show, and the awards, we walked around the zoo.

Jackson loved seeing all the animals! His favorites were the "bunkies" (monkeys and gorillas) and the birds - and when I say birds, I mean all birds. At the elephant exhibit, he was more interested in the regular birds flying around the elephants than the actual elephants!

He also loved, as you will see below, all the photo-opt boards they had positioned around the animals. He loved sticking his head in those things!

Jackson loved playing all the instruments the "Music Man" brought to the picnic.

The easiest way to see all the animals is to hop on Dad's shoulders!

Or get down real low!

What a difference a year makes!

June 2008

June 2009 - "There's no way I am posing for a picture when I could be climbing this elephant!"

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Braves Game

At the beginning of every summer, the YMCA teens take part in Mission: ATL. It is a week long service opportunity that Wesley started when he first came down to Atlanta. The first year, there were 30 kids. This year, there are over 160 teens!

Usually, it is only kids from the Alpharetta Y, but since Wesley's new position takes him to all the branches, Mission: ATL has attracted teens from multiple Atlanta branches and even a few churches have joined the fun.

During the day, the teens participate in various service projects and at night, they get to enjoy some fun in Atlanta. One night they went to the CNN center. Monday they went bowling, and tonight was dinner at the Varsity and a Braves game.

Jackson and I were invited along for the fun tonight. Our friends Ashley and Camp also joined the crew since Ashley's husband Rocky is involved in the week's festivities as well.

This was the second time Jackson has been to a Braves game The first time was last year during Mission: ATL. He really seemed to enjoy it. Although I don’t know if it was the game he liked or if it was seeing his Da-Da. Since all the teens stay overnight at various Ys throughout the week, Wesley does too. We hadn’t seen him since Sunday night and both of us miss him!
Rocky and Camp or Bump as Jackson likes to call him.

Running the bases at Turner Field - Do you think he was enjoying himself?

This was not a posed picture - I just happened to catch the two of them looking at each other. Jackson loves his Da-Da and really misses him this week!

The Benders at the game.

The Benders at the Varsity.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Waugh's Wall

I just added a new Blog to my Blog list - Waughs Wall. This blog is written by the preacher, James Waugh, at Hillsboro Church of Christ in Nashville, TN. This is the congregation I grew up in and where my parents still go.

Though I usually don't mention it when I add a new Blog to my list (though I should because I love all my friends' blogs!) I had to give this one special attention.

If you have time, check it out. It is so encouraging and challenging at the same time. If you go back for a few weeks, you can see "Living It Dares." These are small little things he has encouraged the members of Hillsboro to incorporate into their daily lives. Pretty cool stuff!

Thanks, Mom, for sharing this blog with me. It is really worth the time to read!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Build A Bear

This morning, Jackson and I traveled to North Point Mall for a birthday party at the Build-A-Bear store. Hunter, a friend of Jackson's, turned 2 today and all the kids celebrated by making their own bear.

I had never been inside a Build-A-Bear store so it was a new experience for both Jackson and me. Mr. Social was actually a little timid in the store. He loved the songs at the beginning and when they stuffed his puppy, but other than that, he was content observing the party from his stroller. That is not like him at all, but there was a lot going on inside the store.

Since we have been home, Jackson has carried "Puppy" everywhere with him. He already has "Stuffed Flash" in his crib, but for nap, Puppy had to climb in too. When I went to go get him up, he was cracking himself up by making Stuffed Flash kiss Puppy. I guess he as a new best friend, at least for a day or two.

Jackson loved the song time at the beginning of the party - doesn't he look so grown up standing in the circle by himself? That's a big step for me because usually I am right behind him no matter what he is doing!

Here is Jackson waiting patiently for them to stuff Puppy. It was a little difficult for him to comprehend the process. He picked out Puppy from a group of already stuffed animals, and then I handed him this un-stuffed dog. He didn't get why his new toy wasn't as much fun as the other one.

After they stuffed Puppy, all was right with the world. He loves his new friend. Here they are chilling in the stroller.

And of course, puppies get thirsty too!