Wes' mom took the girls to get their pictures taken this past weekend while we were on our high school retreat. They did an awesome job! Thank you Debbie for taking them! Also, thanks again for keeping them for the weekend so Wes and I could focus on the retreat. I know they had a blast with you all!
Our retreat went well! We had great lessons by the youth ministers and the teens had a great time of sharing and singing around the campfire. I was so proud of what they had to share with their peers. God is working through them and in them. It is so exciting to watch them grow!
The girls are napping and I must take advantage of this time to wrap some Christmas gifts!
I hope you and yours are having a wonderful holiday season!
OK, so I am very late on these last few posts, but things have been busy around here. We have been to a middle school retreat, 2 city fall festivals, a preschool fall festival, as well as our church fall festival. I have also been subbing at the girl's preschool which has been pretty fun. I have also been teaching/hosting the high school girl's small group. Needless to say keeping up our blog has been pushed to the back burner.
The girl's thoroughly enjoyed Denison and Sherman's downtown fall festivals. We made all kinds of crafts, jumped in bounce houses, participated in a teddy bear parade, and much more. We also had a blast playing all the games, eating hot dogs, being with our friends, getting our faces painted, and trick or treating at both their preschool fall festival and our church fall festival. We are still working on finishing up the Halloween candy - even though I gave some away to people who came to our house to trick or treat.
Avery and most of her classmates. She is on the back row with the crown on.
Abby and most of her classmates.
Our little veterinarian.
Our little Cinderella. She is all about princesses lately!
We got to pick up cousin Mylen to come join us for our fall festival. He was lucky at the cake walk and a great ball/bean bag tosser. Could there be baseball in his future?
Hi cute bottoms!
Mylen and I playing Plinko at our church fall festival. Isn't he a cutie!
We have a new little cousin in our family. My brother, Aaron and his wife Janet adopted precious Aivlyn about six days after she was born. She was born Oct. 25th at 5:52pm. She weighed 6 lbs. 9 oz. and was 18 1/2 inches long. What a true blessing from God and answer to many prayers! Her new big brother Mylen loved her instantly and is adjusting well. She is Avery and Abby's first girl cousin, so they were especially excited about that!
It is hard to believe that we have been back from our vacation a whole week now. Wes' parents and Granny treated our whole family to 7 days on this gorgeous island. We stayed in a large 4 bedroom house in Princeville which sat on a golf course. Yes, the men loved that aspect! While I didn't take advantage of the golf course itself, I did enjoy walking and running around the path that went alongside the golf course.We had a beautiful view of the mountains and a far off view of the blue ocean. We were minutes away from some awesome beaches that we took advantage of.
Granny and Avery were roommates while Abby slept in her pack-n-play in our large walk-in closet. Ha! We tried to call it "her room" so she wouldn't need counseling later in her life. Each room had it's own bathroom and flat screen TV which were very nice touches.
A view from the front of the house.
A view of the back of the house which sits right off the golf course.
Another view from the back of our house.
Ready to go out on the town for the evening?
Getting ready to soak up some sun.
Hawaii is 5 hours behind us, so we woke up around 6:30 almost every morning, which really wasn't so bad. This gave us more daylight hours to enjoy our surroundings. We would then go to bed a little earlier than normal.
We tried out different beaches, and I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them. None of them were very crowded and each had a gorgeous view. We saw fish at each one of them. I learned how to boogie board and grew to love it! What a rush! We even got Avery to do it. She did it several times before she got slammed and went under a big wave. That scared her pretty bad and she wasn't too excited to do it again. Later that night I asked her what her favorite thing about that day was and she told me "boogie boarding", so I am willing to bet she will try it again. Granny, who is in her 70's even did it with the help of Wes' dad. Abby mostly loved playing in the sand. She would pour water and sand from bucket to bucket for ever. On a side note, we went to the park with some friends yesterday, and there she was pouring dirt all over herself which is something she has never really done before she had played so much in the sand at the beach. Too bad there wasn't an ocean nearby to wash her off in.
At one point before our trip, I had told Avery that she could go to the bathroom in the ocean unlike when she was swimming in the pool. When we were at the beach one day she asked Granny, "Can you really go to the bathroom in the ocean?" Granny replied, "Yes, you can. Why? Do you need to go?" Avery said matter-of-factly, "No, I already did."
Blake and Wes chase Avery in the sand. At this particular beach a river met with the ocean. The girls enjoyed playing in the calmer waters of the river before it met up with the rougher waters of the ocean.
Avery modeling for us.
More sweet smiles for the camera.
Best friends for life???
Playing in the waves.
"That one really got us!"
Abby sharing some lovin' with Granny.
Some more kisses for her Paw Paw.
Katy and Blake - don't you have your own room back at the house! :)
Avery and Nana enjoying a walk on the beach together.
"I do like this sand. It just gets everywhere!"
The uncrowded beaches, I guess everyone else is just missing out on this one.
One day we went on a boat tour of the Napali coast. We were given a wonderful tour of the beautiful cliffs, quaint beaches, and small waterfalls only visible by boat. On the way to the cliffs we came across several dolphins and were able to stop and watch them for a while. We were surprised that they came right up to the boat and played around as if they were dolphins at Sea World. They didn't seem scared of us at all. We were also served some delicious food on boat while we gazed at the gorgeous cliffs. The waves were especially high that day and a few of us got a little queasy at times, but thankfully we all made it without getting sick. The large waves actually made it fun as we went up and down and sometimes got splashed. The crew kept things interesting with their facts and sense of humor. They were also extremely helpful as we maneuvered around the boat with two little ones.
Here is our boat with breathtaking cliffs in the background.
Our view from the boat. If you look closely you should see a rainbow. With sights like these, who can't believe that there is a truly magnificent God?
Abby slept some on the way to the cliffs, and here Avery is sleeping on the way back.
The sunset we enjoyed from the boat on our way home from the Napali Coast.
On another day we made our way all over the island seeing many water falls, a light house, the Waimea Canyon, and the Spouting Horn.
A taste of heaven...
Love ya Bookie!
The lighthouse in the distance.
The Waimea Canyon is the largest canyon in the Pacific and truly a dramatic sight to behold. The canyon measures 10 miles long, 1 mile wide, and more than 3,500-feet deep. It was carved thousands of years ago by rivers and floods that flowed from Mount Waialeale's summit.
The canyon with yet another beautiful rainbow.
At the Spouting Horn water, forced into a lava tube by the surf, gushes into the air making an eerie hissing noise. The ancient Hawaiians believed that Kaikapu, a lizard goddess, was trapped by a clever fisherman in the lava tube and the hissing is the sound of her angry roar.
Some days it sprays quite high.
The girls did amazingly well on the long plane flights. I had been praying about this months in advance. We flew through L.A. on the way there and back. On the way there the girls enjoyed playing with their toys and watching their movies on the DVD player. They even slept later on the second flight. On the way back we had to leave Kauai at 10:00 pm. I told them throughout the day that it would be bedtime when we got on the plane. We boarded the plane, and soon as they got in their seats they got comfy with their blankies and the pillows and were out. They fell asleep before the plane even moved an inch.
We had been to Maui a few years ago, but I think I like Kauai better. It is less commercialized and very green and luscious. Parts of the main highway were totally covered overhead with tree branches making a unique sort of tunnel. Many aspects of the island reminded me of Kenya. I highly recommend going there, and hope to return there again someday.
Thanks Ernie, Debbie, and Granny for a memorable trip! We loved it!
I will probably be adding even more pictures later when I get them from other family members.
1. I enjoyed reading other people's "100 Things About Me", so I decided to write my own. 2. I love to travel. 3. I have been to over 20 other countries outside the U.S. 4. My favorite place to live was Kenya where I was born. I lived there for 11 years. 5. My favorite place to visit was Italy, especially Venice. 6. I love traveling with Wes, even though I am jealous that he can fall asleep on a plane or anywhere else in a matter of minutes. 7. I love reading, especially Christian romance novels. 8. I love reading children's books to the girls. 9. We go to the library about every 2 weeks and check out 25 books, mainly because I got tired of reading the same books over and over again. 10. My favorite hobby is scrapbooking, and I can't wait until our scrapbooking day at church this Saturday. 11. I enjoy cooking. I don't cook anything too fancy or anything. 12. I like it when Avery and Abby "help" me cook. 13. Wes' cordless drill is my favorite tool. I even put together a 4 drawer filing cabinet with it all by myself. 14. I was a teacher for 3 1/2 years before I had Avery. 15. I miss the relationships with students and teachers, but I do not miss the stress. 16. I like having people in our home. 17. I am a neat freak, just ask my college roommates and Wes. I think I inherited this trait from my mom. 18. Sometimes I feel like I have to have things clean and organized before I start a project or a hobby just to have my mind cleared. 19. I love swimming, especially in the ocean. It is even more fun now that the girls are older. 20. I can't wait to swim in Hawaii on our vacation with Wes' family in the near future. 21. I like to watch movies/TV shows with Wes. He is a great date! He even watches girlie movies with me. 22. I try to work out at my friend's gym 3 times a week. I mostly do step aerobics and a weight lifting class. I have tried to convince Wes to go to a step class with me. Ha! 23. I feel incredibly blessed to get to stay home with my cutie pies. I wouldn't trade these years for anything! 24. I loved attending ACU and miss it. 24. Abilene was a great town to grow up in. I lived there from when I was 11 years old all the way through college. 25. I wouldn't mind living there again someday with Wes and/or I working at ACU. 26. We don't get to go visit Abilene or ACU very much since we have to be back for church on Sundays. 27. In high school I prayed that I would marry a youth minister or missionary. God answered my prayers. 28. I love being married to a youth minister and being involved with youth ministry. 29. My favorite job was when I was a youth intern in Abilene for a year. 30. I get together 3-4 times a year with my close high school/college friends that were in my youth group growing up . What a blessing their friendships are to me! 31. I loved my youth group experiences growing up. 32. I don't get to see Amy (Crittenden) McKissick as much anymore since she and her family are now missionaries in Paraguay. :( Thank goodness for email! 33. I enjoy dressing the girls in cute outfits, especially matching outfits. "Thank you" to my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law who love to shop and help make this possible. 34. When I was little I loved dressing my dolls up too, so maybe I just haven't grown out of that. 35. I honestly don't know what I would do if we had a boy. 36. I have ridden on a sea-do one occasion and would be thrilled to do it again. 37. In high school and college I went water skiing numerous times and have not been since. I often wonder if would still be able to do it very well. 38. I love to eat grapefruit. I eat a whole one most days, and on some days I eat two. 39. My favorite fruit is pineapple, I just wish they weren't so darn expensive! 40. I like to eat bread or pizza dough. I really usually am a healthy eater - I promise! 41. Lately, I have been eating dough from those Rhodes rolls. They come frozen in a package. You are supposed to let them thaw and rise for a couple of hours before you stick them in the oven. They are delicious cooked too, but try the dough sometime and tell me what you think. 42. I am excited because I just got a call from a lady at church who agreed to watch our kids while some friends and I do our Bible study. Yay! I can't wait to start that up again. 43. We may study the book "Beautiful in God's Eyes" by Elizabeth George, about the Proverbs 31 woman. Let me know if you have another study you have done and would recommend to us. 44. I can sew, but I definitely do not enjoy it. 45. My mom helped me sew some dresses, shirts, and skirts in middle school and high school. 46. Now I just sew simple things like curtains, and I do some mending. 47. I have never had a cavity before. 48. My parents made sure we took good care of our teeth. They even charged us a quarter when we would forget to brush them. 49. I am the youngest of three children. 50. I don't think I was spoiled or the "favorite" which are what the usual stereotypes are of the baby in the family. 51. I was pretty shy until 7th grade or so. My sister was very outgoing. My brother was a talker and the big comedian in our family. Between the two of them, it wasn't easy to get a word in edge wise. 52. I have been on Wilderness Trek 3 times. I would like to go again sometime. 53. I let what people say or think bother me too much. 54. Wes is good at helping me to be less sensitive in this area. 55. Breastfeeding was a lot harder than I thought it would be. 56. I loved the cuddling and nutritional aspect of nursing, but many other aspects were frustrating. All things considered, I would do it again. 57. I love to cuddle with Avery and Abby and have even been known, on occasion, to get them out of bed while they are sleeping to get some snuggle time with them. 58. I have to have my own "space" when I go to sleep. 59. I love getting all warm and cozy underneath all the covers in the winter. 60. I love getting to have fires in our fireplace when it is really cold out. 61. I love the bright, clean look of snow all over the ground. 62. I like to open our windows when it is raining outside. 63. Spring is my favorite season. 64. Seeing all the green grass, trees, and blooming flowers really lifts my spirits. 65. I like planting flowers and small bushes and watching them grow. 66. By the end of the summer I get tired of all the watering that has to take place for #65. Thankfully, we have had a lot of rain this summer. 67. I don't listen to much music. 68. I guess I just like the peace and quiet. 69. I hardly know any of the popular singers or groups. 70. When I do listen to music, I prefer Christian music. 71. When I am in the car alone for a long period of time I like to pray during that rare quiet and peaceful time. 73. When the girls are in the car, I usually get to listen to their DVD's that are playing. 74. When Wes drives us all, I like to read a book or magazine. 75. I absolutely love Chinese food. 76. I usually have steamed rice and sesame chicken. Yum-o! 77. Yes, I like to watch Rachael Ray (hence the "yum-o" comment). 78. My favorite fast food restaurant is Chick-fil-A. 79. This is followed closely by Taco Bueno, where I usually order their delicious bean burritos. 80. My favorite dessert is Oreo Goodie which has has Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream, Oreo cookies, whipped cream, hot fudge topping, and caramel topping. 81. I don't make this very much because it is too much of a temptation. 82. I have started working a little for my Dad. I edit his stories and articles that he writes. 83. Some of you might find that hard to believe since my own writing isn't the best. But, when I put my mind to it, all those rules come back to me. 84. I can speak some Swahili and Kipsigis from living in Kenya. 85. I dislike dusting. I like to use Pledge wipes when I do dust which makes it a little more bearable. 86. I dislike blow drying my hair. I get so hot! I would much rather take a shower at night just to avoid having to blow dry my hair. 87. Some people say I am a "tight wad", but I have actually saved our family a lot of money. 88. I like playing games with my family like Candy Land, Hungry Hippos, Matching Cards, or Don't Break the Ice. 89. When I was in high school, I took a a few classes at ACU. 90. During that time, my friend, who was also in high school, and I came in second at a spades tournament at ACU. We won dinner for 4 at a nice restaurant in downtown Abilene. 91. The winners cheated. Seriously, we tried to call them on it, but they were after all Seniors at ACU and we were still in high school. What can you do? 92. I graduated with a whopping 24 students from Abilene Christian High School. 93. My heroes are Jesus, and my mom and dad. 94. I miss my mom! It is hard to believe that it has been over a year since she passed away. 95. This was the summer that her and dad were going to move from Benin to this area to be close to us. 96. They had been missionaries in Benin for 9 years, so I was really looking forward to being with them more often. 97 My mom taught me countless things about God, raising a family, living for God, and life in general. 98. It makes me sad to think that she isn't here to pass on her wisdom to my girls. 99. I know she is having a ball right now in Heaven, but I am sad that I can't be with her right now. 100. I AM READY FOR JESUS TO COME BACK!
Here are some pictures of the girls that Wes' mom had taken while we were in Mexico. They are a little blurry since they are pictures of pictures.
My good friend, Henriann, who also happens to be our minister's wife invited me and some other ladies on a trip to her father's condo on Padre Island. We flew down there together and spent 4 nights and 5 days RELAXING! It was so wonderful to talk, laugh, read, swim in the pool, swim in the ocean, eat out, watch girlie movies, and talk some more. We didn't have any children, husbands, or responsibilities to distract us.
Three of the ladies that went were Henriann's roommates from ACU. It was fun to listen to them reminisce about their college days. Their stories sounded a lot like my roommates and I in college.
I truly enjoyed getting to know everyone better, and I can honestly say I learned a lot from them. What a blessing it is to have strong Christian role models as friends in my life. Thanks for a marvelous time girls, and a special thanks to Henriann who invited us!
Henriann, Karlisa, Tina, Kristie, Liz and me.
A view of our condo from the beach.
A view of the beach from our balcony. The water was so clear and calm. We saw fish swimming around every time we got in. A couple of the girls saw sting rays. I am glad I wasn't out there then.
We all decided to get toe rings. They fitted them to our toes and everything (using Windex of all things). They are so much more comfortable than the clamp kind you find at most stores. We didn't tell any of our husbands and then told each other how long it took for them to notice. Wes noticed with in an hour of when we got home. Avery wanted to know why I had a ring on my toe! Henriann's husband, Todd, our minister who Wes loves working with, took 6 days to notice. Ha!